This route is brought to you by a cool chica named Alicia. She did this route in Feb 2017. Look at the comments below to read other traveler advice and additions/updates.
*Note that the last bus leaving the border is at 6pm. But I always recommend planning for the bus before that. You never know when the last bus time will be the time before!
Antigua to Escuintla -8Q (1-1.5h)
– walk to the “bus station” (a huge unpacked lot) behind the local market and ask around for the buses to Escuintla, and someone will direct you
– I got there at 9am and the bus left 10 mins later. Not sure how often they run but I’m sure they run quite regularly
– I would suggest leaving at 7/8am
Escuintla to Frontera El Salvador – Q45 (2h)
– bus dropped me off right in front of the bus for la frontera. There was a man standing outside of our bus when it arrived directing people to the bus to la frontera
– we stopped for about an hour in Chiquimulilla before continuing onwards
– many places to get food at this stop, and several vendors will come into the bus selling food and drinks
El frontera to Sonsonate ($0.90USD) 1.5-2h
– the bus drops you off directly at Guatemala migration, where you will get “stamped out” of the country
– there is no stamp to get into El Salvador, so you just keep walking along the building, parallel to the main road, until you reach the crossroads. Keep walking straight. Ask people to direct you.
– several Tuktuk drivers will offer you rides and tell you it’s too far to walk. It’s not. Just keep walking across the bridge beside the long lineup of transport trucks. You’ll cross a second bridge where again you keep walking straight. Once you pass all of the buildings, the “bus station” is on the right. It’s just a tiny dirt parking lot.
– Bus 259 arrives every 30 mins or so. Take it to the very end. Sonsonate is the last stop
Sonsonate to Santa Ana
– this is a large bus terminal. From here there are several buses to surrounding towns. I went to Santa Ana ($0.70USD). I took bus 216. The station is very organized and there are always “bus helpers” directing you to your next bus if you don’t see 216 right away.
If you have done this route and have any info to add or update, please leave it in a comment below!
Thank you to traveller, Dennis for his contribution of this route in reverse: Santa Ana to Antigua
March 2022 update:
Bus prices in Guatemala went up significantly.
1. Antigua – Esquintla – 20Q
2. Esquintla – Frontera (have to change bus in Chiquimulilla) – 80Q
3. Frontera – Sonsonate – $0.90
4. Sonsonate – Santa Ana – 0.70
Did this journey earlier this month (4th Jan, 2020).
Bus from Antigua to Escuintla is now Q10 – watches the locals pay the exact same.
For the bus from Escuintla to La Frontera – it’s Q40. We (2 people) paid with a 100 and they walked off, we had to ask for the change “¿tiene mi cambio?”.
You make a change Chiquimulilla. I believe it would be cheaper to pay for each separately. Didn’t see anyone pay more than Q20 for either bus (other than other gringos). One local got off the bus before turning into Chiquimulilla and caught the next bus when I passed the same spot.
This is an easy journey. Buses pretty much leave from where the one before drops you off. And they all seem very regular.
We did the journey in January as well and I can confirm all updated prices. However, we did not have to change busses in Chiquimulilla, our bus just stopped for about 15 Minutes and then drove us to the border.
Thanks a lot for sharing routes, busses and prices everyone!
Firstly, thank you for this website! We found it very useful when traveling in CA. And now already short update from us:
We did this yesterday (Sunday, 1st of December 2019) and everything works as described above even though we traveled on Sunday.
7:00, Antigua to Escuintla, 1,5h, Q10
8:30, Escuintla to Frontera, 2,25h, Q50
10:45, Short break + crossing border, 0,75h + 0,25h, Q0 $0 (no fee)
11:45, Frontera to Sonsonate, 2h, $0,90
14:00, Sonsonate to Santa Ana, 1,5h, $0,75
TOTAL Antigua to Santa Ana 8,5h, Q60 + $1,65
Thanks a lot for sharing your trips
Greetings from Guate !!
I did the tour today (10.08.2019). everything perfect! here my data:
Start 09:30 1,5h
Antigua to Escuintla Q10
Start 11:00 3h (0,5h Rest)
Escuintla to Frontera via Chiquimulilla Q50
Border at 14:00 (No Stamp (German passport))
Start 14:20 1,75h
Frontera to Sonsonate 0,99$ (0,90$)
Start 16:30 1,5h
Sonsonate to Santa Ana 0,75$ (0,70€)
Santa Ana @ 18:00
Complete tour 8,5h
Backpacks no matter what size are no problem.
Cheers & thanks
Just a question for a first time chicken bus rider. (I’ve ridden in plenty of collectivos all over Mexico and in Colombia). Is there room for a backpacker’s backpack on these CBs? Not large luggage, just a few 30-40l backpacks. Thanks!
Did this today! What an adventure 🙂
7.30 Escuintla bus leaves Antigua. Major ugly road works on the way.
9.30ish – get to escuintla. Buy some fruit with pepita. Walk a few metres to Frontera bus.
9.30 – 11ish – Journey to Chiquimulilla. (45 Q) But then hastily change frontera bus at Chiq. Ticket probably would be less if you got both buses separately.
12.15? arrive to frontera. Bit unnerving seeing “police” with guns but not in uniform. Wander around town looking for food. Walk through the epic lines of trucks. Truck drivers lounging around on hammocks.
Stamped out of Guat. Guy approaches to change money. He offers me correct exchange so I do it. Walk the 1.5 km into El Salvy. Police guy stops me on the bridge cos he is clearly bored (eating monkey nuts).
Show passport to some snappy looking guy hanging around outside ES immigration and he is like welcome. No stamp.
A few money changers / tuktuk drivers at ES side. Walk straight to bus stop. Wait about 20 mins before it arrives.
13.15 – leave border town on bus, 90 cents so much cheaper than guat! Bus eventually gets mega full. I have been sweating like a pig all day. Much more bus vendors selling much better stuff here.
Around 3 arrive Sonsonata. Get a pupusa de mora in the food court, so worth the wait.
3.30 bus to Santa Ana. Get in about 5pm. Exhausted!
Hi I’m possibly doing this route solo in a weeks time, were there other travellers on the buses going in the same direction?
We did it on Monday, April 1, 2019.
We came to Mercado at 8am, bus left at 8:30am.
Paid 10Q from Antigua to Esquintla, 45Q Esquintla to border – had like 2minute break in Chiquimulilla where we changed the bus for the 3rd time (make sure you don’t pay again). Border to Sonsonate 0,90$ and 0,70$ to Santa Ana (in El Salvador there is fixed price in each bus).
5 buses and 9 hours altogether, and i.e. at 5:30pm we were in Santa Ana.