Santa Ana El Salvador to Antigua Guatemala

Inspired by the Antigua to Santa Ana route we already have, this awesome traveller named Dennis did this trip and sent us the details to help you out! Thanks, Dennis! (February, 2018)


– Santa Ana to Sonsonate (Bus 216, $0.70, 1h40 7:55-9:30)
The 216 leaves from the terminal occidente inside the market of Santa Ana. Get off at the final stop, which is the Sonsonate terminal. Note: the bus takes the highway around sonzacate and sonsonate, ideal.


– Sonsonate to la Hachadura/Frontera (Bus 429, $0.90, 1h45, 9:45-11:30)
Arriving at Sonsonate, the bay for the buses to La Hachadura/ Frontera is on your left hand. We we’re eagerly asked to board a 429 bus, which supposedly took the same route. I first wanted to get some lunch though (big food court at Sonsonate terminal!). After about 5 minutes, a new empty bus 429 was waiting, and since we had not seen a 259 approaching we went for this one. It got us to the border without any problem and is the same price. Bonus: Assasins Creed movie in the bus.


– Border crossing (11:30-12:15)
As easy as it gets. No exit stamp from El Salvador though, a piece of paper instead. Entry stamp at guatemala. Note: change money on the El Salvador side. They offered Q6.9 for a dollar, we respectfully declined, then got only Q6.8 on the Guatemalan side, with the nearest ATM 1km away (or so we were told).


– Frontera to Escuintla (Bus, Q45, 3h25!, 1:15-4:40pm)
After we had waited ~30min, the bus arrived in front of the migration building and left 15min later. We only stopped at Chiquimulilla for 30min but the pickups and dropoffs we’re plenty, especially the first half of the trip. Probably since it was midday. We told the ayudante we were going to Antigua and he told us when we reached our stop, most people left the bus here. The stop is located just after the ’roundabout’ of CA-02 OR with CA-9 on the intersection of 6a avenida and 4a avenida Zona 1 (forgot to take pictures, sry!). The bus to Antigua stops here as well.


– Escuintla to Antigua (Bus, Q8, 1h15)
Our bus to Antigua arrived only 5 min later. The ayudante tried to play the ‘I forgot your change’ game and even tried to convince us it was Q10. When I kept bugging him for the change he eventually yielded and gave us our 4Q change. When approaching Antigua, I suggest hopping off when ‘Antigua Centro’ is being called to avoid a long walk from the terminal.


All and all, pretty doable trip for one day! I would recommend taking an earlier bus from Santa Ana to hopefully save some time.

*Check out Steve’s comment below for a slightly different trip with fewer buses.


We recently had this submitted by traveler named Lukas as his route to Antigua. Reminding travellers to start early so you don’t get into Guatemala City late at night.

“From Santa Ana you can take the bus 210 to Ahuachapán (90ct, ~1 1/2h). From there you have to walk about 5 minutes through the market area to a point where microbuses leave to the border (50ct, ~30 minutes) (just ask the locals, everybody knows where to go). The border crossing took me about 20 minutes. On the Guatemalan site waited a bus going to Guatemala city (Q30, ~3h). You have to tell the bus driver to let you out at a point in where you can get the bus to Antigua. He’ll drop you at a certain point in GC from where you have to walk a bit (~10 min, just one way, if you’re unsure, ask the locals) to the point where buses leave to Antigua (Q10, ~1 1/2h). I started at around 8 a.m. and arrived at around 4 p.m., and I didn’t even hurry. Maybe this will help others”.


Check out this route in reverse: Antigua to Santa Ana

15 travel tips for Santa Ana El Salvador to Antigua Guatemala - share your tips below!

  1. Emilio

    I did Steve’s route a few days ago and nothing much seems to have changed except prices, but nevertheless I wrote this guide for 2023 –
    I headed to the market bus station and got on a bus 210 headed to Ahuachapan at 7:40, cost – 0.5$
    Finding the next bus was a bit tricky since there is no terminal in Ahuachapan, but look on google maps for a bus stop named “las chinamas”, because that is exactly where I found a parked minibus headed to the border, on the front it had both “las chinamas” and “frontera”, so quite easy to spot. When getting off this bus you enter the classical shark tank of money exchangers, tuktuk drivers, sellers and whatnot else, but this particular place stays in my memory because some dude literally grabbed me by my backpack and started dragging me to exchange money which left me very angry. Left Ahuachapan at 9:10, cost – 0.25$
    After the border crossing which was pretty straight forward and includes a beautiful bridge crossing, a bit after the Guatemala immigration building was a parked chicken bus heading to “Guate” or Guatemala city. Left the border at 10:30, cost – 60Q
    Get off this bus when the driver announces “Trebol”, don’t rely on others saying that a lot of people will get out here, because in my case only 2 other people got off the bus. From here you need to make your way down the stairs to the highway which goes to the Trebol station, it’s a 1,3km walk, just follow google maps. You don’t actually need to go to the Trebol station itself since it’s only the public transport for the city, but the bus for Antigua will be parked near “Ministerio Público Edificio Brescia” – look on google maps for bus station named “buses hacia Occidente” – that’s exactly where it will be just as you cross the pedestrian bridge. Left at 14:15, arrived at 15:30, cost – 20Q

    Overall it took me 8h and cost 11$.
    It seems that prices have essentially doubled the past 5 years

  2. Vladimir

    En diciembre quiero aventurarme ir Antigua Guatemala desde San Salvador en bus transbordado

    Me ayudan a explicar cómo hacer??

  3. kam

    I did this journey yesterday and it was fairly straightforward. I started at lake Coatepeque and the buses from there start at 6am and run every 30 mins (or so I was told). I took the 6am one which came right on time. It took about an hour to Santa Ana. From there it was confusing finding the bus stop/station, but after asking some locals I was told to get on a microbus to a big roundabout where all the out-of-town buses passed by. The rest of the journey is El Salvador was easy and buses were punctual and prices were fixed and correct. Border crossing was super easy and I got the bus on the Guatemalan side at 12pm. It cost 70c though (not 45c) and I tried arguing but no luck getting it down. The next bus cost 20c despite seeing all the locals pay 10c (not 8c as this post implies). Doable in one day but took 10 hours from the lake.

  4. Sabrina

    Update: 26.02.2022
    I was the only backpacker from santa ana until antigua.
    I needed an antigen test, which I did in analize laboratory in Santa Ana for 25$ and the vaccination which I had on my phone.

    Santa Ana – Sonsonate
    Bus 216 at Terminal Occidente
    07:30 – 09:20

    Sonsonate – Hachadura Frontera
    Bus 259 right next to where I arrived
    09:50 – 11:20

    I took a Biketaxi for 2$ to Migration of El Salvador, was a 10min ride.
    He drops you off 1km infront of the guatemala Migration so I decided to walk but you can also take another biketaxi for 2$ to Migration Guatemala

    Frontera – Escuintla
    Right infront of the migration of guatemala
    12:00 – 14:40
    Q70 (he charged extra for my backpack)

    I forgot to tell the driver that I wanna go to antigua so I ended up somewhere in escuintla and had to take another bus to a place where the bus to antigua stops.
    So I payd extra Q3… but if you’re smart, you ask if the driver can tell you where to go out to catch the bus to antigua, before you’re at the end station hahaha
    Escuintla – Antigua (most difficult part)
    15:00 – 16:05
    Q20 (he charged extra for my backpack)

    Was an adventure! Would do it again – felt always safe alone as a blonde girl! People are soo helpful <3

  5. Alvin

    I took a similar route, though I started to Juayua and transferred at Sonsonate. I took the 259 bus to the border at 8:30 am. The walk to the exit border is short, but the walk between borders is long and I was one of the few not to hire a bicycle ride across for this segment.

    An old coach bus was waiting to take passengers to Escuintla, though the routing in Escuintla and where I was dropped off to transfer to the Escuintla to Antigua bus are different than in this post.

    I told the driver that I was going to Escuintla. Bus drove to a roundabout near the south end of the city at Carreteria Taxisco / Ave Centroamerica, then headed south until it reached the Escuintla bypass highway (Hwy 9) that heads toward Guatemala city. At the interchange with Hwy 14, I was told this was my stop for Antigua. The bus continued on the freeway with a half full bus (i.e. the final destination is clearly not Escuintla). From the interchange I and a local walked about 50 m south to just past an intersection with a local road, which is the unmarked point to flag buses in both direction. Multiple buses to various destinations passed before the Antigua bus appeared.

    Bus prices in Guatemala are higher. 50Q from border to Escuintla. 10Q from Escuintla to Antigua. Locals are paying this price too.

  6. melisa

    Hola! Nosotros hicimos una ruta distinta para chequear que tan bien funcionaba y nos salió bien! Desde Santa Ana tomamos el bus 236 en la estación francisco lara Pineda a las 9 am, por 1 dolar, directo a la frontera de San Cristóbal ( en Candelaria de la frontera, es el último pueblo), llegamos 9:50 a la frontera. Muy tranquilo todo igual que la de la hachadura.
    A las 10 am salimos a Guate capital, nos quisieron cobrar Q100 pero lo pagamos Q40, y nos enteramos después que por Q25 también te llevan. Llegamos a la capital a las 15 hs (zona 4) y tomamos un bus urbano a dos cuadras por Q2 que nos dejó justo donde salen buses a Antigua directo por Q10. A las 16 hs estábamos en Antigua. Fueron en total 1 dolar y 52 quetzales, 7 horas de viaje. Esperamos que les sirva! A nosotros para ir nos ayudó muchísimo. Gracias!!!! Melisa y Luciano

    • melisa

      Y sólo 3 buses!!!

    • centrocoasting

      Gracias, amigos!

    • rafa

      de candelaria a la frontera san 10km en el mapa… donde el bus baja, en el pueblo o en la frontera? porque si es en el pueblo por cierto tiene que pagar otro trasnporte

  7. Max

    I have done this Route yesterday and it works perfectly.

    • Max

      I mean Steves Route

  8. Steve

    I found a quicker way which involved less bus changes and slightly cheaper.
    I left Santa Ana at 08.30 and took the 210 from the main market to Ahuachapan, this took about 1hr – 50c. Once in Ahuachapan its was a short walk to the main market to get on the 63 bus to the border town of La chinama – 30mins. – 40c. The bus drops you about 300m from the border, so a short walk passing the money changers, they offered 6.5 Qs per $ but after a little bit of negotiation and smiling I got 7qs per $. Clearing immigration was quick and easy, no exit stamp out of ES just a bit of paper and a scenic walk across the bridge to Guatemala. The Guatemalan border is a short walk up hill, tuk tuks were available but I decided to walk. ( These people seem to be in no mans land ). Clearing Immigration was very simple and there were buses waiting to take you to Guatemala City.
    My bus left at 11.00 30Qs and took 3hrs. I could have jumped on a passing AC bus at the border for $10 but didnt bother
    Approaching GC I asked the bus driver how to get to Antigua. The bus turned off the highway and I was dropped off on top of a flyover, lots of people got off here and walked back down the slope to the highway was had just been driving on and caught a local bus, 1q which passed the Antigua chicken bus stop. An Antigua bus passed in 5mins and off we went. 10q 1.15hr
    Arriving in Antigua at approx 15.15.

    So in total about 7hrs and 4 buses. Total cost 90c Plus 41q so about $6 in total

    • centrocoasting

      Sweet! Thanks, Steve.

    • Noel lopez

      Genial mi estimado

    • Atte

      We did Steve’s route few days ago and it worked really well. We decided to walk from the flyover to Estacion El Trebol for the chicken bus to Antigua. The 1-2 km walk was ok during the day though every bus was trying to give you a ride.

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