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.
Check out this route in reverse: Antigua to Santa Ana