The Airport of El Salvador: A useful guide for travelers

Jan 25, 2020 | Travel

from Henning

Henning lived for several years in El Salvador, working as a teacher. He is Co-Founder of the SAY ZONTE! project. Writing for this blog is his way to give back to “el pulgarcito.”

The airport of El Salvador: FAQ

We often get asked questions that refer to the airport of El Salvador:

How to organize the transport?
What about the VISA?
Is there a car rental?
Where to get cash?

We want to give you some options and some helpful hints. You decide what’s best for you.

Please write us a message if you need any further information concerning your travel planes to El Salvador.

¡Hasta pronto!

airport of el salvador

Quick facts about the El Salvador International Aiport “Oscar Arnulfo Romero”

The international airport El Salvador “Oscar Arnulfo Romero” is located about 45 minutes away from San Salvador by car and maybe 60 min from El Tunco, the central tourist hub in El Salvador.

It’s a small but pretty modern airport that is well organized: It’s hard to get lost there, and there are plenty of small start-nows, cafés, and restaurants.

In our last reserach, the following airlines connect to the airport of El Salvador:

El Salvador Airport: Visa regulations

The international airport of El Salvador is not that big but pretty modern. It’s easy to find your way downstairs to the baggage claim area and international immigration. 

As a tourist, you will receive a 90-day visa. There’re no extra costs for this. If you’re from Europe, the USA or Canada, and most other countries, there’s no need to apply for a visa before you arrive in El Salvador. You will receive a 90 days visa automatically at the migration.

But please be sure to have an ESTA-VISA for the transfer through the USA!

If you want to extend your permission, you have to leave the country (to Costa Rica or Mexico, for example) and then enter the country again. Or you can try to apply for a visa extension at your embassy in El Salvador.

airport of El Salvador

A bit of good advice is to get some cash from an ATM right at the airport. The official currency in El Salvador is the US-Dollar.

The ATMs accept almost every international credit card (VISA or Mastercard). Often they have a limit.

If the ATM doesn’t want to give you cash, try an amount less than US$250. The banks charge you between US$3 and US$5 for each cash withdrawal.

airport of el salvador

Car rental at the El Salvador Airport

Some people like to rent a car during their stay in El Salvador. There is are some international car rental companies right at the airport. They’re reliable but also not that cheap.

A small car can easily cost you about US$200 for one week with basic insurance coverage. You will have to pay for gas and maybe pay extra for insurance covering more than just a flat tire.

I don’t recommend renting a car at the airport of El Salvador. 

For most travelers, it’s not necessary, and it also means that you will be responsible for any damage to the car. You can easily rent a car in El Tunco, for example, for about US$30 per day. Please read our post about How to travel El Salvador: Transportation Tips

airport of el salvador

How to get an airport transfer to El Tunco or other destinations?

We recommend booking your airport pick-up in advance with your accommodation.

Depending on the time of your pick-up and the number of persons, it shouldn’t cost you more than US$50 one way. Also, tour operators shouldn’t charge you more than US$50 one way, except when they have to pick ypu up during the night.

An airport transfer to and from El Zonte might be a bit more expensive, for example, because it’s further away. 

We don’t recommend using the public bus getting from the international to your destination in El Salvador. It’s just not worth the hassle, and it will take you a lot of time.

If you didn’t have a chance to book an airport transfer in advance, you could take an official taxi. They’re yellow, and the company is called “Acacya“. 

Better don’t use an Uber! We have heard from some tourists who had to pay way too much for the airport transfer.

airport of el salvador

Airport El Salvador: Hotels nearby

If you have a long layover-flight or need to be at the airport early in the morning, you might think about taking a hotel close to the airport. There’re several options about 10 minutes away from the airport. 

If you have more than 8 hours, it might be an excellent option to visit El Tunco or El Zonte and book a hostel to enjoy a day at the beach.

If you have any more questions: Please let us know!

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