bike touring in el salvador: practical information


El Salvador FlagEl Salvador is easy to overlook if you're on an epic South America cycling expedition.  But this tiny country deserves a little attention.  There's some terrific coastal riding, a laid-back attitude and some of the friendliest locals on the continent.  

cycling routes and roads in el salvador

Take some time in El SalvadorAfter all that suffering climbing Guatemala's relentless hills, you can breath a bit easier in El Salvador.  For a while at least, until you hit the coast where you'll encounter more long,  steep climbs. Roads in El Salvador are in good condition and most highways have good paved shoulders perfect for riding.  There are lots of locals on bikes, so drivers are used to sharing the road.


We used Reise Know-How's detailed Nicaragua/Honduras and El Salvador map.  It's waterproof, making it the perfect navigational tool for a bicycle tour.

finding a safe place to sleep during your bike tour

Hotels in El Salvador are quite reasonably priced.  We found clean rooms with attached bath for under $10.  Again, you must check around and ask locals for a recommendation.  If not, you could end up in a grotty motel with hourly rates.  On the coast you'll find small guest houses aimed at the backpacker crowd.  

Although the security situation in El Salvador is improving, this is still not a country where you'll want to pitch your tent just anywhere by the side of the road.  Spending the night at church is an option and you might also try asking if you could pitch your tent on the lawns of a gas station.   Sounds odd, but many service stations have beautifully manicured grounds and there's always security 24 hours a day.  Gas stations in rural areas tend to close early, so you don't have to worry about being disturbed by trucks rattling in to fill up the tank.

cost of bike touring in el salvador

Bike touring in El Salvador can be downright cheap if you live on a steady diet of pupusas (those delicious high calorie corn tortillas filled with cheese) and either camp or stay in budget hotels.  There are plenty of supermarkets (we recommend  Despensa Familiar) with reasonably priced groceries so self-catering is easy.  Markets have lots of fruit and vegetables to choose from and the bread in El Salvador is surprisingly good compared with that found in neighboring countries.
Our bike tour in El Salvador cost on average $8 per person per day, eating at street stalls and small restaurants, staying in budget hotels and camping.

safety issues

El Salvador used to be considered one of the most dangerous countries in Central America, but that's changing fast. Security is much improved and rural areas are reasonably safe.  Don't wander around large cities after dark unless you're looking to be mugged.  Highway banditry is not a major problem as it is in some parts of Guatemala.

Any advice or questions about Biking in El Salvador
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Tour Update
Cycling Around the World: Biking El Salvador

 Country Info
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