We weren’t too sure how to get from Antigua, Guatemala to El Salvador and more specifically whereabouts in El Salvador to go. So we started with the obvious and went round the tour agencies asking about shuttle buses, coaches etc and were presented with 2 options.
Option 1 San Salvador – take a shuttle to Guatemala City and then a bus to San Salvador, total price $US40 per person.
Option 2 La Liberdad beach area – take shuttle as per above and then buses, total price $US45 per person.
Both options seemed very expensive, especially as we knew a chicken bus to the city was only a dollar, so we looked online and found 2 bus companies that operated from Guatemala City to San Salvador, each for about $US25 per person – Ticabus and Pullmantur.
The Ticabus left at 5.30am from the Ticabus terminal and the Pullmantur left at 7.45am from the Hilton Hotel, so if we missed one we could still make the other.
By 4.10am we were at the Antigua bus station waiting for our bus, however we managed to miss the first one as it took a different exit so we didn’t catch a bus until 4.35am, by then we knew we would not make the Ticabus.
As we headed into Guatemala City the rain season decided to start, perfect as we had forgotten to place our backpacks in their waterproof sleeves, so all we could do was listen to the rain hit the roof and our backpacks above for over half an hour.
When we arrived in Guatemala city we weren’t sure where to get off but we knew we needed a taxi, so we decided to try to find somewhere with a shelter and a taxi. This unfortunately failed as the bus was so full we never seemed able to get off when we wanted to. In the end when the driver announced we were at the bus terminal and almost everyone got off we too decided to jump off.
However, as I made my way out the driver gently grabbed my arm and asked me where I needed to get to as he had seen me getting up and sitting back down. A little surprised I explained we were looking for the Pullmantur bus, which was supposed to leave from the Hilton Hotel. After a little chat with remaining passengers he explained the Pullmantur terminal was actually just a half block away.
This surprised me as there was no mention of a terminal on the website, however as he obviously knew his surroundings and there were no taxis we decided to make our way there and see what options we had.
After thanking the driver for his help we collected our soaked backpacks and head off to the ” International bus terminal”. We made our way in the small terminal to the only desk and asked if there were buses to San Salvador, the man answered yes and that they left at 7.30am.
Surprised we asked if we could buy tickets and how much they would be. The reply left us perplexed, yes there were plenty of seats available and the ticket was just under $US15 per person, $US10 less than the advertised price. Unsure what to make of it we paid the fare and went to wait.
We were slightly worried as to what mode of transport would appear but at 7.15am we boarded a regular bus with reclining seats and TV and set off for the border.
The journey was around 4 hours in total and the border crossing was very easy. We arrived at the border for Guatemala and simply had our passports stamped, no exit charges to pay.
We then got back on the bus and drove 2 mins to the El Salvadoran border, here we simply sat in our seats while a security officer checked our passports, once done we were off again.
We arrived at the Puerto Bus terminal in San Salvador around lunchtime, feeling quite shattered from being up since 3.30am we decided to simply check in to the hotel above the bus terminal!