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What We Spent In El Salvador


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Glennie Harkness




Welcome to the heart of Central America, where vibrant cultures, rich history, and breathtaking landscapes converge to create an unforgettable experience. Our journey through El Salvador was a captivating blend of exploration, relaxation, and discovery. As we immersed ourselves in the local way of life, we found that the country’s charm extended far beyond its renowned surf breaks and lush coffee plantations.


From the moment we set foot in El Salvador, we were greeted with warmth and hospitality that left an indelible mark on our hearts. The rhythmic beats of traditional music echoed through the streets, and the tantalizing aromas of authentic cuisine filled the air, beckoning us to indulge in the flavors of this enchanting land. Our adventure was a tapestry woven with encounters with friendly locals, awe-inspiring natural wonders, and a deep dive into the country’s compelling history.


As we reflect on our unforgettable journey, we’re excited to share our insights into the cost of living and exploring this captivating destination. Join us as we delve into the details of what we spent in El Salvador, offering a glimpse into the expenses that shaped our remarkable sojourn through this Central American gem.




Our quest for the perfect retreat in El Salvador led us to a myriad of lodging options that catered to every preference and budget. Whether we sought the laid-back ambiance of beachfront bungalows or the urban allure of boutique hotels, the country’s diverse accommodations seamlessly blended comfort with local charm.


During our stay, we were delighted to discover that El Salvador offers a wide array of accommodation choices, from cozy guesthouses to luxurious resorts, each offering its own unique allure. We found that the average cost for a night’s stay in a mid-range hotel or guesthouse ranged from $40 to $80, providing a comfortable and welcoming haven after a day of exploration.


For those seeking a more budget-friendly option, hostels and homestays offered a fantastic way to immerse ourselves in the local culture while keeping costs down. With prices averaging around $10 to $25 per night, these accommodations provided a welcoming atmosphere and the opportunity to connect with fellow travelers from around the globe.


Our most memorable stays, however, were the eco-lodges nestled amidst El Salvador’s breathtaking natural landscapes. Surrounded by lush rainforests or perched on the edge of volcanic crater lakes, these eco-friendly retreats offered an unparalleled connection to the country’s pristine wilderness. While the prices varied depending on the amenities and location, the experience of staying in harmony with nature was truly priceless.


Food and Drinks

Food and Drinks

Our culinary journey through El Salvador was a tantalizing exploration of flavors, aromas, and traditions deeply rooted in the country’s rich heritage. From savoring traditional pupusas in bustling marketplaces to indulging in freshly caught seafood along the pristine coastline, every meal was a celebration of the vibrant local cuisine.


One of the highlights of our gastronomic escapade was the ubiquitous presence of pupuserias, where we relished the opportunity to sample an assortment of pupusas, El Salvador’s beloved national dish. These delectable handmade corn tortillas filled with savory delights such as cheese, beans, and meats were not only a culinary delight but also a budget-friendly option, typically costing around $0.50 to $1 each.


When it came to dining out, we found that mid-range restaurants offered a delightful fusion of traditional and international fare, with prices for a satisfying meal ranging from $5 to $15 per person. Whether we were delving into the flavors of a hearty casamiento (rice and beans) or savoring the catch of the day at a beachside eatery, the diversity of dining options ensured that every meal was a memorable experience.


As for beverages, we couldn’t resist the allure of El Salvador’s renowned coffee culture. Whether we were sipping a rich, velvety brew at a quaint café or embarking on a coffee plantation tour, the average cost for a cup of coffee ranged from $1 to $3, depending on the venue and the intricacy of the preparation.


Of course, no journey through El Salvador would be complete without indulging in the country’s refreshing array of tropical fruits and beverages. From sipping on revitalizing agua de jamaica (hibiscus tea) to relishing the sweetness of freshly squeezed fruit juices, we found that quenching our thirst with these delightful concoctions cost around $1 to $3, offering a refreshing respite during our explorations.




Getting around El Salvador was an adventure in itself, as we navigated a network of transportation options that seamlessly connected the country’s diverse attractions. Whether we were traversing bustling city streets or winding through picturesque rural landscapes, we found that El Salvador’s transportation offerings catered to both convenience and exploration.


For our urban escapades, we relied on the extensive network of local buses, which offered a budget-friendly and authentic mode of travel. The average fare for a single bus journey within cities and towns was approximately $0.25 to $0.50, making it an economical choice for exploring local markets, historical sites, and vibrant neighborhoods.


When we ventured between cities, we opted for the comfort and convenience of long-distance buses, which provided a reliable and affordable means of traversing the country. The cost of a bus ticket for intercity travel varied depending on the distance, with prices ranging from $5 to $20, offering a comfortable and scenic journey between El Salvador’s captivating destinations.


For those seeking greater flexibility and autonomy, renting a car proved to be an excellent option for exploring El Salvador’s diverse landscapes at our own pace. The average cost for a rental car ranged from $30 to $60 per day, depending on the vehicle type and rental duration, allowing us to embark on spontaneous road trips and off-the-beaten-path discoveries.


Of course, no exploration of El Salvador would be complete without embracing the thrill of tuk-tuk rides, a ubiquitous mode of transportation in many towns and villages. These vibrant three-wheeled vehicles offered a fun and affordable way to navigate local areas, with short journeys typically costing around $1 to $3, providing an exhilarating and immersive travel experience.


Activities and Attractions

Activities and Attractions

Our sojourn in El Salvador was brimming with an array of captivating activities and awe-inspiring attractions that showcased the country’s diverse natural beauty and cultural heritage. From exhilarating outdoor adventures to immersive cultural experiences, our days were filled with unforgettable encounters that illuminated the soul of this remarkable destination.


One of the highlights of our journey was the opportunity to explore El Salvador’s pristine coastline, where we immersed ourselves in the thrill of surfing along world-renowned breaks or simply unwound on sun-kissed beaches. Whether we were seeking the adrenaline rush of catching waves or relishing the tranquility of the Pacific shores, the cost of renting a surfboard or indulging in beachside relaxation was approximately $10 to $20, offering an invigorating escape into the country’s coastal allure.


Delving into El Salvador’s rich cultural tapestry, we embarked on immersive tours of historical sites and vibrant communities, where we gained profound insights into the country’s heritage. The entrance fees to archaeological sites and museums varied, with costs ranging from $3 to $15 per person, allowing us to trace the footsteps of ancient civilizations and delve into the captivating narratives that shaped El Salvador’s past.


For nature enthusiasts, the opportunity to embark on hiking adventures through El Salvador’s lush landscapes and volcanic terrain was a truly unforgettable experience. Whether we were exploring the verdant trails of national parks or conquering the heights of majestic volcanoes, the cost of guided hikes and park entrance fees averaged around $10 to $25, providing an enriching and invigorating communion with the country’s natural splendor.


Immersing ourselves in the vibrant tapestry of local traditions, we also had the chance to participate in cultural workshops and artisanal experiences, where we honed our skills in crafting traditional handicrafts and indulged in the vibrant rhythms of traditional music and dance. The cost of these immersive cultural activities varied, with prices typically ranging from $5 to $20, offering a captivating window into the soul of El Salvador’s living heritage.


Souvenirs and Gifts

Souvenirs and Gifts

Our exploration of El Salvador presented us with a treasure trove of vibrant markets, artisan workshops, and local boutiques, each offering an enticing array of souvenirs and gifts that encapsulated the country’s rich cultural tapestry. From intricately crafted handicrafts to vibrant textiles and flavorful culinary delights, the opportunity to bring a piece of El Salvador’s charm home with us was an irresistible part of our journey.


One of the most cherished aspects of our souvenir hunting was the chance to peruse the bustling markets and artisan fairs that adorned the streets of El Salvador’s towns and cities. Here, we discovered an array of handcrafted treasures, including intricately woven textiles, vibrant pottery, and striking artwork, each offering a tangible connection to the country’s artistic heritage. The prices of these artisanal souvenirs varied depending on the intricacy and size of the pieces, with costs ranging from $5 to $50, providing an affordable and meaningful memento of our travels.


For those with a penchant for culinary delights, El Salvador’s markets and specialty stores beckoned with an array of delectable treats, including aromatic coffee, flavorful spices, and artisanal chocolates. The cost of these edible souvenirs ranged from $5 to $20, allowing us to savor the tastes of El Salvador long after our journey had ended.


As we ventured into the charming workshops of local artisans, we had the remarkable opportunity to witness the intricate process of crafting traditional souvenirs, from delicate wood carvings to vibrant textile creations. The chance to acquire these handcrafted treasures directly from the artisans themselves not only added a personal touch to our souvenirs but also provided a meaningful way to support the local craftsmanship and traditions that define El Salvador’s cultural identity.


Of course, no visit to El Salvador would be complete without the joy of selecting gifts for loved ones back home. Whether it was a handwoven tapestry, a bag of freshly roasted coffee, or a piece of artisanal jewelry, the diverse range of gifts available allowed us to share the essence of El Salvador with our friends and family, with prices typically ranging from $10 to $50, offering a heartfelt token of our unforgettable journey.




As we bid farewell to the captivating landscapes and warm embraces of El Salvador, we couldn’t help but reflect on the myriad experiences that shaped our journey through this Central American gem. From the vibrant pulse of its urban centers to the serene beauty of its natural wonders, our adventure was a tapestry woven with unforgettable moments and enriching discoveries.


Our exploration of the cost of living and traveling in El Salvador revealed a delightful balance of affordability and quality, allowing us to savor the country’s myriad offerings without straining our budget. The diverse range of accommodation options, from eco-lodges nestled in pristine wilderness to welcoming guesthouses in bustling towns, provided us with comfort and authenticity at every turn.


Delving into the vibrant tapestry of El Salvador’s culinary scene, we found that savoring traditional flavors and international delights was not only a gastronomic delight but also a budget-friendly indulgence. Whether we were relishing the iconic pupusas in local markets or embarking on a culinary exploration in charming eateries, the diversity of dining options catered to every palate and pocket.


Our journey through El Salvador’s transportation network seamlessly connected us to the country’s diverse attractions, with an array of options that catered to both convenience and adventure. From traversing bustling city streets on local buses to embarking on scenic road trips in rental cars, getting around the country was a seamless and enriching part of our experience.


Immersing ourselves in a tapestry of activities and attractions, we found that El Salvador’s natural beauty and cultural heritage offered a wealth of experiences that enriched our journey. Whether we were surfing along the pristine coastline, delving into the country’s historical sites, or immersing ourselves in the vibrant traditions of local communities, every moment was a testament to the country’s captivating allure.


As we reflect on our journey, we are grateful for the opportunity to bring a piece of El Salvador’s charm home with us through vibrant souvenirs and heartfelt gifts. The treasure trove of artisanal creations, culinary delights, and handcrafted mementos served as tangible reminders of the rich cultural tapestry that defined our sojourn in this captivating destination.


Our time in El Salvador was a symphony of vibrant experiences and meaningful connections, leaving an indelible imprint on our hearts. As we carry the memories of our journey with us, we are filled with gratitude for the warmth of its people, the richness of its traditions, and the unparalleled beauty that defined our sojourn in this Central American jewel.