The Traveler’s Guide to Driving in El Salvador

Over the past several years, the country of El Salvador has become a very popular location for tourists. There are a number of things to see and do in the country. You can visit Museo de Arte de El Salvador, the Museum of the Word and Image, or visit beautiful Lake Coatepeque. The National Park Cerro Verde, Cathedral Metropolitana, and Paseo El Carmen are just a few of the other sites you might want to visit as well.

Rental cars make getting around easier

When you are on vacation, you want to see and do as much as possible. Renting a vehicle is the best way to get around on your own timetable. It’s easier than using public transportation and taxis, and you do not have to wait around a location just to get back to your hotel.

The road conditions and safety

Most of the main roads in El Salvador are in good condition and are paved. The country has a reputation for having some of the best roads in Central America. There are few large potholes, and you will rarely need to have a 4WD to get around. Some of the out of the way rural roads are rough though, and they do have some large potholes. Having a 4WD can help when you are going off of the main path and traveling through rural areas. When traveling through El Salvador, you will also want to have an updated map with you to ensure you do not get lost.

In El Salvador, you will drive on the right side of the road and overtake on the left. You have to be at least 18 years old to drive, and you need to have a valid driver’s license from your country of residence. You need to be at least 21 years old to rent a vehicle in the country though. One of the interesting things about El Salvador is that they have a maximum driving age – 75 years old. Drivers are not allowed to carry any objects that prevent them from having both hands on the wheel. Seatbelts are required for the driver and front seat passenger.

The drivers in El Salvador have a reputation as being crazy, and when you first start driving it can certainly seem that way. They do not always signal, they may cut in front of you. You have to balance between driving defensively and anticipating what other drivers are going to do, and aggressively so you can get to the places you need to go.

Understanding the signage

The signs in El Salvador are in Spanish, so it will help to learn some of the basics so you can understand them. For example, Alto means stop.

The speed limit

The speed limit, which is displayed on the signs in km/h. The speed limits are as follows.

  • Freeways – 90 km/h
  • Cities and curves on the freeways – 50km/h

There are a number of speed checks around the country. They place orange cones along the road, which you have to drive through, to help keep the speeds under control. Make the most of your vacation to El Salvador. Plan your trip and the sites you want to visit, and use a rental car to make getting there easier.


The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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