Overland El Salvador Travel
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Entering El Salvador with a Car or Motorbike
Correct as of: February 2010
- Passport of registered owner (original and 1 copy).
- Vehicle registration (original and 1 copy).
- Drivers license of registered owner (original and 1 copy).
Process at border
(For people, see El Salvador Visa and Passport requirements at the World Travel Guide)
- The owner of the vehicle gains entry at immigration (migración), including a stamp in their Passport.
- The owner must show the new passport stamp, drivers license and the original vehicle registration to customs (aduana).
- The owner is issued a temporary import permit for the vehicle.
NOTE: You will encounter pushy locals offering to help you with paperwork to get across the border. See Border Crossing Helpers for advice.
Cost of entry
Permitted length of stay
90 days. El Salvador is part of the CA-4 Border control agreement. This agreement grants travel between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua for a TOTAL of 90-days. The number of days remaining on your CA4 is written in your passport as you travel from country to country. The 90-day limit begins when you enter any country that is part of the CA4 agreement. To avoid penalty and fines, Exit the CA4 countries and enter into Costa Rica or Mexico/Belize before the 90-days limit expires.
Extension of stay
Describe the process to extend the permitted length of entry for the vehicle, if possible.
Storing a vehicle and temporarily leaving the country
Describe if/how a vehicle can be stored, and for how long.
Also mention if the owner / temporary importer can leave the country while the vehicle is in storage.
Exiting with a vehicle
- The registered owner presents the temporary import paper to customs.
- The registered owner is stamped out of El Salvador at immigration.
Driving in El Salvador
Insurance is not required.
Cost of insurance
Where to purchase insurance
Technically an International Driving Permit is required.
In reality, showing a license from anywhere in the world seems to be good enough.
Driving side of road
Right hand drive vehicles are permitted without problem.
Mandatory items in vehicle
General Road quality
Roads in El Salvador vary greatly. The Pan American is paved and good quality for the length of the country, as are most other highways. Lesser roads are gravel and can be very bumpy and rutted.
Road signs are uncommon, and can not be relied upon.
Bribery in El Salvador
Police bribery is relatively common in El Salvador, so you should expect it to happen. See the bribery tips page for advice.
Traveling with pets
List the entry requirements and anything else required to travel with a pet.
Gas and Diesel price in El Salvador
Last updated: January 2010
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|Normal Diesel||$0.77 USD per Liter|
|Diesel (low sulfur)||??|
Gas and Diesel Availability / Frequency
Gasoline is common, shortages are not a problem.
Gas and Diesel Quality
Safety and Security Considerations
Driving at night
Driving at night is absolutely not recommended in El Salvador, due to safety considerations.
Find a secure parking lot to park for any length of time. Price unknown.
Special driving considerations
Security advisories and information
- Country Specific Information - U.S. Department of State
- Travel Reports and Warnings - Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
- Travel advice by country - Foreign and Commonwealth office (U.K.)
- Travel Advice for El Salvador - Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Camping in El Salvador
Camping is popular in El Salvador anywhere along the ocean. Roadside camping is generally not recommended.
Camping guide books
Tap water in El Salvador is not safe to drink.
Purchase maps before arriving, good ones are very difficult to find in El Salvador.
GPS Maps of El Salvador
- Open Street Map: Appears to have good coverage.
- Garmin: Apparently no map of El Salvador.
- TomTom: No map of El Salvador. 
GPS co-ordinates for camping, propane, gas, repairs, etc. in El Salvador
- Camping Sites: El Salvador - Detailed list of campsites and propane filling with description, directions and GPS co-ordinates. Some at hotels (lists facilities and price), some roadside and free.
- Central America Camping Locations - List of campsites, with basic directions and GPS co-ordinates. Mostly free sites.
- Camping Log 1: Central America - List of campsites, shopping, fuel, propane and border crossings with excellent descriptions and GPS co-ordinates.
- White Acorn camping log page - GPS co-ordinates and excellent description of campsites]
Special Overland Travel interests
Travel Guide Books
4x4s / Trucks
- Toyota Global Dealer Locator
- Land Rover International Dealer Locator
- Mercedes Benz International (select country on bottom right)
- Jeep International site locator
Add known good mechanics here.
Buy or sell a car or motorbike in El Salvador
Describe how a foreigner can buy a vehicle. List any difficulties or limitations on where the vehicle can be driven.
Describe how a foreigner can sell a foreign-plated vehicle, or list not possible.'
- El Salvador: Visa and Passport requirements | World Travel Guide
- Health Information for Travelers to El Salvador - Center for Disease Control and Prevention
- El Salvador travel guides at wikivoyage
- El Salvador - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- El Salvador Overland | Overland Sphere Overland travelers currently in El Salvador