*** Updated October 2015 *** Just had a recent email from some backpackers traveling in El Salvador who confirmed that this route is still active and works well. If you’re taking the trip please continue to leave comments if anything changes. Gracias!
Getting from one cruisey beach in El Salvador to another shouldn’t be a hard task. That’s why we’ve mapped out the best way for you to take an El Tunco to El Cuco bus without any hassles and big spending. Discovering this trip was a bit of a mission, but we made it in the end, and this is how we did it. If the beaches of El Salvador are calling, then this is the trip for you!
El Tunco to La Libertad
Try to get over the early morning hangover and get out of El Tunco by 9am. Walk up to the highway and grab a #80 bus back towards La Libertad. 20Mins – 25c
La Libertad bus to Comalapa
Catch the #187 bus (double check with the #186 as well) from out the front of the big wooden ship on the main beach road. You’ll ride along the Highway 2 until you hit the intersection with Highway 5 coming down from San Salvador. Not sure how frequently they come, but we waited about 20mins. Better frequency in the mornings. 1hr – 60c
Ask the driver to get off ‘a el puente por la carratera numero cinco’ (at the bridge for highway number 5). Get off before going over the bridge, which crosses Hwy 5, and follow the path that leads underneath it.
Under the Bridge
Time to head under a bridge in the middle of nowhere in El Salvador. This sounds like the sketchy part, but don’t worry. It’s tried, tested and came out clean. Once you walk underneath you’ll find it full of people waiting to make connections and busy street food vendors, all eager to help assist you.
Highway 5 to El Delirio
Wait to flag down a bus headed towards San Miguel. You don’t need to go that far, so be sure to tell the driver you’re only going to El Delirio. You’ve now done all the hard work; just make sure you don’t miss your stop. If you go too far don’t worry, you’ll end up in San Miguel and just have to trek your way back. 2 hours – $3.00
El Delirio to El Cuco
Get off at the roundabout and turn right. Once around the corner you wait to flag down a bus headed towards El Cuco beach. You’ll pass through the town of Chirilagua (where the only ATM is if you haven’t taken out money yet), and then onto El Cuco.
Getting to El Cuco Beach
Once you arrive in the center you have a few options. You can head west to Flores, renowned surf spot among locals and travelers alike, or head east to the beautiful beach El Esteron and stay at the gorgeous hotel/backpackers La Tortuga Verde.
Enjoy the beach of El Cuco
If you need any more convincing about beautiful beaches in El Salvador why not check out these posts on the beaches of El Salvador or the El Tunco vs. El Cuco article to find out which beach is best for you.
Going from El Salvador to Nicaragua?
If you’re headed to Nicaragua after the beach be sure to follow our El Salvador to Nicaragua bus for the cheapest transport in all of Central America.
Speak to locals about where you’re going. Bus attendants aren’t always the most reliable in letting you know when it’s your stop. Locals are always happy to help out and shout out when it’s your time to get off. We have even experienced locals yelling at bus drivers for not telling us our stop. Now that’s commitment!