Surprisingly, given the closeness of Guatemala to El Salvador, arranging transport can be quite the shamble if like us, you are leaving from Guatemala City and heading to Santa Ana that is.
After much research and pavement pounding, Justin came up with this plan...
The most direct route from Guatemala City to Santa Ana was to catch a bus headed to San Salvador, asking the bus driver politely to stop and let us out on his way past.
We used the bus service from Pezzarossi located in Zone 4, Guatemala City. Tickets are Q120 per person regardless of whether you are getting out half way, but the advantage is you stay on the same bus and you don't need to carry your bags through immigration. They will come to you.
We also chose to catch a taxi to the station (Q50) rather than walk the 19 blocks from our hotel as I was unwell on our day of travel. Normally we would just suck it up and walk to save the money.
The bus at Pezzarossi is an air conditioned coach with toilet and luggage storage. They drive to the border where everyone disembarks to have their passport checked and is given a small slip of paper. Once you have this, you will be driven to the El Salvador border where an immigration official will board and collect your slips and check your passport once more. In our case, both our bags were searched.
During the immigration checks, vendors will board the bus toting food, drinks and money exchange. We found the rate quite low and opted to wait until we got to an ATM instead.
Following these formalities, it's onwards to Santa Ana. The bus will pull in just off the highway and from there you can taxi or like us walk to your accommodations.
If you need somewhere to stay in Santa Ana, we highly recommend Hostal Casa Verde; https://hostalverde.wordpress.com/.
Another option for travel between Guatemala City & Santa Ana that we found was to take a chicken bus to the border for roughly Q10 per person. Walk to the El Salvador side for processing and find onward transport from there. Unfortunately most transport we researched travelled towards San Salvador and would require several changes to arrive in Santa Ana.
Guatemala. El Salvador, Honduras & Nicaragua are all part of the Central America Border Control Agreement (CA4). Tourists can travel within any of these countries for up to 90 days from the first point of entry without completing entry & exit formalities. 30 day extension requests can be made before the expiry of the original visa.
If arriving by plane, visa requirements may differ slightly.
The information on this page is solely based on our personal experiences during International Border Crossings, most of which have been overland. We highly recommend checking all advice against the respective countries own immigration website for up to date information.