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What you should know before you rent a car

Practical information

Where to rent a car in El Salvador?

Located in South America, El Salvador shares borders with Guatemala and Honduras, as well as a coastline with the Pacific Ocean. Its capital city is San Salvador, while the country is famous for its beaches and nature. The country is also home to Mayan Ruins such as those at the Tazumal and Joya de Cerén Archaeological Parks. Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport is the principle international airport in El Salvador and can be found not far from its capital city of San Salvador. For those planning to explore El Salvador by rental car, this is a great place from which to hire a car, with companies such as Alamo Rent a Car, Avis, Budget and Hertz all having desks here. With a limited to non-existent railway network, traveling by rental car in El Salvador is one of the best (and only) ways to enjoy the country's beauty while traveling between destinations.

What are the driving rules in El Salvador?

For those planning to rent a car in El Salvador, be sure to have the correct documents in advance. You'll need both a valid driver's license from your country of residence, as well as an international driver's license. Once you've rented your car for a road trip around El Salavador, be sure to brush up on the local road rules before getting behind the wheel. In El Salvador, drive on the right and, while the use of a seatbelt is only mandatory for those in the front seat, we'd recommend all passengers wear a seatbelt at all times in the car. Pay attention to the speed limit: this is usually 50km/h in urban areas, and 90km/h on both rural roads and the motorways. The blood alcohol limit in El Salvador is 50mg/100ml - so to be safe, avoid drinking at all before driving.

Looking for somewhere to park your rental car? Local drivers will often leave their car wherever there is space. If signs indicate payment is necessary, be sure to adhere to them and pay for parking where required. There are also a number of parking lots in El Salvador. Be sure to lock your doors when parking your car, and take valuables with you.

Road trips in El Salvador

Discover cities filled with architectural landmarks and cultural attractions; beautiful natural landscapes; and coffee plantations aplenty, with a road trip around these three destinations in El Salvador.

San Salvador

Surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, San Salvador is the capital city of El Salvador. A likely point of arrival for many visitors to the country, thanks to the nearby Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport, spend a few days discovering all San Salvador has to offer before heading off on a road trip around the nearby attractions. In the city, pay a visit to the El Museo de Arte de El Salvador art museum and check out the colonial architecture in downtown San Salvador. From the capital, a number of destinations can be visited by rental car. The El Boquerón National Park, found atop the San Salvador Volcano, is just over 12 miles from the city by road and is a great place to go hiking. Alternatively, the coastal city of La Libertad is around 20 miles from San Salvador and boasts beaches, surfing and a bustling fish market.

Ruta de las Flores

A 22 mile long road which runs through some of El Salvador's most beautiful sights, the Ruta de las Flores (Flowers Route) is a brilliant road trip in the country. Along the route, you'll find charming towns and villages; natural areas perfect for hiking; coffee plantations; and much, much more. Along the route, stop off at the village of Juayua during its famous food fair, which is held every weekend; zipline through the forest in Apaneca; take a tour of a coffee plantation; and check out the colourful buildings in the village of Ataco.

Santa Ana

Located in western El Salvador, Santa Ana is the country's second largest city. Home to architectural landmarks such as the Santa Ana Cathedral and the Santa Ana National Theater, it is a great place to use as a base for a road trip around the surrounding department of Santa Ana. Known for its coffee, no visit to the area would be complete without a visit to a coffee plantation. Fortunately, the region boasts plenty, and traveling by rental car allows you to take your pick! Also nearby the city of Santa Ana, the beautiful Lake Coatepeque can be reached via a 17 mile drive. The village of El Congo and the Teopán Island can also be found here, making for a brilliant day trip by rental car from the city of Santa Ana.

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