Skip Navigation

Santa Ana (El Salvador)

Photo © jakokruuse

Travel Guide Central America El Salvador Santa Ana

edit

Introduction

Santa Ana - katedraal

Santa Ana - katedraal

© All Rights Reserved jakokruuse

Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador and is located about 60 kilometres west of the capital San Salvador. The city has approximately 300,000 inhabitants. It is a very important city in terms of agriculture and coffee production (coffee plantations - called fincas - cover much of the land outside town and up the hills). Its historic center offers some of the best preserved architecture in El Salvador, including the Cathedral of Santa Ana, a marvel of neo-gothic architecture, the Teatro de Santa Ana, a beautifully decorated theatre of the early 1900s; and the Palacio Municipal in front of the main plaza with giant palm trees shooting out from its courtyard.

Top

edit

Sights and Activities

Most visitors of course come to see the Cathedral and the Theatre, but Santa Ana has more to offer. According to La Secretaria de Cultura, its historic center (roughly within the limits of 4a Calle, 7a Ave, 9a Calle, Ave Jose Matias Delgado) counts 210 buildings in neoclassical style, 5 Gothic, 64 neocolonial and 102 in traditional style. The most intact ensemble of colonial houses can be found east of Parque Libertad, although most houses are privately owned and therefore inaccessible. For a self guided tour follow Calle Libertad eastbound and discover the north & south leading Avenidas (1a, 3a, 5a, 7a, 9a).

Top

edit

Events and Festivals

July Festival

The best time to be in Santa Ana - though perhaps not if you want peace and quiet - is Fiesta Julias which runs through the month of July. There are street parades, masses and cultural events galore in this most colonial of Salvadoran cities. There are also fairground rides and clowns for the kids.

Top

edit

Weather

Santa Ana has a tropical climate with humid and warm conditions year round. Temperatures are around 28-31 °C during the day and 15-18 °C at night. The rainy seasons is from June to October, the rest of the year sees showers as well, but usually less heavy and long and without any chance of hurricanes.

Top

edit

Getting There

By Car

Santa Ana lies 64 kilometres northwest of the capital San Salvador, just off the Panamerica (Highway 1), from where several exits lead into town. Being close to the border, it's also a convinient stop if coming from Guatemala.

By Bus

From Guatemala City's international terminal (aka Pezzarossi) at 3 Ave y 1 Calle in Zona 9 (one block south of the infamous Zona 4 terminal), buses leave at 05:30, 07:30, 09:30, 11:30, 13:30, and 15:30 towards San Salvador, passing through Santa Ana after 4-4½ hr, US$16/120 Quetzales (same fare as for San Salvador), Tel +502 2331 0874.

Some buses go via the San Cristobal border where immigration procedures are straightforward and hassle-free, while others use the busy border at Valle Nuevo (aka Las Chinamas on the salvadorian side) where aggressive money changers await you. Be very careful here and don't hand out the immigration's paper slip to anyone. First stop is Guatemalan immigration where you get an exit stamp and a paper slip. After crossing the bridge over the Rio Paz you don't need to visit the Salvadorian immigration (the officer boards the bus to check your documents), and no entry stamp is provided as your still in the CA-4 area. When arriving Santa Ana, the only stop will be at the office's new location at 2 La Ceiba. Take a taxi or local bus into downtown (Route R-A will drop you just behind the Teatro).

Top

edit

Getting Around

Most places within the historic center can be reached within a few minutes walk, there's no need to take a taxi or board local buses.

Unmetered yellow taxis charge $3 for short distances, but $4 (bargain hard) should bring you pretty much everywere in town. Most drivers have difficultes to find specific streets, better use hotel names, landmarks (see above), or the name of the Colonia (town district) of your destination.

Top

edit

Eat

Virtually hundreds of comedores (cantins) offer salvadorian standard meals (comida tipica) for as little as $2. Mostly self service (comida a la vista). Usually open for lunch between 11:00 and 14:00 (for dinner head out to pupuserias). Be early as food is often prepared in advance and may not stay fresh in the tropical heat. Also places sometimes run out of food after 13:00. Virtually all comedores are closed Sundays.

Top

edit

Drink

  • Villa Morena, 2a Calle Poniente (between Parque Libertad and Parque Menendez). This is Santa Ana's small outgoing area. Turns into a pedestrian zone Fri and Sat evenings, many bars and restaurants with street side tables, safe as guarded by police.
  • La Taberna del Capitan, 4a Ave Sur y 17a Calle Poniente (west of Colegio Bautista), ☎ +503 2440 9461. M-Th 12:00-22:00, F Sa 12:00-23:30. Bar & restaurant, open until late.
  • Super Selectos (check different locations). This supermarket has a reasonable selection of spirits and Argentinian, Chilean and European wines. Also sells German Köstritzer, Belgium Leffe, and original Czech Pilsener beer.
  • La Despensa de Don Juan, (see supermarkets). Has an even larger selection, including chinese Tsing Tao and german Erdinger beer.

Top

edit

Sleep

  • Casa Verde (Hostal), 7a Calle Poniente Entre 8a and 10a Avenida Sur (4 blocks south from Parque Menendez, just around the Corner from Hotel Livingston, look for the big green house.), ☎ +503 7840-4896, e-mail: casaverde_santaanda@hotmail.com. Check-out: 13:00. Casa Verde is safe and secure and offers modern, spotless, comfortable rooms and bathrooms, 2 incredibly well-stocked kitchens, free coffee, water, and WiFi (and a computer), a laundry area, parking, and pick up/drop-off service, beautiful patios, hammocks, TV/movie room, a swimming pool, and rooftop deck. Centrally located, a short walk to the main square, bus terminal, and a large grocery store. Carlos, the owner, lives on site and is an excellent source of information for the Santa Ana area and travelling in El Salvador. Dorm from $10, private rooms are also available.
  • Casa Frolaz (Hostal), 29a Calle Poniente #42-B (Between 8 and 10 Avenidas Sur), ☎ +503 2440 1564, e-mail: casafrolaz@yahoo.com. Check-out: 11:00. A gorgeous beautifully decorated house for backpackers with clean and large dorm rooms. Hot shower, free Wi-Fi and DVDs, tropical garden. Safe and secure location near Metrocentro Mall and just 7 blocks south of Bus Terminal, but quite a way from Central Park (bus 51-E or 51-F from downtown). Speed Internet, and Restaurant. If coming from San Salvador on TUDO bus 201, get off in 31a Calle at INSA and walk 1 block downhill. Dorm from $8.
  • Hotel Continental, 23a Calle Poniente Entre 6a y 8a Ave Sur. Popular and safe, a good option although not central, limited car parking. edit
  • Hotel Libertad, 4a Calle Entre 1a y 3a Ave (1 block north / downhill from the Cathedral). Friendly and very central but basic. $9 per double room.
  • Hotel Livingston, 10a Ave Sur Entre 7a y 9a Calle Poniente (4½ blocks south of Parque Menendez resp 4½ blocks north of terminal), ☎ +503 2441-1801. A simple but good place if you're on a budget, WiFi, secure car park. $15 double, $10 economic room.
  • Hotel Sahara, 3a Calle Poniente Entre 10a y 12a Ave Sur (2 blocks south of Parque Menendez), ☎ +503 2447 8865, e-mail: hotel_sahara@yahoo.com. The rooms are great and comfortable. It's not a run down or bad hotel at all (as mentioned in some guide books) but probably the only one in downtown in this category. WiFi, guarded car park. $54 (double).
  • Hotel Tolteka Plaza, Boulevard Los 44 (between Panamericana highway and Metrocentro roundabout). The best place to stay in Santa Ana, but a long way out of town (get a taxi to downtown). Bus 201 (TUDO company) coming from San Salvador can drop you right in front of the hotel, ask driver. Bus 59 from/to El Congo also passes here. $70 (double.

View our map of accommodation in Santa Ana or use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)

Booking.com

Top

edit

Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafes are available in pretty much every town and charge around US$1-2 per hour. There is almost always wifi (usually free of charge) in hostels, mostly in midrange and luxury hotels (but less so in budget hotels and guesthouses), but connection speeds and reliability varies dramatically. Be aware that many high-end hotels charge between $3 and $10 per day for internet use although some will let you log on and print an airline boarding pass free of charge.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The international country code for El Salvador is 503. The general emergency number is 911.

To place a call within El Salvador, simply dial the eight-digit number beginning with 2 for landlines and 7 for cellphones.

The main companies are Movistar, Tigo, Digicel, and Claro, with Tigo reputedly giving the best overall reception. When using your own cell phone, the roaming can cost anywhere between $1 and $4 a minute and internet charges are extremely high as well. It's better to buy a local SIM card, which can be bought for about US$25-30 and have much lower rates. Especially when you are in the country for a longer time and wish to use internet and make a call regularly, this might be a better option.

Pay-as-you-go phones can be purchased in the airport, the cheapest of which cost $60. Make sure to ask if the phone can take international calls and how much this costs, as packages vary and can be restrictively expensive. Look out for promotions such as free incoming calls and cheap international calls for US$0.10 a minute with certain networks.

Post

Correos de El Salvador is the country's postal service. Most towns in El Salvador have post offices marked by a blue sign reading correos. Post offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm in larger cities, and 7:00am to noon and 2:00 to 5:00pm in small towns. To mail a standard letter or a postcard from El Salvador to the United States costs around US$0.70 and US$1 to Europe and Australia. It might take anywhere from a week to the USA to a few weeks further afield. If you'd like to send a package, it might be better to use an international company like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx, as they are fast, reliable and not overly expensive.

Top

Accommodation in Santa Ana (El Salvador)

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Santa Ana (El Salvador) searchable right here on Travellerspoint. You can use our map to quickly compare budget, mid-range or top of the range accommodation in Santa Ana (El Salvador) and areas nearby.

Santa Ana (El Salvador) Travel Helpers

We don't currently have any Travel Helpers for Santa Ana (El Salvador)

This is version 8. Last edited at 14:46 on Feb 6, 18 by Utrecht. 1 article links to this page.

Creative Commons License
Except where otherwise noted, content of this article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License