El Esteron – El Salvador – GRANDPAcking Costs

Money Icon

OCTOBER 2017:

OVERVIEW:

This post contains a detailed breakdown of costs for 2 GRANDPAckers holidaying in El Esteron, El Salvador to GRANDPAcking standard.El Cuco Location Map

As a reminder, this “standard” requires 2 GRANDPAckers to:

  • Stay in an Hotel Double Room with Fan and Private Bathroom
  • Eat 3 ‘balanced’ meals each day in a budget restaurant

CROSS REFERENCES:

For more detail, read El Esteron – El Salvador – Information.El Cuco Town Map

Click here to read about Retirement Locations in this country.

Click here for detailed Travel Information and more Travel Budgets in this country.

Read About – GRANDPAcking Costs if you don’t know how to interpret my figures.


SPREADSHEET SUMMARY:

El Esteron GRANDPAcking Costs

 


MY ACTUAL 1 PERSON GRANDPAcking COSTS:

I DID NOT live in El Tunco to GRANDPAcking standard.

My costs are purely provided for information purposes. I do not always follow ‘GRANDPAcking Standards’. In fact, I deviate from them all of the time! But, my costs are real costs and they may help you formulate your own budget.


Accommodation:

My room at La Tortuga Verde did NOT meet ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’.La Tortuga Verde - Mini Rooms Beach Path

It was a small room with a Double Bed and Fan.La Tortuga Verde - Mini Room EntryLa Tortuga Verde - Min Room Furniture

The Shared Bathroom was down the corridor and shared with 4 other (similar) rooms.La Tortuga Verde - Mini Room Shared Vanity La Tortuga Verde - Mini Room Shared Toilet La Tortuga Verde - Mini Room Shared Shower

I ‘walked in off the street’ and paid US$12 / night for single occupancy and a 1 week stay. This was the ‘rack rate’. I was unable to get a discount.El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Entry to Grounds

The hotel had a dipping pool.El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Pool

And lots of places to sit and swing in an hammock on the beachfront.El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Beachfront View

From my room, it was a 50 meter walk down a lane to the seafront.El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Sunset 6

In all respects (other than my room), La Tortuga Verde was a nice, clean, well-run, beach resort.


Transport:

You can walk to El Cuco Town (40-45 minutes each way). This is quite tiring in the heat of the day. Or, catch a taxi (for US$5 each way).El Cuco - Walk West - 12

You can walk 600 meters east to the estuary where you will find a small community and another (deserted) restaurant.El Cuco - Walk East - 8

Otherwise, you are ‘resort-bound’.


Communications & Fees:

I purchased a TIGO SIMcard for US$2 at a small, local store in Santa Ana. TIGO has the best overall coverage in El Salvador.El Cuco - Walk East - 3

I topped it up in El Tunco with a new 2-week 3.0GB Internet Plan ‘promotion’ (which doubled the normal 1.5GB to 3.0GB).

Internet in La Tortuga Verde is pathetic and unreliable. I needed my own Internet Plan. I got a consistent ‘H+’ signal everywhere in the area.


Food & Drink:

I averaged US$8.90 / day on food but I ate very ‘frugally’.

I ate all but one of my meals at Adela’s (20 meters east of the La Tortuga Verde). Adela’s prices are at least half the price of La Tortuga Verde: for food and beer.El Cuco - Adelas - Cafe

Adela does a selection of simple, local breakfasts for US$2 including a coffee.El Cuco - Adelas - Desayuno Tipico US$2

I don’t really eat Lunch anymore. A good Breakfast keeps me going until Dinner time. But, I spent an average of US$0.50c / day on snacks from the local store (about 200-300 meters east of La Tortuga Verde). A candy bar was 50c 🙂El Cuco - Walk East - 14

I averaged US$5.80 on Dinner. This ranged from a US$1.50 meal of Pupusas with a US$1.50 750ml beer (total US$3).

  To a whole Fried Fish meal (US$6) with a beer (total US$7.50).El Cuco - Adelas - Fried Fish US$6

Water was provided free of charge by my hotel.


Summary:

My ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was NZ$24 / US$18 / €16 / £14.


MY COST OF LIVING (COL):

My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were NZ$53 / US$35 / €31 / £28. This was more than enough to LIVE on.


Getting There:

I travelled from El Tunco …El Tunco - 23 - Waterfront Path

… by Chicken Busses …El Delirio - Bus to El Cuco

… to El Esteron at a total cost of US$8.90. This includes the US$5 taxi fare from El Cuco town to El Esteron.


Getting Away:

I used La Tortuga Verde’s shuttle-boat service to get me from their hotel to Potosi, Nicaragua (US$75). This boat crosses the Gulf of Fonseca (and by-passes Honduras).Fast Boat to the Gilis 2

I will tell you more about that in my next post.


Drink / Partying:

There isn’t any ‘partying’ in El Esteron … just a couple of ‘cold ones’ in the evening whilst you watch the sunset and chat with people at the bar.El Cuco - Totuga Verde - Another Sunset 2

I had a couple of 300ml beers in the hotel some nights at US1.50+10% each but I, usually, just had a 750ml beer at Adela’s with my meal for US$1.50. I spent an average of US$1.80 / day on beers

I bought a 950ml bottle of local spirits in El Cuco town for US$4 and was happy to mix this with Lemon Iced Green Tea when relaxing in an hammock in the evenings.


Personal:

None.


Entertainment / Trips:

None.


Shopping:

None.


Other / Gifts:

I found US$1.70 somewhere in one of my pockets.


Summary:

My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at NZ$46 / US$31 / €27 / £24 per day. This was 57% of my total budget … I had 43% left to play with.

I couldn’t find anything of interest to spend my money on … I was surprised to find out how little I spent.


WHAT IT SHOULD COST 2 GRANDPAckers:

As usual, costs are broken down into:

  • Cost Of Existence
  • Cost Of Living

COST OF EXISTENCE (COE):

Accommodation:

If you read my El Esteron – El Salvador – Information post, you will see that accommodation is unaffordable if you book through the ‘usual’ online search engines.

I suggest that you go to the La Tortuga Verde site and book 1 night there at their standard rate of US$25 / night for a Meso Room with Private Bathroom.El Tunco - La Sombra - Room Entry

Once there, I would try and negotiate a discount on staying for the rest of the month. I couldn’t get a discount for 7 nights and you may not succeed … but, for a 1 month stay, it is worth a try … money talks.


Transport:

I have included NO budget to take a weekly trip to a local town on Public Transport.El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Bird Bath

Such a trip would need to come out of your ‘Living Funds’.


Communications:

I have included a TIGO SIMcard (US$2) and two prepaid 2-week Internet Plans with 1.5GB of data for US$6 each. You may get lucky with TIGO texting you with a ‘double up to 3GB’ offer … if so, take it … it means that you can stream a few movies.El Cuco - Walk West - 2

You will need your own wifi.


Food:

I have budgeted for you to eat all of your meals at Adela’s.

Expect to pay an average of US$2.00 each for a Breakfast with a coffee.El Cuco - Adelas - Desayuno Ranchero w Coffee US$2

Expect to pay an average of US$3.00 each for a Lunch with a fruit drink (like a Lemon Water).El Cuco - Adelas - 3x Pupusas US$1.50

Expect to pay an average of US$6.00 each for a Dinner with a fruit juice / beer.El Cuco - Adelas - Fried Chicken US$5

You won’t be able to afford to eat at La Tortuga Verde. If / when you do, it will be a treat / ‘Living Expense’.


Summary:

The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about NZ$68 / US$46 / €40 / £36 per day.


COST OF LIVING (CoL):

This leaves you NZ$12 / US$8 / €7 / £6 per day to LIVE on. This is 15% of your daily budget.El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Bar Hammocks

This is not enough to have fun with but is enough to have a couple of ‘quiet ones’ back at the hotel on the beach.


CONCLUSION:

El Esteron in October (and, probably, Rainy Season per se) is over-priced. But the weather was good and the hotel was pleasantly quiet, relaxed, and devoid of people.

Between November and May it may get a lot busier … but, the room rates should stay the same … and the extra people will, probably, make it a lot nicer (more people to meet and mix with).El Cuco - Tortuga Verde - Sunset 1

There are better places to go to for the money … but, if you particularly want a beach holiday in El Salvador, this should definitely be top of your list … as long as you are prepared to stay at La Tortuga Verde and eat all of your meals at Adela’s.


RETIREMENT:

El Esteron is TOO quiet and TOO far away from required facilities … it has NOT made it into my Retirement REVIEWS.


Why not FOLLOW US to stay up to date with our Postings and Retirement Reviews.