El Esteron – El Salvador – GRANDPAcking Costs

Share This Page:


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

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


For more detail, read El Esteron – El Salvador – Information.

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.




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.


My room at La Tortuga Verde did NOT meet ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’.

It was a small room with a Double Bed and Fan.

The Shared Bathroom was down the corridor and shared with 4 other (similar) rooms.

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.

The hotel had a dipping pool.

And lots of places to sit and swing in an hammock on the beachfront.

From my room, it was a 50 meter walk down a lane to the seafront.

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


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).

You can walk 600 meters east to the estuary where you will find a small community and another (deserted) restaurant.

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.

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.

Adela does a selection of simple, local breakfasts for US$2 including a coffee.

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 🙂

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).

Water was provided free of charge by my hotel.


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


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 …

… by Chicken Busses …

… 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).

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.

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.



Entertainment / Trips:




Other / Gifts:

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


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.


As usual, costs are broken down into:

  • Cost Of Existence
  • Cost Of Living



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.

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.


I have included NO budget to take a weekly trip to a local town on Public Transport.

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


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.

You will need your own wifi.


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.

Expect to pay an average of US$3.00 each for a Lunch with a fruit drink (like a Lemon Water).

Expect to pay an average of US$6.00 each for a Dinner with a fruit juice / beer.

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


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


This leaves you NZ$12 / US$8 / €7 / £6 per day to LIVE on. This is 15% of your daily budget.

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.


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).

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.


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. 

Share This Page: