El Tunco – El Salvador – GRANDPAcking Costs

Share This Page:


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


For more detail, read El Tunco – 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 lived in El Tunco to GRANDPAcking standard – ish.

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 accommodation at La Sombra Hostel met ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’.

It was a Double Room with Fan and cold water ensuite on the first floor with an hammock on a balcony over-looking the dipping pool and grounds.

I ‘walked in off the street’ and negotiated them down from US$18 / night to US$13 / night for single occupancy and a 1 week stay paid in cash in advance.

There was a Common Area with shared fridge(s), cooking facilities, free coffee, and free water.

It was a 50 meter walk down a lane to the seafront … and an easy 100 meter walk to the Main Street.


You can walk everywhere. You don’t need any transport.

You can walk a 200 meters to the highway to catch Public Transport to the surrounding towns.

A one-way ticket to La Libertad is 0.25c. To El Zonte, a little bit more.

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 Santa Ana and arrived in El Tunco with a new 2-week 1.5GB Internet Plan.

Internet in El Tunco is very ‘variable’ and I got through my data quickly. I topped it up with another US$5.25 whilst in El Tunco … and bought another Internet Plan.

Food & Drink:

I averaged US$10.40 / day on food but I ate very ‘frugally’.

I ate Breakfast in the cheapest local cafes. To keep costs down, I took free coffee with me from the La Sombra (otherwise, I would have been paying another 0.75c per cup). It was, usually, US$3.00 for a Desayuno Traditionale. I only averaged US$2.80 because I skipped breakfast on the morning that I left.

I don’t really eat Lunch anymore. A good Breakfast keeps me going until Dinner time. But, I spent an average of US$0.10c … I had a 60c Pupusa one day.

I averaged US$7.60 on Dinner. This ranged from a US$5 Fried Chicken Meal (US$3) with beer (US$2) at a local cafe to a $10 Macaroni Cheese (US$7) with beer (US$3) in a hotel restaurant.

Water was provided free of charge by my hotel.


My ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was NZ$31 / US$21 / €19 / £17.


My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were NZ$49 / US$33 / €29 / £26. This was enough to LIVE on.

Getting There:

I travelled from Santa Ana …

via San Salvador …

to El Tunco by Chicken Bus(ses) at a total cost of US$2.80.

Drink / Partying:

There wasn’t much ‘partying’ to be had in El Tunco in October … the place was very quiet and most bars were empty.

I was happy to grab a US$2 (750ml) bottle of beer … some local cafes ‘double up’ as stores … so you pay store prices.

Otherwise, I might stop for a US$1 (300ml) beer in an Happy Hour bar.

I went out on Saturday night to see what the town had to offer. This was my biggest night listening to a live Heavy Jazz band down at the La Guitarria … but, even then, they had a special on all night with 2x Rum & Coke (Cuba Libra) for US$5.

I spent an average of US$5.60 per night on drinks … but, this included US$10 for 4x 300ml beers on the waterfront whilst watching Real Madrid vs Tottenham Hotspurs 🙂

I spent nearly US$20 on my Saturday Party Night :-).



Entertainment / Trips:




Other / Gifts:



My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at NZ$43 / US$29 / €26 / £23 per day. This was 54% of my total budget … I had 46% left to play with.

I couldn’t find anything of interest to spend my money on.


As usual, costs are broken down into:

  • Cost Of Existence
  • Cost Of Living



If you read my El Tunco – 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 Sombra Hostel site (above) and book 2 nights there at their standard rate of US$18 / night. If you like the La Sombra, you can extend your stay and, probably, get a discount on that rate … however, I have kept the budget at US$18 because you may be able to find a nicer place at that rate when booking 4 more weeks.


I have included a budget to take a weekly trip to a local town on Public Transport.


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 will need your own wifi – even in your hotel.


I have budgeted for you to eat Breakfast & Lunch in a cheap local cafe, and something from the ‘lower quartile’ of the Dinner menu in a budget restaurant. This budget is for a ‘balanced’ diet … you are not expected to live on tortillas every day. Don’t expect to eat anywhere ‘fancy’.

Tips are included in those prices.

Expect to pay an average of US$4.00 each for a Breakfast with a coffee.

Expect to pay an average of US$5.00 each for a Lunch with a fruit drink (like a Lemon Water).

Expect to pay an average of US$6.50 each for a Dinner with a fruit juice / beer.


The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about NZ$71 / US$48 / €43 / £39 per day.


This leaves you NZ$9 / US$6 / €5 / £5 per day to LIVE on. This is 11% of your daily budget.

This is not enough to have fun with.


El Tunco in October (and, probably, Rainy Season per se) is over-priced and soulless.

To get the best out of the place, come between November and May.

There are better places to go to and better places to see.


El Tunco 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: