Santa Ana – El Salvador – GRANDPAcking Costs

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This post contains a detailed breakdown of costs for 2 GRANDPAckers holidaying in Santa Ana, El Salvador to GRANDPAcking standard.El Salvador 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 San Pedro LL, Guatemala to Santa Ana, El Salvador and Santa Ana – 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 Santa Ana to GRANDPAcking standard – albeit ‘borderline’ with my accommodation.

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 Hotel Libertad met ‘GRANDPAcking Standard’ … but, only just.

It was a Double Room with Fan and cold water ensuite.

I booked and paid for it online through BOOKING.COM. I paid US$16.40 / night.

However, the Room Rate on the inside of the door was US$12. If I had ‘walk in off the street’, I would have gotten a better price.


I walked everywhere. You don’t need any transport.

Even the walk up to the Metrocentro shopping center was an easy one.

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.

With the SIMcard, I purchased a 2-week 1.5GB Internet Plan for US$6. The store configured everything for me whilst I waited … it all took only 10 minutes. I did not need to show any ID, but take your passport just in case.

Because of my blog work, I used up the data very quickly and topped up with another US$10.50. My next 1.5GB Internet Plan got lost, so I had to top up with another US$5.25.

I already had plenty of US$s in cash on me, so I did not have to go to an ATM.

Food & Drink:

I averaged US$7.40 / day on food but I ate very ‘frugally’.

I ate Breakfast in a small local cafe. It was, usually, US$1.50 for a Desayuno Traditionale with Coffee. I usually have some extra coffee(s).

I don’t really eat Lunch anymore. A good Breakfast keeps me going until Dinner time. But, I spent an average of US$1.90 … mainly because I had an expensive Burger King at the Metrocentro.

I averaged US$2.60 on Dinner. This ranged from US$1 Papusas at the Parque Libertad stalls to a KFC-style Dinner for US$6.95.

I bought water by the gallon down at the Supermarket (US$0.61) and snacks which averaged 0.80c / day.


My ‘Cost of Existing / Day’ was NZ$34 / US$24 / €20 / £18.


My available ‘LIVING Funds’ each day were NZ$46 / US$32 / €28 / £25. This was enough to LIVE on.

Getting There:

I travelled to Santa Ana from San Pedro LL in Guatemala. The Guatemalan costs are not included. From the border to Santa Ana I spent US$1.60 on Chicken Busses.

Drink / Partying:

There isn’t much ‘partying’ to be had in Santa Ana … it is a bit quiet at night.

I mainly drank in small bars with the locals. These guys don’t come to these bars for a drink … they come to get drunk!

A beer in these places costs US$1.25 for a 330ml bottle or US$1.50 for a 750ml bottle. I averaged US$3 / night.

On my final night, I shouted a few drinks to the friends that I made and splashed out US$10!


I spent US$1.30 on a haircut and bought some special toothpaste for US$5.10 (Colgate Pro Sensitive).

Entertainment / Trips:

I didn’t do any trips – it was raining most of the time.


I bought a couple of 9′ USB cables for US$9.99 each at the Metrocentro shopping center.

Other / Gifts:

I had US$110 stolen from my suitcase in my hotel.


My actual GRANDPAcking costs came in at NZ$64 / US$42 / €39 / £35 per day. This was 80% of my total budget … I had 20% left to play with.

If I ignore the stolen money, this would have been NZ$45 / US$29 / €27 / £24 per day. This was 56% of my total budget … I had all the money that I needed to have a fun time.


As usual, costs are broken down into:

  • Cost Of Existence
  • Cost Of Living



I suggest that GRANDPAckers pre-book 2 nights with someone like BOOKING.COMEXPEDIA.COM or AGODA.COM in a safe area of town.

I DO NOT advise you to just turn up and walk the streets carrying your luggage looking for somewhere.

Online, there are plenty of decent options for US$25 / night including taxes.

Once in Santa Ana, you can walk around town and see who will give you a reduced price for 4 more weeks. You should be able to get a secure Double Fan Room with Private Bathroom for US$20 in a decent area.


There are plenty of day trips to be had within striking distance of Santa Ana by Chicken Bus.

Chicken busses are cheap; as a ‘rule of thumb’ expect to travel 30-35 kms / hour and pay US$0.45c / hour.

A city bus to anywhere in Santa Ana costs US$0.20c.


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 away from 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 local 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 not expected in local cafes … but always appreciated.

Expect to pay an average of US$2.00 for a Breakfast with a coffee.

Expect to pay an average of US$2.50 for a Lunch with a  fruit drink (like a Lemon Water).

Expect to pay an average of US$5.00 for a Dinner with a fruit juice / beer. As an example, in a local Pub you can get a Burger with Chips and Salad for US$2.50.

Do not expect to get free water at your hotel. Expect to buy your water in 5 Gallon containers. There is a returnable deposit on the container and it should cost you about US$1.50 for each refill.


The ‘Cost Of Existence’ of 2 GRANDPAckers is about NZ$57 / US$40 / €34 / £31 per day.


This leaves you NZ$23 / US$16 / €14 / £12 per day to LIVE on. This is 29% of your daily budget.

This should be plenty to have fun with.


Santa Ana is reasonably cheap but the town is unkempt and offers very little of interest.

To get the best out of Santa Ana, you need to go on day trips to the local attractions. The best attractions charge US$3 / person entrance fees.

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


Santa Ana has NOT made it into my Retirement REVIEWS.

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