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Why carry an IDP while driving in El Salvador?

Your IDP is a valid form of identification in more than 150 countries worldwide and contains your name, photo and driver information in the 12 most widely spoken languages in the world – it is understandable to most of the local officials and authorities of the countries you visit.

It translates your identification information into 12 languages — so it speaks the language even if you don’t. El Salvador highly recommends an International Driving Permit.

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“The land of volcanoes” and the “little thumb of America” are just two of the popular nicknames El Salvador has. “The land of volcanoes” because of the presence of twenty volcanoes in the country. The “little thumb of America” is the smallest country in Central America. El Salvador may be a small country but offers varied attractions to treat every visitor who tours the country.

Top Destinations in El Salvador

El Salvador is famous for its volcanoes, some of which you can even hike and see for yourself its craters. However, the country is more than just housing volcanoes in its territory; for surfers and beach lovers, you can find great locations where you can do water activities or just relax at the beach. And to fill your curiosity about El Salvador, the museums and archeological ruins will take you back to the Salvadoran past.

El Boqueron National Park

El Boqueron is a national park near San Salvador, the country’s capital. If you plan to take a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, you can opt for a day trip here. With an elevation of 5,095 feet, you can get a panoramic view of San Salvador City and the distant yet marvelous sight of Lake Ilopango and Izalco Volcano. The park sits on top of San Salvador Volcano, so one activity you must not miss is hiking down to the crater, which is 5km in diameter.

Hiking trails can be a challenge but will offer an excellent workout for you, but there are several trails where you can choose from depending on your preference. The lush vegetation that surrounds you will make your hiking much enjoyable. There is a town at the foothills of the volcano called Santa Tecla that you can explore. The national park is open daily from 8 AM to 5 PM.

Driving Directions:

  • El Boqueron National Park sits almost 60 kilometers from El Salvador International Airport, or an hour and five-minute travel via car.
  • Head west toward Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Sharp right onto Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Keep right to continue on Autopista Comalapa.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Turn left at Kathy Nails to stay on Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Monseñor Romero/RN-29.
  • Take the exit toward 7a Avenida Norte.
  • Take LIB 10 N to Calle al Parque Nacional el Boqueron/LIB33W.

Bring with you a driver’s license, passport, visa, and an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador as requirements to rent a car and drive in the country. An International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador serves as your ticket to a hassle-free drive and transactions with car rental companies. Your International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador will update your local license and translate it to 12 UN-recognized languages, including English.

Some tourists might be exempted from getting an International Driving Permit in El Salvador, mostly those from the same region. However, it pays to secure an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, as the location for police checks can be random sometimes. So to avoid delays on checkpoints, better to have all your documents ready. Driving with an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador today or any given day is essential for visitors in the country.

National Museum of Anthropology

While you are in San Salvador, you can visit one of the country’s most famous museums. The National Museum of Anthropology, which opened back in 1883, gives a glimpse of the eventful history of El Salvador and its people. You will see five different halls in the museum, and each hall holds treasures and ancient artifacts of pre-Columbian settlers, from the Maya and Olmec to the Pipil tribes who once lived in El Salvador.

The museum is open Tuesdays until Sundays from 10 AM to 6 PM and closed on Mondays. Explore El Salvador’s agriculture, human settlements, religion, arts, and trade through the museum. You can learn some good stuff about the Salvadoran artifacts’ facts and gain ideas on what souvenirs to shop for in local villages.

Driving Directions:

  • The museum is a 49-minute drive from El Salvador International Airport.
  • Head west toward Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Follow Autopista Comalapa to Avenida De La Revolución in San Salvador.
  • Sharp right onto Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Keep right to continue on Autopista Comalapa.
  • Turn left at Kathy Nails to stay on Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Keep right.
  • At GGI European Tuning - Llantas MICHELIN El Salvador, continue onto Autopista Sur/Bulevar Los Próceres.
  • Slight right at Toldos Lonaire Arca de Noe toward Alameda Manuel Enrique Araujo.
  • Turn right to merge onto Alameda Manuel Enrique Araujo.
  • Drive to Avenida De La Revolución.
  • Turn left at Inspectoría General de la Fuerza Armada onto Avenida De La Revolución.
  • Make a U-turn at Hotel Villa Florencia Zona Rosa.

You can secure an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador online. Prepare your International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador requirements like your valid driver’s license and a passport-size photo of you. If you apply for an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador today, you will receive a digital copy of your IDP via email. Remember that you only need to fill out a form for an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador online.

Include in your application for an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador the zip code of your shipping address to avoid delays with the physical copy shipment. Remember to key in on the form for an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador your contact number, full name, and email address as part of your personal information. If you have other queries with your International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, the website has everything you need to know.

Santa Ana Cathedral

Santa Ana Cathedral sits at the heart of the second-largest city in the country, Santa Ana. It is a notable attraction in the city because of its Neo-Gothic architecture style. Finished and opened in 1913, the Santa Ana Cathedral presents ornate moldings covering the church’s front, and as you head inside, interior pillars and high arches are painted in slate and pink stripes. The cathedral is open 24/7 on weekdays and limited hours on weekends.

Driving Directions:

  • Coming from El Salvador International Airport, you need to drive for two hours to reach your destination.
  • Head west toward Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Continue on Autopista Comalapa. Take Prol Boulevar Constitución, CA-1A and Carretera Panamericana to 9a Calle Oriente in Santa Ana.
  • Continue on 9a Calle Oriente. Take 7a Av Sur to 1a Avenida Sur

After the approval of your application for an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, an update will be sent to your email. However, remember that the digital copy of your IDP will not be valid in El Salvador. The International Driver’s Association will ship the physical copy of your International Driver’s Permit for El Salvador to the address you provided upon application.

For US-based citizens, you can have the physical copy within seven days and 30 days for those shipments of International Driver’s Permit to El Salvador, a location outside the US and other international territories. If you wish to track your shipment of your International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, the website provides ways to reach customer service. Get an update of your International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador via a contact number on the website.

Cerro Verde National Park

If you can’t get enough with one volcano in San Salvador, you can visit another national park, this time in Cerro Verde. It houses three volcanoes - Izalco, Santa Ana, and Cerro Verde. There are several tour packages you can avail of to explore the three volcanoes inside the park. Santa Ana volcano is the highest and most active volcano of the three, and the highlight as you explore here is the magnificent turquoise lake at the center of the crater.

Apart from volcano hopping inside the park, it boasts one of the friendliest hiking trails through the park’s oldest forest. You getting tired here will be overshadowed by the shade from century-old trees. With the national park’s area, you can also try horseback riding, camping, and staying at an accommodation nearby. Cerro Verde National Park is best visited during the dry season from November to April.

Driving Directions:

  • From El Salvador International Airport, it will take you 1 hour and 55 minutes to reach the national park.
  • Head west toward Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Continue on Autopista Comalapa. Take CA-8 to RN 10S in Sonsonate.
  • Sharp right onto Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Keep right to continue on Autopista Comalapa.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Turn left at Kathy Nails to stay on Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Monseñor Romero/RN-29.
  • Exit onto Carr. Panamericana/km 17,Carretera a Sta Ana.
  • Take the ramp to CA-8.
  • Keep left to continue on CA-8.
  • Follow RN 10S to Carr al cerro verde in Santa Ana.

If you think your shipment gets delayed, you can reach customer service through email and chat apart from the contact number. That’s why upon application for an International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, your address must be accurate. Your International Driver’s Permit for El Salvador zip code must coincide with your address as well. With the delay of your International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, your itinerary should be updated as well.

It is best to get an International Driving Permit in El Salvador ahead of time. So days before you fly out, you already have all the documents you need, such as your driver’s license, passport, visa, International Driver’s Permit in El Salvador, and itinerary for your road trip exploration in the country. Exploring El Salvador with all the necessary documents with you will prevent any complications.

Lake Coatepeque

The lake is also called “Caldera Coatepeque,” which sits at the heart of a volcanic crater. With about 16 kilometers in diameter, it is one of the largest lakes in El Salvador. A series of volcanic eruptions and collapses created this lake 72,000 years ago. You can get up close to the lake’s clear blue waters by taking a kayak or boat. The lake is a popular getaway for Salvadorans and tourists alike during the weekend. You can best visit the lake during the dry season in the country.

Driving Directions:

  • If you are staying in Santa Ana, you can drive for nineteen minutes to reach your destination.
  • Take Av. Independencia and Bulevar Los 44 to Carr. Panamericana.
  • Head southwest toward 6a Avenida Sur.
  • Continue onto 6a Avenida Sur.
  • Turn right onto Av. Independencia.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Los 44.
  • At the roundabout, take the 4th exit and stay on Bulevar Los 44.
  • Continue straight.
  • Follow Carr. Panamericana to Avenida Teniente Ricando Mancía in El Congo. Exit from Carr. Panamericana.
  • Continue on Avenida Teniente Ricardo Mancía. Drive to SAN01S.
  • Turn right at Merendero El Trébol onto Avenida Teniente Ricardo Mancía.
  • Continue onto SAN01S.

The cost of your IDP will depend on how long you want to be valid. If you wish to check out how much it will cost for your International Driver’s License in El Salvador, the website has a pricing tab. You will see the cost of an International Driver’s License in El Salvador, the number of years you want it valid, and other inclusions. Securing an International Driver’s License in El Salvador online will be worth your money since it is also valid in other countries.

After using your International Driver’s License in El Salvador, a number of countries outside the country accept this document. It is valid to over 150 countries worldwide, so getting one will be worth your money. However, it can’t stand alone. This means you still need your driver’s license and your International Driver’s License in El Salvador as requirements to drive a car internationally.

Tazumal Ruins

Tazumal is an archeological site within Chalchuapa City. Here, the Mayan ruins are one of the most impressive in El Salvador, with its first settlement dating back to 5000 BC and then abandoned around 1200 AD. As you visit the site, clusters of unusual step pyramids will welcome you.

Excavations here started during the 1940s to the 1950s, and those excavated artifacts are placed in a museum at the site. The museum is also a spectacular visit as it displays incense burners, pottery, and statues. The site is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 AM to 4 PM and closed on Mondays.

Driving Directions:

  • The Tazumal Ruins is only 22 minutes away from Santa Ana via car.
  • Take 31 Calle Pte to CA 12S.
  • Head northeast toward Acceso Norte Metrocentro.
  • At Helados Sarita, continue onto Acceso Norte Metrocentro.
  • Turn left at St Jack's onto 6a Avenida Sur.
  • Turn left at Autoservicio Torres onto 31 Calle Pte.
  • Take RN-13 to Doble Via in Chalchuapa.
  • Continue on Doble Via to your destination.

If you lost your International Driver’s License in the El Salvador location, you could first check with authorities or the locals if they have seen your document. If not, you can apply for a replacement of your International Driver’s License in El Salvador online. To replace your International Driver’s License in El Salvador, requirements like your IDP number and full name should be provided.

Replacement is free; the only cost you will pay is the shipment of your document’s physical copy. After the successful replacement, your shipment will be made within 24 hours. Remember to update your International Driver’s License in El Salvador address. It might be a different one from the first time you applied. You need to ship your International Driver’s License to an El Salvador location and not to the place in your home country.

Joya de Ceren Archeological Site

The well-preserved Mayan village was not discovered until 1976. The pre-Hispanic community was buried by volcanic ash after the Laguna Caldera Volcano eruption in 640 AD. The site located in the La Libertad Department provides a glimpse of the Central American populations’ daily lives who lived and worked the land at that time.

The wet ash from the volcano ensured the preservation of much of the plant material. Archeologists discovered here the manioc fields, which is the first time manioc cultivation had been found at a New World archeological site. This is a must-visit for visitors in the country. And who would not want to take a look at a UNESCO World Heritage Site? Joya de Ceren is open every day, so you can just visit anytime you want.

Driving Directions:

  • It is a 41-minute car ride from Santa Ana to Joya de Ceren Archeological Site.
  • Take Av. Independencia and Bulevar Los 44 to Carr. Panamericana.
  • Head southwest toward 6a Avenida Sur.
  • Continue onto 6a Avenida Sur.
  • Turn right onto Av. Independencia.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Los 44.
  • At the roundabout, take the 4th exit and stay on Bulevar Los 44.
  • Continue straight.
  • Follow Carr. Panamericana and Carretera Panamericana to Av Francisco Gavidia in Sitio del Niño.
  • Drive to Carr San Juan Opico - Agua Escondida.

Ensure everything before submitting a replacement request for an International Driver’s License in El Salvador, including the zip code of your current location. While waiting for your document to arrive, you have with you the digital copy of your document. You can read your International Driver’s License in El Salvador or download it to your mobile phone. However, you can not use it as a substitute for the physical copy of your document.

If you want to get updates on the replacement of your International Driver’s License in El Salvador, the website on its homepage has more ways for you to choose from. You can directly call them to track your International Driver’s License in El Salvador via a telephone number on the website. If you prefer well-documented updates on your International Driver’s License in El Salvador, an email address would be best to use.

Playa El Tunco

Playa El Tunco is a two-street beach town that is more popular with backpackers and surfers. With El Salvador’s location near the Pacific Ocean, you can expect beaches here to have good waves. Consistent waves here are mostly found during the wet season between May and October, followed by March and April. Besides surfing, tourists can spend beach caving, beach hopping, and eating authentic pupusa, El Salvador’s popular delicacy.

Driving Directions:

  • Playa El Tunco is about an hour away from El Salvador International Airport.
  • Head west toward Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Drive from CA-2 to La Libertad.
  • Sharp right onto Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Sharp left onto CA-2.
  • Turn right at the playground to stay on CA-2.
  • Keep right.
  • Turn right onto CA-2.
  • Drive to your destination.

To renew your International Driver’s License, you just have to follow the same steps you did the first time you applied. It is essential to note on your International Driver’s License after El Salvador, the address where you want it to be shipped might be different from your previous applications. Your International Driver’s License after El Salvador zipcode must be the same as your shipping address.

After your application, you will still receive a digital copy of your International Driver’s License after El Salvador to the email address you provided on your application. Once you receive the digital copy of the International Driver’s License after El Salvador, download it to your phone or computer in PDF form. It can come in handy while waiting for the physical copy of your document.

Rutas de las Flores

Experience a road trip through some of the beautiful villages in El Salvador with Rutas de las Flores. This activity is named after the wildflowers growing along the road wish are best viewed from November to February. The route starts at Sonsonate to Juaya, Ataco, Apnea, and Ahuachapan for around 40 kilometers.

You will get to know each city and town through the Spanish colonial buildings, local food, weekend markets, and picturesque views along the trail. It will be very convenient for you to use your car as you drive from one town to another city, passing through colorful and vibrant wildflowers. You can make stops and see waterfalls, churches, coffee plantations, and colorful murals.

Driving Directions:

  • You can drive from El Salvador International Airport to Sonsonate for 1 hour and 39 minutes. Sonsonate will be your starting point for Rutas de las Flores.
  • Head west toward Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Continue on Autopista Comalapa. Take CA-8 to Bulevar Vidri in Sonsonate.
  • Sharp right onto Autopista Comalapa/RN-5.
  • Keep right to continue on Autopista Comalapa.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Turn left at Kathy Nails to stay on Bulevar Los Proceres.
  • Continue onto Bulevar Monseñor Romero/RN-29.
  • Exit onto Carr. Panamericana/km 17,Carretera a Sta Ana.
  • Take the ramp to CA-8.
  • Keep left to continue on CA-8.
  • Drive to Bulevar Vidri.
  • Slight right at Comedor Divina Providencia onto Bulevar Vidri.
  • Keep left to stay in Bulevar Vidri.

Most Important Driving Rules

Once you gathered all the exciting destinations in El Salvador and polished your itinerary, don’t forget to consider some essential things. Since you are driving in El Salvador, you should familiarize the essential driving rules to prevent any unfortunate incidents on the road like accidents or getting fined by authorities for not following traffic laws. Here are some basic and essential rules you have to keep in mind.

Basic Traffic Rules

Remember to drive on the right-hand side of the road and overtake on the left. This may be a challenge for some tourists coming from left-hand side driving countries, but you will get used to it as you journey through Salvadoran roads. Make sure to stay on your lane no matter how wide and quiet the streets can be.

Always Bring With you your IDP.

Your IDP is not replacing your driver’s license; instead, it translates the native language printed on your license. Authorities and car rental companies might ask for your IDP to avoid any complications when in El Salvador and have your IDP with you all the time. The application for an IDP is straightforward. In the online form to start your application for an International Driver’s License in El Salvador, a telephone number, name, and address must be encoded.

It will take days or weeks to have the physical copy of your IDP. You can keep track of your International Driver’s License in El Salvador via a contact number on the website. This is also to ensure that you are on schedule for your international trip. If tracking your International Driver’s License in El Salvador with a contact number is not feasible, you can have an email or chat.

Always Carry the Required Documents.

Besides your IDP, ensure that your driver’s license, passport, and visa are up to date before traveling. Bringing expired licenses to El Salvador also means visiting the country illegally, and you never want that to happen on an international trip. While on the road, you can expect frequent police checks, and they will ask for your travel documents. Failure to present them awaits penalties and more questioning from the police.

Don’t Drive Under the Influence.

There is a minimal blood alcohol limit for El Salvador drivers at 0.05%, but it is still best not to gamble on driving after drinking some alcohol. If you drive irregularly on the road because of alcohol influence, authorities will stop you and do the necessary tests. Once proven, the possibility of fines and license confiscation await you. Worse, you can have yourself harmed in accidents because of drunk driving.

Obey the Speed Limit Rule.

Overspeeding is one of the causes of road accidents and road deaths in El Salvador, so unless you want to jeopardize your vacation, always follow the speed limits. Authorities in El Salvador impose the same speed limit of 90kph on motorways and rural roads. Meanwhile, for cities and other urban areas, maintain your car speed at 50kph.

Don’t use your Mobile Phone While Driving.

You might want to use your phone to answer urgent matters; you can do so by using a hands-free system. Undivided attention while driving on a foreign road is very much required to avoid collisions and hitting pedestrians. If you need to answer some messages, you can opt to park your car somewhere safe and navigate your phone.

Wear your Seatbelts while on the road.

You may be very complacent as you will only drive to short-distance destinations in El Salvador, wearing seatbelts will be of minimal importance. However, no matter the distance of your trip, remember to use seatbelts, not just for you but also for the passengers inside a moving vehicle. You might not get caught by authorities but, you never know when accidents will happen. So it is best to be ready and alert.

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