The Carretera del Litoral (Hwy CA2) runs from San Salvador southeast through Zacatecoluca and Usulután, eventually coming to a crossroads with routes heading north to San Miguel and south to the Pacific coast.
The first town of any size southeast of San Salvador is Zacatecoluca (57km), near turicentro Ichanmichen. From there, the Litoral is a well-marked four-lane highway with shoulders, until you get to the Río Lempa. Beyond the bridge, the road narrows but maintains decent shape. Another 27km to the east is the departmental capital of Usulután.
The highway then skirts a rugged range to the south. The turnoff for one of El Salvador’s best beaches, Playa El Espino, is just past El Tránsito, 10km east of Usulután. The newly paved road has cut the trip to 20 minutes. Further east, Laguna El Jocotal is an important migratory bird sanctuary, sadly littered with trash. Your best bet is to tour the lagoon via canoe with a local.
The road then winds up into lava hills until the roundabout at El Delirio. From there, it’s a straight shot north to San Miguel or south to Playa El Cuco and the eastern beaches.