El Salvador in detail

Money and Costs


US dollar (US$)


Bargaining is less common here than it is in other Central American countries. A little back-and-forth is common with taxi drivers and market shopkeepers, but hard bargaining can seem a bit rude.

Daily Costs

Budget: Less than US$30

  • Dorm bed: US$7–10
  • Bottle of beer: US$1.50
  • Three-hour bus ride: US$1.50
  • Bean-and-cheese pupusa: US$0.25
  • Surfboard rental per day: US$15

Midrange: US$40–80

  • Room with double bed: US$20–60
  • Lunch for two in a restaurant: US$12–20
  • Short taxi ride: US$5–10
  • Half-day tour: US$40–50

Top End: More than US$200

  • Luxury hotel room: US$80–120
  • Day tour per person: US$80–100
  • Car rental per day: US$30
  • Fine dining for two: US$50–70


El Salvador's official currency is the US dollar. ATMs are plentiful, and credit cards, particularly Visa, are widely accepted.


ATMs are found in most cities and towns. Banco Agrícola, Scotiabank and Banco Cuscatlán have the largest networks of ATMs. Visa and MasterCard cards generally work well, but try more than one machine should your initial attempt fail. Look for safer locking cabins when withdrawing money, and avoid taking out cash at night.


  • Restaurants Tip 10%
  • Taxis It is not customary to tip taxi drivers, though rounding up the amount is appreciated


On January 2001, El Salvador adopted the US dollar as its official currency, replacing the colón. Bring some US dollars with you, preferably in US$20 bills and smaller. The border crossings have money changers.

Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted, though many establishments add a surcharge. Visa and MasterCard are more common than American Express.

Exchange Rates

Euro zone€1US$1.17
New ZealandNZ$1US$0.67

For current exchange rates, see www.xe.com.