San Salvador - Post Report Question and Answers

What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Bring anything that will fit in a compact parking space. If you’re super outdoorsy maybe consider bringing a 4WD, but we haven’t needed it. We have a Toyota Rav4 and it’s been just fine. - Feb 2022

Roads are generally excellent here. An SUV always makes it easier to drive in traffic. We have an SUV and used it off road in Guatemala and once when we went to hike a volcano. I wouldn't take a convertible (though someone at post has one) or a Mini Cooper-like car, although there are quite a few on the road. While there are some aggressive drivers, it is nothing compared to the DR or places like that. - Aug 2021

Folks have SUVs, small cars, trucks etc. It's a mixed bag w/ no reports (that I've heard) of carjacking. I have heard of a couple of tires being stolen off the back of SUVs. - Jun 2018

Definitely bring a 4x4 if you expect to travel. Some of our favorite places in this country are only accessible by four wheel drive. - Mar 2018

I would not bring a brand new car here. It’s inevitable you will get into an accident, or someone will scratch up/dent your car. People bring all kinds of cars here, but according to our mechanic, it’s easiest to get Toyota parts locally. I think having 4x4 is helpful during rainy season, and also for driving up the volcano, or taking a road trip to the beach. - Jan 2018

High clearance vehicle. The roads are OK in El Salvador but in bad shape in Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala. - Nov 2017

Anything works, but it's a hilly country so make sure your car can do hills/mountains! - Jul 2016

The roads in El Salvador are the best in Central America by far. You really could get by with anything, no need for a massive SUV or 4-Wheel Drive. The biggest annoyance are the speed bumps, higher clearance is best if you can. Most major international car brands are here, and service is easy to get and cheap. Prepare to become an aggressive driver. - Dec 2015

We like our SUV for the clearance. But the roads/highways are pretty great here. Plan to be in your car a lot- it is not really a walkable place (crime and layout) and so unfortunately we have to drive everywhere. Which is a bummer. - Jun 2015

Nearly everyone has an SUV, though for trips in country just about any car will be sufficient. - Mar 2015

Any vehicle is good, though some prefer a 4x4 for going out of town. Most people had Toyota Corollas. - Oct 2014

Any car. - Jul 2014

4x4s (Landcruisers, Monteros, Troopers) are plentiful. - Apr 2012

You really need to bring an SUV.It is amazing just how quickly you find yourself needing one even if you primarily stay in-town. - Jul 2011

Dear God, don't bring a Volkswagen! Any parts you might need have to be shipped from Guatemala at best, Germany at worst, or might not be available. The VW repair shop attached to the dealership is staffed with cheerful incompetents. While there are lots of capable mechanics, newer, computer-run cars are not the country's specialty. Bring a 10-year-old American-made SUV and you should be golden. Don't bring anything that needs special tires, oil filters, fluids, maintenance. Bring or buy a beater that you don't mind having the hubcaps, emblems, antennas, and spare tires stolen from. - May 2010

Just about everything can be serviced here. A lot of Salvadorans bring down used cars from the US and sell them on the local market, so you see everything: Honda, Toyota, Ford, Dodge, Hyundai, Mazda, etc. Some of the Japanese brands may be easier to service than American brands, but I can't say for sure. An SUV is not necessary - roads throughout the country are fine. However, this country is speed bump crazy and some of the speed bumps are out-of-control big - so a sedan may hit bottom once or twice in some neighborhoods. It isn't a big enough deal to spend the extra money on an SUV if you're thinking about which way to go with a car purchase. - Feb 2009

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