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El Cuco

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El Cuco is a quintessential beach with dark sands, lined with vendor huts, seafood restaurants and shaggy palms in El Salvador.

Other destinations[edit]


Get in[edit]

The Pan-American highway travels through El Salvador and is a safe route for entering the country and traveling between San Miguel in the East and San Salvador in the West

From San Miguel bus terminal, look for the signs of bus destinations and find El Cuco (April 2016: as you enter the station, buses to El Cuco are to the right). Buses leave regularly and take 2 hours. Cost is $1. You can also get a $30 taxi, or some hotels offer a shuttle service from San Miguel to Playa El Esteron via El Cuco. Note: if you arrive in San Miguel from any of the long-distance bus services, you will be dropped off somewhere else in the city and need to take a bus to "Terminal," which costs 20 cents US$. Many buses are going that direction, so just ask.

There are shuttles from El Tunco, San Salvador and Léon in Nicaragua ($45). There is also an extremely expensive boat from Potosí in Nicaragua to La Union ($75) from where you can take a short chicken bus or taxi to El Cuco.

From El Tunco/La Libertad you can take chicken buses, either down the coast via Usulutan or back via San Salvador and San Miguel.

It's important to note that there are NO supermarkets or ATMs within 30km of El Cuco. You should plan to take all cash and groceries you will need for your stay. There is a small market selling essentials, but anything else will require driving, taking the bus, or hiring a taxi to San Miguel for using the ATM or going to the supermarket. A shared taxi will cost $30-40 for the round-trip run. The fancier resorts do accept credit cards, though.

Get around[edit]

In Playa El Esteron you can find hotels that offer a shuttle service between Intipuca Beach, Playa Las Flores and El Cuco or alternatively you can take a cheap taxi between the neighboring beaches.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Playa El Esteron is next to El Cuco and is regarded as one of the most beautiful beaches in all of El salvador
  • Playa Las Flores is next to El Cuco and is regarded as one of the best surf spots in all of El salvador
  • Intipuca Beach is next to Playa El Esteron and is famous for El Salvador's first microbrewery and where the river joins the ocean is hugely popular for stand up paddleboarding.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Water skiing, Tubing, Wake boarding, Para sailing, Jet skiing
Playa Las Flores, San Miguel - One of the best surf spots In El Salvador
  • Surfing in Playa Las Flores, one of the best surf spots in El Salvador - board rental is about $10/day
  • Stand Up Paddleboarding at the famous Intipuca Beach - 4 boards for hire ($5/hour or $15/day), be sure not to take the air-filled board which is almost unusable
  • Boat trips around the islands
  • Kayaking through the mangroves
  • Volcano hiking up Chaparrastique - One of the most active volcanoes in El Salvador
  • Waterfalls and hot springs
  • Nature hikes and lake tours to Isla de Olomega on Lake Olomega

Eat[edit][add listing]

Many restaurants in town with fresh seafood, and another on Playa Intipuca near the rivermouth.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Intipuca Beach is home to the first microbrewery in El Salvador and offers an array of hand-craft beers by the beach. You can also find several bars and liquor stores in El Cuco or for party-nightlife you can head to Ave. Roosevelt in San Miguel which has numerous bars and clubs open until the early hours of the morning and is also hosts to the biggest carnival in Central America in November.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

La Tortuga Verde Hostel & Resort - Intipuca Beach / Playa El Esteron [1]

see San Miguel

Stay safe[edit]

Get out[edit]

  • There are regular buses that leave El Cuco for San Miguel bus station where you can catch a connecting bus to many other destinations inside or outside the country.
  • Some hotels offer a very expensive shuttle service to San Miguel or other destinations inside/outside the country - León, Nicaragua is a ridiculous $50.
  • La Tortuga Verde offers transport between El Salvador and Nicaragua (skipping Honduras) by private boat $200 for up to 20 people (as of November 2014 the cost is a rip-off $75 per person and don't count on arriving in Potosí Nicaragua in time to catch the last chicken bus).
  • To get to Nicaragua you can also take public transport (much, much cheaper than shuttles or the boat) - take a chicken bus towards San Miguel and get out at the main roundabout before the city. Change to bus 330 to the border at Amatillo, walk across, then take a direct minivan across Honduras to Guasaule (or a chicken bus to Choluteca and another bus to Guasaule). Walk a few hundred metres past the border, then take a bus to León, or a bus to Chinandega where you can change.
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