Valle Nuevo Guatemala to Las Chinamas El Salvador Border Crossing

Valle Nuevo to Las Chinamas Border Crossing

In El Salvador, Guatemala, Transportation & Border Crossings by Erik @ DIY Travel HQ6 Comments

The border crossing between Guatemala & El Salvador from from Valle Nuevo to Las Chinamas is easy – find out how to get from Antigua to Ahuachapan for the Ruta de las Flores.

Antigua to Valle Nuevo Via ‘Chicken’ Bus

If you are heading from Antigua to Ahuachapan for the Ruta de las Flores, then one of two border crossings is from Valle Nuevo, Guatemala to Las Chinamas, El Salvador.

This is the more direct way, but involves a confusing ‘chicken’ bus transfer in disorganized Guatemala City.

DIY Travel HQ clarifies the bus exchange to make this border crossing faster, cheaper, and easier.

Huehuetenango to Todos Santos Cuchumatan Chicken Bus Driver Erik

All aboard! Next stop Valle Nuevo and El Salvador.

From Antigua, take a ‘chicken’ bus from the terminal to Guatemala City (Q10 / $1.35, 60-90 minutes), and ask to get off at the end of Calzada Roosevelt before the bus turns towards the terminal in Zone 3.

It is roughly the same distance from both locations – 3.5 km, but you have more bargaining power along the highway than at the remote bus terminal.

Antigua Chicken Bus Terminal to Guatemala City

Antigua to Guatemala City ‘chicken’ buses depart on the main road just south of the main terminal.

Clarify with the bus driver that you want to go to the bus terminal for Valle Nuevo on the Frontera with El Salvador.

Most drivers will still be confused, so mention Cuilapa since they recognize that name, and the buses to Valle Nuevo are a few blocks away.

In general, you want to get to Torre del Reformador as the bus passes within a few blocks of Guatemala’s Eiffel Tower.

Guatemala City Torre del Reformador

The bus to Valle Nuevo from Guatemala City passes by Torre del Reformador.

We paid Q25 for the taxi between ‘chicken’ buses since we negotiated the fare ourselves.

The bus conductor was more than happy to arrange the fare for us at Q40 / $5.45, but we knew the extra amount would only be lining his wallet.

The driver we selected wanted Q50 / $6.80 compared to our Q20 / $2.75 starting point, and we agreed on Q25 / $3.40 in the end.

Guatemala City Highway

It is a lot easier to bargain on a main road like this, than the isolated bus terminal to Antigua. The white car is a taxi.

The ‘chicken’ bus to Valle Nuevo costs Q30 / $3.89 and takes at least 3 hours.

However, it drops you off right at Guatemala Immigration in Valle Nuevo.

Exchange any leftover Quetzales on the Guatemala side for better exchange rates.

El Salvador uses American dollars, which makes things easy.

We only had $3 worth of Quetzales to exchange, but received a fair commission charge of 3%.

Try to budget your last few days to minimize losses.

Guatemala Border Money Changer

Exchange your Quetzales in Guatemala as they are worth nothing in any other country.

Disregard the sketchy guys asking for your passport outside the Guatemalan Immigration Office, and walk along the right side of the building until you reach the appropriate room.

The attendant at the window will just confirm which direction you are heading, and stamp your passport indicating you have checked out of Guatemala.

There are no fees involved.

Valle Nuevo Guatemala Immigration Office

The ‘chicken’ bus from Guatemala City drops you right at the Valle Nuevo Immigration Office.

The Immigration Officer will also duplicate the stamp on the piece of paper that you need to hand over on the El Salvador side.

After exiting the office, walk down the road past military patrols, and cross the bridge.

We were ecstatic to finally leave after travelling in Guatemala for 90 days.

You are now officially in Las Chinamas once you cross half the bridge span – Welcome to El Salvador!

Border Crossing Bridge Valle Nuevo Guatemala to Las Chinamas El Salvador

After 90 days in Guatemala, we barely looked back as our new adventure was just beginning.

The El Salvador Immigration is even easier as you simply hand in the stamped piece of paper to an Official underneath a portable canopy.

There is no fee here either, and the whole process was very straightforward.

The reduced formalities are due to both countries belonging to the CA-4 – you can read more about extending your CA-4 visa here.

Another option is to do a CA-4 visa run to Mexico.

Las Chinamas El Salvador Immigration Office

We did a border crossing from Mexico to Guatemala the day before and thought Guatemala Immigration was bad. El Salvador has a pop-up canopy for an office!

Walk up the hill for 200 meters to reach a bus parked on the left side of the road heading to Ahuachapan from Las Chinamas ($0.50).

What we enjoyed most were the individual seats, and lack of people on the bus.

You can then head to Tacuba for hiking in Parque Nacional El Imposible or use Ahuachapan or Juayua as a base for Ruta de las Flores.

Las Chinamas to Ahuachapan Border Bus

In total, you walk 500 meters from Guatemala’s Immigration to the bus in Las Chinamas.

Know Before You Go

  • Antigua to Ahuachapan Costs: Q40 / $5.45 for two ‘chicken’ buses, Q25 / $3.40 for Guatemala City taxi, $0.50 for El Salvador bus
  • Valle Nuevo, Guatemala to Las Chinamas, El Salvador Border Crossing: Straightforward, no fees, and 3% fee for exchanging money

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The border crossing from Valle Nuevo, Guatemala to Las Chinamas, El Salvador is extremely painless, except the chicken bus transfer in Guatemala City. Find out how to get from Antigua to Ahuachapan for the Ruta de las Flores. DIY Travel HQ clarifies the bus exchange to make this border crossing faster, cheaper, and easier. The immigration process is very easy since both countries are members of the Central America 4.

***The Final Word – Despite the Guatemala City bus transfer, this is the most direct way to cross between Guatemala and El Salvador.***

What method did you decide to take to go from Guatemala to El Salvador, or vice versa?

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3 Shovels

Accessible DIY travel to more distant locations via multiple connections or longer forms of local transport

Visited in October 2016


  1. Hi,

    We are trying to get from guatemala city airport to Ahuachapan on saturday april 6th. Our flight arrive at 10:20AM.

    Where should we go from the airport to get on the bus to valle nuevo? Should we take a taxi from the airport to the bus stop you are talking about in your post? Or is there another bus stop we could god, closer to the airport?

    Thank you, any advise will help!


    1. My understanding is there is only one bus station for each location. We had a difficult time finding it to begin with, but luckily the taxi driver knew. I would 100% suggest taking a taxi since Guatemala City is chaotic and not the safest, especially if you are unfamiliar with it and carrying your backpack/luggage. Have a great trip!

  2. We have just done the way today. Bus from Guatemala to border was 30Q each. Other prices as written.
    Perfect and easy.
    Both bus terminals in Guatemala are marked in

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