So, has anyone been to El Salvador International Airport (SAL)?

In January, I will be doing a bit of traveling. My wife, son, and in-laws will be departing Galveston, Texas, on the Carnival Magic for a Caribbean Cruise. Because of work, I cannot get away until Tuesday evening. So, I will be joining the ship on Wednesday as it makes its port-of-call in Roatan, Honduras.

I have found transportation from Austin to Roatan, but it involves a layover in San Salvador. The first leg of the trip takes me to Los Angeles (in the wrong direction!), then a red-eye from LAX to SAL. I will then have seven hours to kill in San Salvador.

What might this be like? I would be arriving at 7:25AM, so the airport should be coming alive around then. I depart at 2:30PM. Looking at various websites, the airport looks to be fairly substantial, though not as big as LAX or even Austin. Am I likely to find a place to sit and rest? Would I be able to find a bite to eat while I am there? Will my credit cards work, or will I need to find some El Salvador money before I go? If I fall asleep while waiting in the terminal, will I be reasonably safe, or can terrible things happen?

I have a valid US passport, so there’s no problem there. I have no plans to ever leave the airport until my flight to Roatan (RTB) departs. What sort of paperwork might I need for El Salvador immigration? I will be able to show my passport and my ticket for RTB, so will that be enough?

I had this same problem with a cruise this year. (My wife’s family insists on going on these trips during the school year, which poses a problem for me, but that’s a whole 'nother discussion.) This recent cruise, however, stopped in Freeport, Bahamas. Getting to Freeport was no problem at all. I had an overnight connection in Ft. Lauderdale, but I just went to a nearby hotel and slept. Bahamas is very nearby, the locals speak English, and they were happy to receive my American money. El Salvador and Honduras worries me a bit more.

The only hitch I had in my trip to Freeport was that the gate agent at Bahamasair would not let me board without purchasing a return ticket. Even though I explained that I would be joining a cruise ship, he insisted that I purchase a ticket. So, I bought the ticket and had it refunded when I returned home. The airline guy said that Bahamas immigration would ask to see my return ticket. When I arrived in Freeport, immigration did ask how long I would be staying and my plans for leaving. I told the lady, honestly, that I was joining a cruise ship. She was satisfied and waved me on my way. Will Honduras be as understanding?

In a related question, anyone familiar with TACA and LACSA (LINEAS AEREAS COSTARRICENSES) airlines?

I passed through the San Salvador airport a couple of times several years ago. It’s a perfectly normal airport.

Yes, there are several gate areas with seating.

There were a number of restaurants, including several international or regional chains.

El Salvador does not have its own currency. Since 2001, it’s used the US dollar for all transactions. You can bring cash. While I didn’t use an ATM while I was there, I would expect there are some available. Restaurants are likely to take major credit cards.

No, you won’t be abducted by Sandinistas. :wink: There will be lots of people around during the time you will be there. You will be as safe as in most other airports.

You’re in transit, so yeah. I had no problems when I was in transit. If you’re not going to leave the airport, you wouldn’t even need to go through immigration.

Is your ticketing all on one airline? I wouldn’t think you would have a problem if you already have your tickets, and can show your cruise ship booking.

Incidentally, English is spoken in Roatan, so I wouldn’t anticipate you would have a problem once you arrive.

I’ve taken them. They’re generally OK.