To go from Santa Ana to Copán Ruínas in Honduras the quickest way is to go through Guatemala and if you are using public transportation it will include changes between several buses.
In the morning I went to the corner of Avenida F Moraga Sur and 13a Calle Pte in Santa Ana and there I waited 10 minutes for the next bus to Metapán. The ticket was 0.90 dollars (July 2009) and it took almost 1.5 hours because after half an hour a tyre exploded. We continued for another 15 minutes with an unbearable loud sound coming from the tyre. Then the bus company luckily had sent out another bus to meet us. When we reached the bus terminal in Metapán a bus was just leaving for the border. That bus was 0.55 dollars and took half an hour.
I walked over the border and got my passports stamped. On the Guatemalan side I was told to wait by the road. There were no one else waiting, but only lots of lorries. After some time waiting a bus to Chiquimula arrived though. It was 15 quetzales and took 2 hours. In Chiquimula the bus stopped at the market and I asked for the direction of the buses to El Florido. On the next bus the man told me it was 30 quetzales to El Florido. I didn’t believe it as I had just paid 15 quetzales for a longer ride. The man then changed his mind to 25 quetzales, which I still thought was too much, but he said that was the correct price. It turned out the bus was only going half way to El Florido and I had to change bus after 50 minutes). Money were handed over to a guy (not on the bus). I asked on the new bus for the price and they said they charged 16 quetzales, not 25. (Coming back from Honduras I was charged 25 quetzales again so I don’t know if that was the correct price or a price tourists are charged).
On the border to Honduras I had expected there to be some militaries as all borders had been closed a few days earlier because of the political situation in Honduras. There were no militaries at the border, there was not even anyone at the immigration office, so I had to ask for someone to come. The departure tax from Guatemala was 25 lempiras and for entering Honduras I paid 3 dollars(June 2009). When I was ready a minibus was leaving for Copán. It was 20 lempiras and it took about 20 minutes. In Copán the minibus stops near Parque Central and when I arrived it was afternoon.
After visiting Vulcán Santa Ana , I, Denise from France and a couple from El Salvador, had something to eat at the cafeteria while we were waiting for the bus. When we had finished our meals the bus had not jet arrived and there seemed to be quite some time left before it was coming. After a while we saw that a pickup was leaving so we asked for a lift. It was going to Sonsonate, to where the couple from El Salvador were going. I and Denise who were going to Santa Ana asked to be dropped at the main road to El Congo. As we sat in the back of the pickup the El Salvadorian couple said it might be better for us to continue a bit further with them, to the main road between Sonsonate and Santa Ana as it was more traffic there. Well, the pickup stopped were we first had asked to be dropped so we went off there. It was very deserted on the road and we started to walk towards El Congo. We met a some men with machete and two trucks passed us. We walked on until a viewpoint and there we saw a pickup coming our way. We were happy that it stopped and we got a lift to the entrance of El Congo. We had hitchhiked 22 km, but in El Congo we took a bus to Santa Ana. It was 0.30 dollars (June 2009).
By hitchhiking we came back to Santa Ana more than an hour earlier than if we had taken the bus all the way. If I had been alone I would not have hitchhiked and even if it is a nice feeling sitting in the back of a pickup with the wind in your hair it is awful to think of what can happen if the car have to break very fast.
There are direct buses from Santa Ana to Cerro Verde National Park, but they are not frequent and it is important that you don’t leave Santa Ana too late to be able to join the guided hikes up one of the volcanoes. The bus to Cerro Verde leaves from La Vencedora bus terminal, in the corner of Av F Moraga Sur with 11a Calle Pte.
Denis from France, who was also staying at Casa Frolaz, was going to Cerro Verde the same day as me so we went together. As we walked passed the market we bought bread and fruits and in a small cafeteria opposite the terminal we bought coffee (they also served breakfast). In the terminal there is a small snack stall but they didn’t have coffee.
We bought tickets at the ticket counter and the fare was 0.90 dollars (June 2009). The bus (an old converted American school bus as everywhere else in El Salvador) left around 8 o’clock. It took almost 2 hours to Cerro Verde. At the National Park the bus dropped us at the entrance to the park before it continued up to the parking lot where it turned and drove down to the main road again.
In Juayúa the buses for Santa Ana leaves in the corner of Calle Mercedes Pte and 5a Av Sur, just one block down from Hotel Anáhuac. I took the 9 o’clock bus, the next one doesn’t leave until 12 o’clock. The 9 o’clock bus left almost 20 minutes late, it took one hour to Santa Ana and it was 0.80 dollars (June 2009).
When we came out on the highway the driver drove very fast. After a curve there was construction work on the road and a stop in traffic on our side. The driver didn’t have time to break but turned the bus over to the opposite drive way. Luckily the meeting cars could break and go to the side in time. Well, on most of the bus journeys I took in El Salvador the driver was driving slower and more safer than this one.
In Santa Ana the bus stopped in the corner of 17 Calle Pte and Avenida Fray Felipe. I would have been closer for me to walk to Casa Frolaz if I had left the bus at Calle 25, but it was still walking distance.