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Driving in Santa Tecla

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Santa Tecla.
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1. Understanding the Driving Culture

Driving in Santa Tecla, like many parts of El Salvador, can be a bit chaotic for those not used to it. Traffic rules are often not strictly enforced, and local drivers can be aggressive. It’s important to stay alert and be prepared for unexpected maneuvers from other drivers.

2. Car Recommendation

It’s recommended to have a car that’s sturdy and reliable. A 4×4 vehicle is ideal if you plan to explore rural areas or travel during the rainy season when roads can become muddy and difficult to navigate. However, for city driving, a compact car is often more practical due to narrow streets and limited parking.

3. Parking Situation

Finding parking in Santa Tecla can be challenging, especially during peak hours. Most of the parking is on-street, and it’s not uncommon to have to park a distance away from your destination. Parking fees vary, but are generally not expensive. Always ensure to park in a safe area and do not leave valuables in your car.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in El Salvador with an international driving permit for up to 90 days. After this period, you will need to obtain a local driver’s license.

5. Obtaining a Local Driver’s License

To get a local driver’s license in El Salvador, you will need to pass a written test and a practical driving test. The process can be lengthy and may require a good understanding of Spanish. It’s recommended to hire a local driving school to help you prepare for the tests and navigate the process.

6. Road Conditions

Road conditions in Santa Tecla and throughout El Salvador can vary. In the city, roads are generally in good condition, but potholes and other hazards are not uncommon. In rural areas, roads can be unpaved and difficult to navigate, especially in the rainy season.

7. Safety Precautions

While Santa Tecla is generally safe, it’s important to take precautions when driving. Avoid driving at night if possible, always lock your doors while driving, and be aware of your surroundings. It’s also recommended to keep a low profile and avoid displaying signs of wealth.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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