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San Salvador Airport Layover Questions

San Salvador Airport Layover Questions

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Old May 20, 19, 11:28 pm
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San Salvador Airport Layover Questions

Let's say I have flights on Avianca from the US to SAL with a 3 hour connection and then head to Colombia. I have a checked bag and a carry on.
Is it my understanding that I will not have to claim my checked bag and it will simply go to the next international flight? Also, assuming I don't need to claim my checked bag can I exit the airport with just my carry on? I understand at that time I will need to pass immigration and customs. I basically would show them my boarding pass for the next flight and tell them I am stepping outside to get acquainted with the airport in the meantime. Has anyone done something like this at this specific airport?
I did this at the Tocumen airport in Panama City without any problems. Just wondering about SAL as I've never been there.
I thank you for your input.
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Old May 21, 19, 6:36 am
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I believe a brief exit from the airport is possible. But SAL is quite isolated, I'd say there are even less things to do or see than PTY. You might have to buy a visa, I think it's $10, maybe $20. I've never experienced much of a line either at exit or entry immigration.

I am not certain about the checked bags, but given the gate-to-gate style of the airport, I assume they'll be forwarded without your interaction.
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Old May 21, 19, 7:44 am
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Your checked bag should automatically go to your next flight without you having to claim it. If you exit the boarding area, you will have to pay $10 for a tourist card since you officially enter El Salvador. But I agree with YadiMolina. There's nothing to see, and the airport is a long way from anywhere. I have a feeling you'll get outside and ask yourself "Why did I do this?" and will head right back inside through exit controls and security.

Last edited by SJOGuy; May 21, 19 at 11:40 am
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Old May 21, 19, 9:11 am
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There is also nothing to see landside in the airport terminal . Stay airside and chill out with a beer....
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Old May 21, 19, 4:48 pm
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Thank you gentlemen! This is exactly what I was expecting. Yes I will chill with a beer and/or Long Island teas. I donít mind paying the $10 or $20 visa as well. As far as why would I step out of the airport, Well i actually have to give a package to somebody and that person can drive from the city all the way to the airport as it is very important for him to receive. It sure beats paying the postage from the United States. 😃
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Old May 21, 19, 7:53 pm
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Oh, well if that's what you need to do, then so be it.
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Old May 25, 19, 8:23 pm
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Not everybody needs to pay the $10 fee to enter El Salvador. US citizens do.
Once you exit customs area it is hot and humid, crowded and noisy with no place to "hide".
The airport is laid out in a long line of gates and there may be some walking involved.
Not too many places to eat or drink and I have not seen anything special.
I do like to browse the duty free shopping and there are places that sell some of the local candy (mostly sweet, creamy and sugary)

Last edited by keisari; Jun 2, 19 at 8:48 pm Reason: grammar
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Old May 28, 19, 8:27 pm
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Old May 28, 19, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by dfwtexasusa View Post
Let's say I have flights on Avianca from the US to SAL with a 3 hour connection and then head to Colombia. I have a checked bag and a carry on.
Is it my understanding that I will not have to claim my checked bag and it will simply go to the next international flight? Also, assuming I don't need to claim my checked bag can I exit the airport with just my carry on? I understand at that time I will need to pass immigration and customs. I basically would show them my boarding pass for the next flight and tell them I am stepping outside to get acquainted with the airport in the meantime. Has anyone done something like this at this specific airport?
I did this at the Tocumen airport in Panama City without any problems. Just wondering about SAL as I've never been there.
I thank you for your input.
Do not claim bag.
No point literally in exiting. It is not near the city. There's nothing out there to see. It must be 30 km from San Salvador.

The only place nearby is quite a good Quality Inn which is a $5 taxi ride away. Good for overnight connections which I used to do a lot.

You have to clear immigration, buy a tourist card, clear customs for what? Then back through security and passport control. For 3 hours (of which you will need 90 minutes for all this faffing about) they might think you are a bit nutty TBH.
And not a country you want attention from the authorities. It is a big drug transit problem location for starters (the US has a US Navy anti narcotrafficking aircraft stationed at SAL) and they might question why you want to step out to nowhere for half an hour with a suitcase.

Edit: to leave and deliver a package to someone. I would not tell immigration or customs that. In transit to Colombia no less.
If it's that important then have him buy a ticket, check in and meet you inside the terminal. He can leave and get a refund later.

I had their currency sniffing dog stop me due to having coins (not even bills) from Trinidad in my rollaboard. (Sidebar: they agreed, upon reflecting on it, training dogs to sniff coins might be going too far vs. just bills). I can imagine, Hi, I am going to Bogota but I want to step out to an absolutely boring place, and deliver a package to someone for 15 minutes, that's not suspicious it it guys?

Maybe tell them you collect entry stamps from other countries and it's worth the $10. Also be aware about English - if you do not speak Spanish is really hit and miss in SAL with immigration, customs and coin sniffing dog handlers being quite poor in the English speaking department. Nothing like SJO , and very much like MGA.

Last edited by ricktoronto; May 28, 19 at 8:39 pm
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Old Jul 9, 19, 6:18 am
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Hello! It is true
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