“Knock knock knockin on devil’s gate” – Not Bob Dylan
It was a crazy, spontaneous and inspiring 11 days in the country of El Salvador for me and my backpack recently. I simply couldn’t believe the amount of random things to see and do. While based in San Salvador I found that you can get around even on day trips to some very convenient and different parts of the country. This simple trip out to Puerta del Diablo is a good way to escape the big city buzz of San Salvador for a few hours, a short bus trip there and back from the capital city.
Getting to Puerta del Diablo
I was staying in the excellent Ximena’s Guesthouse in San Salvador and with plenty of information on places like this and the excellent owner Lena on hand, your journey out to Puerta del Diablo is pretty simple. First up from Boulevard de Los Heroes, get a number 30 bus into the historic centre. The cost is 20 cents.
Once in the centre, head to the main square, Plaza Barrios and from here there are 2 options for getting to Puerta del Diablo. While facing to the front of the Palacio Nacional, turn left and walk a few blocks down that street waiting for a bus number 12. The name of the street is Avenida Cuscatlan. Bus number 12 costs 30 cents and takes you all the way up to Puerta del Diablo. However as I stood there looking for the number 12, a local chats to me and tells me of a number 12 minibus which is about to leave and is going to the same place, so I hop on that instead to save time!
Again – 30 cents. Make sure you tell the driver where you are going so he can tell you when to get off. I was the only tourist on my bus out there and I’d imagine you will be too. On the way up we passed a bigger number 12 bus which had broke down, so perhaps it was a moment of fate me getting the minibus!
The bus takes about 45 – 60 minutes to get up there to the mountains and it’s a pretty scenic drive. You’ll see a sign saying Puerta del Diablo 4 kilometres and this is where you want to keep watch for it.
You’ll see a car park area with some market stalls and a sign saying “Puerta del Diablo” and this is the spot to get out. I was the only tourist who got off the bus, and until things change, you probably will be too – this spot for example isn’t mentioned in the Lonely Planet guides, nor do other travellers ever talk about it.
From here there are a few walks and hikes to do and on this day, which was sunny and clear, I did two of the trails.
The walks are not too steep and once at the top you can admire the views, almost all to yourself. On the first walk, I was the only tourist at the top, so selfies were in order…
At the second walk to the higher viewpoint, I met some local travellers who all wanted photos together, as well as some wildlife – birds and lizards.
The viewpoint stretches far and wide – you can see the Pacific Ocean as well as the city of San Salvador and some immense countryside.
Also there are a few souvenir stalls and local eateries.
After doing the walks, I waited for another bus back to the capital city and I was back again to San Salvador. The trip to Puerta del Diablo is completely worth it and it’s not even a day trip – you can do this in half a day easily from San Salvador so what are you waiting for!!
Here are my videos from my trip to Puerta del Diablo while backpacking in El Salvador: