El Salvador – known for being the land of volcanoes. The country has to deal with volcanic activity and earthquakes frequently.
Somehow, its flag does not feature a volcano – perhaps they have too many bad memories of it.
But you as a visitor can have fantastic memories of El Salvador if you plan your trip right.
Besides being known as the land of volcanoes, El Salvador is also a surfer's paradise. It has many beaches with perfect conditions for surfing.
But the country is also full of history. El Tazumal is a Mayan ruins complex with a museum attached.
Lake Ilopango is a beautiful lake… in a volcanic crater.
And Ruta de las Flores is simply a beautiful flower-lined path going through colonial towns.
Honestly, there is no need to be bored in El Salvador. Especially if you like volcanoes – there are plenty of them.
But before you share your colorful El Salvador experiences online, be aware that international roaming can be expensive.
Travel eSIMs can be a much more affordable way to stay connected, even in El Salvador.
How much will a travel eSIM for El Salvador cost?
You can get a travel eSIM for El Salvador for as little as 9.50 USD, with 1 GB for 7 days, up to 54 USD, for 5 GB, from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad.
While this may sound a bit pricey but international roaming will be even more expensive.
So yeah, these travel eSIMs can be worth it.
In this guide, I will go over the travel eSIM options offered by Airalo, Holafly & Nomad. Let's go.
Original publication: 14th of September 2022. Last updated: 14th of September 2022.
Table of Contents
eSIMs offered by the Salvadoran Mobile Operators
Suppose you want to get the best service and reception available in El Salvador.
In that case, it is better to get a SIM card or travel eSIM from the local mobile operators, which in this case would be the Salvadoran ones.
Not only will you not have to deal with latency, but you also get a higher priority on the network because you are a direct customer of the mobile operator instead of a roamer.
And with most travel eSIMs, you are roaming on the network(s) of the local mobile operator(s).
But that is not always the case – the slow speeds part, that is.
Some mobile operators throttle the speeds of prepaid customers because they want more people to get a postpaid plan.
Unfortunately, travelers cannot get postpaid plans – so one way to avoid throttling is by using a travel eSIM.
Yes – travel eSIMs sometimes have faster speeds than native prepaid customers because of throttling.
So, which Salvadoran mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers?
Unfortunately, none of the local mobile operators offer eSIMs to prepaid customers
You have three options for getting an eSIM for your trip to El Salvador: Airalo (with Cerrocom), Holafly & Nomad.
One of the main advantages of getting a travel eSIM for El Salvador is that (1) you do not have to try to speak (broken) Spanish to get a local eSIM, (2) you can set up the eSIM before arriving in El Salvador and activate it upon landing & (3) you do not have to deal with El Salvador's SIM card registration laws.
I have to mention that travel eSIMs will be more expensive than local eSIMs and SIM cards, but they are more convenient.
Moreover, I have plenty of experience with the eSIMs from Airalo, Holafly & Nomad, so I can vouch for them – so can many Phone Travel Wiz readers!
So let's go over what the travel eSIMs offer for El Salvador!
Airalo eSIMs for El Salvador (Cerrocom)
If you have read any of my eSIM or SIM card buying guides before, then you know I am a big fan of Airalo.
Not only does Airalo have eSIMs for most countries (around 190 countries) of any eSIM platform, but they are also often one of the cheapest while offering fantastic service in terms of speeds and reception.
That is because Airalo usually partners up with the mobile operator with the best coverage, the fastest speeds, both, or even multiple operators.
That way, you get the best bang for your buck, I have to say.
In the case of El Salvador, Cerrocom uses the Tigo El Salvador network.
So, which El Salvador Cerrocom eSIMs are available? You have this one option:
- El Salvador/Cerrocom 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 9.50 USD
Now, you may think this is a sad selection or that 1 GB of data is insufficient.
Both points are true… I agree – but you can make unlimited top-ups with the Cerrocom eSIM through the Airalo website or apps.
So if you need 5 GB of data, you can purchase the Cerrocom 1 GB eSIM and get four 1 GB top-ups.
Yes, it is a bit inconvenient for now; Airalo may offer 3 GB, 5 GB & 10 GB plans with a 30-day validity for El Salvador soon, as it did for many other countries it supports.
For Airalo eSIMs, the links above will automatically get you the Phone Travel Wiz exclusive offers available – a code is not necessary.
- Check out my Airalo eSIM reviews
Airalo Cerrocom eSIM Pros
Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Cerrocom eSIM? Yes, there are:
- You can activate your Cerrocom eSIM as soon as you land in El Salvador
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Tigo El Salvador's network
- Cerrocom eSIMs are affordable (especially compared to roaming)
- SIM card registration is not a thing you have to worry about with Cerrocom eSIM, saving you time
- Multiple top-ups can be purchased when you are out of data or when your initial plan expires easily on the Airalo site or apps
I could list many more pros, but these are the major ones.
Unfortunately, there are some cons to be aware of.
Airalo Cerrocom eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Cerrocom eSIM?
- The Salvadoran mobile operators, including Tigo El Salvador itself, have much more generous data allowances
- There is only one plan available, the 1 GB one, meaning you have to keep topping up when you are out of data instead of buying a larger data plan from the start
- While you get access to Tigo El Salvador's network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with Tigo El Salvador itself because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- There is no 5G NR access with Cerrocom eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Cerrocom eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Airalo Cerrocom eSIM Overall Thoughts
The Cerrocom eSIM is a convenient eSIM that can be purchased before going to El Salvador and can be activated upon arriving.
You get access to one of El Salvador's best networks with the Cerrocom eSIM.
The main flaw, for now, is that you have to purchase multiple top-ups if you need more data than just 1 GB.
While getting a top-up is straightforward, some tourists, like myself, prefer to just buy one big data plan so that you do not have to worry about data allowances.
But besides that flaw, the Cerrocom eSIM is fine.
Remember, you cannot call or text with the Cerrocom eSIM, as it is a data-only eSIM.
Nomad eSIMs for El Salvador
Nomad is one of the eSIM players on the market that managed to grow quickly.
That is because it is one of the few premium eSIM players out there, often using multiple partners to bring you the best coverage and speeds out there.
As a result, Nomad is often (slightly) more expensive than Airalo.
But good people run the company.
For example, upon my recommendation, it started offering the Nordics regional eSIM – an eSIM that can be used in Denmark, Finland, Sweden & Norway.
And many more regional eSIMs are coming – I can promise you that!
Anyway, what did I mean with “often using multiple partners to bring you the best coverage and speeds out there” earlier?
In El Salvador, Nomad uses the Truphone network, which uses a combination of local networks, allowing your eSIM to switch to the network with the best reception automatically.
This way, you will always have a connection (unless you are in the middle of a jungle, of course 🤪).
You have the following three options with Nomad for El Salvador:
- El Salvador 1 GB eSIM for 7 days, costing 20 USD/20.50 EUR/17.50 GBP/26.50 CAD
- El Salvador 3 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 48 USD/47.50 EUR/41 GBP/63 CAD
- El Salvador 5 GB eSIM for 30 days, costing 54 USD/54.50 EUR/46.50 GBP/70.50 CAD
Now, these prices are significantly higher when looking at the Airalo El Salvador Cerrocom eSIM, especially the 1 GB variant.
And I can tell you that Phone Travel Wiz readers do not get the 1 GB or 3 GB variants at all – they too costly.
However, the readers who get the Nomad El Salvador eSIM go for the 5 GB variant.
Mostly because the Airalo El Salvador Cerrocom eSIM has only the 1 GB version, which requires multiple top-ups if you want more data and has a 7-day validity.
And, unlike the Cerrocom eSIM, the Nomad El Salvador uses multiple networks instead of just one (Tigo El Salvador), giving you much better coverage and faster speeds.
So that is why many Phone Travel Wiz readers do not mind spending 6 USD more for the Nomad El Salvador eSIM than the Cerrocom eSIM (9 USD) with four top-ups to get 5 GB of data (4 * 9 USD).
Wait… only 6 USD more? Is 54 USD – 45 USD not 9 USD?
That is correct (and you are paying attention!), but you can get 3 USD off your first Nomad purchase when using code ADU123!
I am looking out for you there 😏.
And, of course, just like the Airalo El Salvador Cerrocom eSIM, you can also top up your Nomad El Salvador eSIM on the Nomad site or apps.
- Check out my Nomad eSIM reviews
Nomad El Salvador eSIM Pros
Are there any (more) reasons why you should get the Nomad El Salvador? Yes:
- SIM card registration and bureaucracy? Skip that with the Nomad El Salvador eSIM, saving you time
- You can activate your Nomad El Salvador eSIM as soon as you land in El Salvador
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to multiple Salvadoran networks, allowing you to always have the best coverage and speeds
- Nomad El Salvador eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- Nomad offers the most options (three) and longest validity (30 days) of any travel eSIM in this guide
- Multiple top-ups can be purchased when you are out of data or when your initial plan expires easily on the Nomad site or apps
But it is not all good news with Nomad though – there are some disadvantages.
Nomad El Salvador eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Nomad El Salvador eSIM?
- Salvadoran mobile operators have much more generous data allowances
- While you get access to multiple Salvadoran networks, your speeds may not be as fast as going with the mobile operators directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- Nomad has the most expensive plans for El Salvador in this guide
- There is no 5G NR access with the Nomad El Salvador eSIM (yet)
- You cannot call or text with the Nomad El Salvador eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
Nomad El Salvador eSIM Overall Thoughts
Overall, the Nomad El Salvador eSIM is an excellent premium eSIM offering the most options and longest validity in this guide.
And because the Nomad El Salvador eSIM uses multiple networks, you will always have the best reception when traveling around El Salvador.
The main con is that Nomad has the most expensive options in this guide.
And you cannot make calls and send SMS with the Nomad El Salvador eSIM because it is a data-only eSIM.
If 1 GB for 7 days is not enough and you do not want to pay 54 USD for 5 GB of data, then you have one more option…
Holafly eSIMs for El Salvador
My relationship with Holafly is quite funny.
I knew they existed when they offered travel SIM cards for the Spanish market only.
Then they pivoted to the global market, still offering travel SIM cards.
Eventually, they started offering travel eSIMs for the Spanish market only again before going global.
There are many travel eSIM providers nowadays – new ones pop up every week like mushrooms, so I did not bat an eye.
Until they did something revolutionary.
In 2022, Holafly started offering unlimited data plans for its eSIMs.
And these unlimited data eSIMs can be used in various Asian countries, almost all European Union member states (except for Liechtenstein) & a few other countries, like Canada and the United States.
Unfortunately, unlimited data eSIMs are not available in El Salvador… yet.
I say yet because Holafly's goal is to offer unlimited data plans for every country it covers: 100+ countries.
And I can tell you that I get positive emails multiple times a week from Phone Travel Wiz readers that have used the unlimited data plans in East- and Southeast Asia, Europe & North America; they love these eSIMs.
For now, you have only one Holafly El Salvador eSIM (which uses the Movistar El Salvador network:
- El Salvador 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 44 USD/47 EUR/34 GBP
Not much choice, as you can see.
But the Holafly El Salvador eSIM gives you the most data of any travel eSIM mentioned in this guide (Airalo: 1 GB & Nomad: 1 GB/3 GB/5 GB) AND is cheaper than the others when looking at the 5 GB and 6 GB segment (Airalo: 6 * 9.50 USD (1 GB) = 57 USD & Nomad: 1 * 54 USD (5 GB) + 1 * 20 USD (1 GB) = 74 USD).
Even better, you can get 5% off each and any Holafly purchase (so it does not have to be the El Salvador eSIM) when you use code PHONETRAVELWIZ – fantastic, right?
- Check out my Holafly eSIM reviews
Holafly El Salvador eSIM Pros
So, why should you get the Holafly El Salvador eSIM? Well, because of the following:
- Holafly El Salvador eSIMs are affordable compared to roaming
- You get full (up to 4G/LTE) access to Movistar El Salvador's network
- Unlike going with Movistar El Salvador directly, you do not have to worry about SIM card registration because it is unnecessary
- You can activate your Holafly El Salvador eSIM as soon as you land in El Salvador
- The Holafly El Salvador eSIM offers the most data
Holafly El Salvador eSIM Cons
Why should you not get the Holafly El Salvador eSIM?
- You cannot call or text with the Holafly El Salvador eSIM (nor can you receive them – you get no (local) phone number)
- Salvadoran mobile operators, including Movistar El Salvador, have much more generous data allowances
- While you get full (4G/LTE) access to Movistar El Salvador's network, your speeds may not be as fast as going with Movistar El Salvador directly because you will be roaming on their networks (and not be a native customer)
- You cannot top up your Holafly El Salvador eSIM – you would have to buy another eSIM if you need more data
- There is no 5G NR access with the Holafly El Salvador eSIM (yet)
Holafly El Salvador eSIM Overall Thoughts
While you have only one option for the Holafly El Salvador eSIM, it is the most generous eSIM (in terms of data) in this guide.
And the price for the Holafly El Salvador eSIM is low compared to expensive Pay As You Go roaming rates for El Salvador.
But it still is not cheap.
Best eSIMs for in Central- and South America (not just El Salvador)
Unfortunately, you cannot use your Airalo Cerrocom, Holafly El Salvador, or Nomad El Salvador eSIMs in any country than El Salvador.
However, Holafly has an eSIM covering the popular travel destinations in Central- and South America, including El Salvador.
I highly recommend going with the Holafly South America eSIM, which also covers parts of Central America, if you plan on visiting multiple countries in the Americas, as you will save a lot of money when you do so.
Holafly Central- and South America eSIM
While Holafly officially calls this eSIM the South America eSIM, it can also be used in a few countries in Central America.
And as many Phone Travel Wiz readers who visit El Salvador also visit neighboring countries, it will be better to get the Holafly South America eSIM for your travels.
The Holafly South America eSIM can be used in the following 13 countries:
You only have one option for the Holafly South America eSIM: 6 GB eSIM for 15 days, costing 44 USD/47 EUR/34 GBP.
Overview of the Best eSIMs for El Salvador (Airalo vs. Holafly vs. Nomad)
In this guide, I went over various eSIMs El Salvador.
Below is an overview of my recommendation order:
- Airalo's El Salvador Cerrocom eSIM (cheapest)
- Holafly El Salvador eSIM (most generous data plan)
- Nomad El Salvador eSIM (most eSIM options)
- Holafly's El Salvador eSIM (best value for money when also visiting other Central- and South American countries)
Remember to use code PHONETRAVELWIZ for Holafly eSIMs and code ADU123 for Nomad eSIMs – a code is not necessary for Airalo eSIM purchases.
Buying a SIM Card in El Salvador
Do these eSIMs not sound appealing to you, or does your phone not support eSIMs (but still thought this guide was insightful enough that you read it until the end)?
Consider getting a Salvadoran SIM card instead – that linked guide is the most extensive SIM card buying guide for El Salvador on the web, packed with insightful information and tips.
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