After exploring the remote and beautiful Islands in Panama, and the Central American Countries to the South of us, or coming from the jet-set pace of Cabo san Lucas and her sister Mexican ports, you will find your stay at the Puerto Barillas, to be unique and enriching. We hope that this cruiser’s guide will assist you during your stay in El Salvador.


Checking in: Documents you will receive (all provided by authorities at Barillas)

  1. Acta de Visita.
    Initial acknowledgement of your arrival provided by the Port Captain’s office.
  2. Importacion Temporal
    On arrival, your will need to apply for a temporary importation permit for your vessel.
  3. Customs document.
  4. Certificado de Permanencia. (akin to a cruising permit but applicable to stored boats as well), is another document required by the Port Captain, valid initially for 2 months from issue and representing additional confirmation of the vessels’ right to stay in El Salvador territory and applied to all vessels staying more than 8 days.

If departing El Salvador on your vessel intending to return be AWARE that your paperwork will need to be renewed entirely when you return. Pet owners should also be aware of check-in regulations.

General Information

Welcome to our marina. Our marina is dedicated to the needs of cruisers and we depend on your goodwill and good-sense. Some do’s and don’ts:

PLEASE keep your pets on a leash while in the restaurant area: they can preside only with tacit agreement of the other restaurant users.
DO NOT wear expensive jewelry while walking around town.
LEAVING YOUR BOAT If leaving your boat unattended make arrangement with someone (approved by the marina) to look after it. We will be happy to recommend suitable caretakers. If leaving the country get a letter from the Marina declaring that your vessel is here so you will not require an outbound ticket on your return to El Salvador.
GENERAL NOTES: While we do provide security in keeping with our desire to maintain the informal family ambient, the ‘Club’ (Barillas Marina Club) will not be held responsible for you personally, nor your crew/guests. Neither will the Club be responsible for your property during your stay here. At all times the Captain/Owner remains responsible for all matters concerning his vessel and property (the Club is always ready to offer assistance).
PAYING THE BILL: On arrival we will set up an account which should be paid on the First of the Month or prior to departure.


To Usulutan: A free ride by Barillas Mini-Van, departs the Marina on Tuesday and Friday at 0900 for Dispensa Don Juan, and departs the Dispensa at 1230 for Barillas; also available for short detours to specialty shops.

To San Salvador: Via Barillas Mini-Van, as requested; make arrangements with the Marina Office.

To the Airport: Via Barillas Mini-Van, as requested; make arrangements with the Marina Office.

Taxi Cab Information; Usulutan is full of yellow taxicabs; transport from town to Barillas costs about $15US; be sure to negotiate a price up front.

Bus: All kinds of bus transportation is available, to San Salvador, San Miguel and “other” locations for the adventurous. Buses are more or less clearly marked, and depart from a number of locations near Dispensa Don Juan.

Services, etc

Note: for ease of description, we have used the terms “South Main” for the street coming into Usulutan from Barillas, and “North Main” for the street leaving for Barillas.
Also, due to missing, illegible, etc street signs, we’ve used the “number of blocks from Dispensa Don Juan” or “Scotia Bank” for directions…(they’re still “approximate, but ballpark”).

Auto Parts
EconoPartes, across from Puerta Oriente Plaza (a few blocks east of Dispensa Don Juan); just about everything you’d expect to find in an auto parts store in the States

There are a number of ATMs (Cajeros Automaticos) in the entrance to Dispensa Don Juan; Additionally there a number of large banks around the business district in Usulutan:

ScotiaBank 4 Blocks west of Dispensa Don Juan, on North Main
Da Vivienda (formerly HSBC) 2 Blocks further on from ScotiaBank, on North Main, (across from the Parque Central)
Banco de America Central 3 Blocks further on from ScotiaBank, (The other side of the Parque Central); very helpful with “card problems” or problems understanding what the ATM is asking you (or what you’re trying to tell it).
And many other banks in the general vicinity.

Small Batteries: Impressa Repuestos in mid-town, the Barillas driver will take you there.
Large Batteries: Casa de las Batterias, 29 Calle Poinente y 21 Ave Norte, San Salvador
Sr. Jose Garcia 2235 6944

Bearings, (O-rings, gaskets, hose fittings)
See Oxgasa (In Hardware) for O-Rings

Boatyard/Haulout Facilities
Prestomar Need information, Railway up to ___ Tons, Width, …Include Catamarans; they provide bottom painting, topside painting, general marine repairs

Boat Cleaning, etc (see also General Hands)

There are many places to get copies made in Usulutan; just walk up or down North or South Main

Computer Repair/Supplies


Yanmar parts.
Volvo parts.
Cummins, Caterpillar,
Perkins parts.

Dive Tanks

Email, WiFi, and Internet:
Free Wi-Fi at the Marina; as you get farther down the anchorage, the coverage gets poorer; reception is great in the swimming pool area and the restaurant; there are 115V outlets at each table in the palapas.



Solar Panels can be found at Ferreteria El Conecte, which is just one block beyond the Sherwin Williams Paint Store on North Main (just beyond Parque Central); they have a 75-watt model on display, but can get any size panel down from San Salvador.

Fiberglass, Minor Repairs & Materials (See also:Woodworking)

Marinsa (see “Chandleries, below) has a good supply of Polyester Resin and Filler

(PrestoMar???) Hull repair, modifying chainlockers, propane tank boxes, etc.


Fire Extinguisher Recharging

Oxgasa (See Hardware)

Fuel (Diesel and Gasoline)

Barillas Fuel Dock

Check with the Office for current pricing

General Hands

For boat cleaning, varnishing, head overhaul, running errands, piloting, underwater work, obtaining parts and general repairs, there are local workers ready, willing and able to

Help; ask at the Marina Office

Haircuts, Manicures, Pedicures

Beauty Shop located in Dispensa Don Juan

Peluquero Richard, walk to ScotiaBank, turn left walk one block, located on the corner.

Numerous other barber/beauty shops located along both main streets

Hardware and Chandleries

Marinsa: Only “Marine Store” in Usulutan, caters mostly to fishermen, but worth a visit; walk a block from Dispensa Don Juan westward on South Main, take a left, walk 2 blocks, take a right, walk 2 blocks and Marinsa is on the corner; also has mechanics who work on Outboard Motors (see below)

2M Ferreteria: They have most everything, including small galvanized chain, stainless hose clamps, lots of other stuff, some English spoken. Big Ferreteria, Located about 3 blocks east of Dispensa Don Juan, across the road to Puerto Parada, near the Puerta Oriente plaza

Ferriteria El Baratillo (Orange Building) about 2 blocks East of Dispensa Don Juan; they have most everything

Ferreteria Avila, between La Pirraya and EconoPartes, across from Puerta Oriente; there is an English Speaker here.

Ferreteria San Rafael; located outside of town, near the Hospital; Large, construction-oriented hardware store; Barillas driver will stop there on the way back to Barillas if requested

Oxgasa: Walk past ScotiaBank to Pollo Campero/Da Vivienda, Turn left and walk two blocks to Oxgasa; you will find medical supplies, Stanley, Skil and Bosch hand and power tools, safety gear and shoes, welding machines, cutting and burning rigs, motors, generators, pumps, O-Rings, the list goes on and on…and, they will sell you a new fire extinguisher, or recharge your old one.


Importing Parts into El Salvador
Trans Express (mail forwarder): Shipping every Friday from Miami (3 days to San Salvador).
Clear Freight (Cargo Forwarder): Shipping every Friday from Miami (7 days to San Salvador); ClearFreight contact info:
Kattia E. Fandino
Ocean Export

Clearfreight Inc.
9704 NW 17th St.
Miami, FL 33172
Ph.305-592-4446 ext.1311
e-mail: kattia@clearfreight.com

Coordinate your shipping with the Marina Office

Liferaft Inspection

Machine Shop

Taller Merced, a full-service machine shop complete with lathes, milling machines, presses, etc.; very good quality work. There is a weld shop associated with this shop (see below)




Pharmacies are everywhere and you will find most of your prescription needs available and reasonably priced. Prices vary considerably among the pharmacies, and even among branches of the same pharmacy. It pays to shop around. Many drugs that are prescription only in other countries can be purchased over-the-counter in El Salvador. Most pharmacies have reference books to find a generic equivalent of name-brand drugs.

Pharmacia Brasil: There are a number of these around town, one is next to Dispensa Don Juan; the staff in this one are very friendly and helpful, and accustomed to dealing with Cruisers

HOSPITALS & EMERGENCY (Sala de Urgencias):


San Salvador



There are many labs from which to choose. Here are some suggestions:

Hemo Plus Blood Testing, next to the Banco de America Central, across from the Central Park


Outboard Motors, sales, parts, repairs

Marinsa: (Get info from Gabriel)_________

Taller Lizama: Propeller Repair; replace worn out rubber insert with a bushing and set screws. Located about a block West of Ferreteria San Rafael, near the Hospital…Barillas driver will take you there

There is also an outboard Mechanic in Puerto Parada

Paint & Painters

Sherman Williams (Source of Antifouling Bottom Paint): Located a block West of the Parque Central, on North Main (closed for siesta)

Comex; Across the Street from ScotiaBank; English Spoken Here



Keep a close eye on your project and an excellent job should be your reward at less than US prices. These men can do excellent finishing work (although at times may indulge in short cuts so be warned).You may have to explain “cutting in” and masking to the painters

Please draw up a written agreement before starting any major project. Be wary of the lowest quotation since when a project starts it may be difficult to maintain the original agreement.

Remember, you get what you INspect, not what you EXpect…

Ask the Marina Office for more information

Photo Shop

Photo Expo, A Half-Block beyond ScotiaBank, on North Main; photo and camera supplies, passport photos, etc

Post Office


Make arrangements with the Marina

US-type valves can be filled


Dispensa Don Juan: The Barillas Mini-Bus destination, “US-Style” Supermarket, is quite fully stocked.

Super Selectos: Two locations, one a few blocks East of Dispensa Don, in Puerta Oriente shopping center (just beyond the Ferriteria 2M), and one a few blocks back toward Barillas from Dispensa Don Juan on “South Main”, just beyond Dispensa Familiar; These are also “US Style”, and you may find items here that are not available in Don Juan

Dispensa Familiar; on “South Main”, just across from the new vegetable market; veterans of the Rio Dulce will recognize this store.

Tienda GALO: Similar to Dispensa Familiar, One is across the street from Dispensa Don Juan, another is a few blocks further East, sort of across from the Ferreteria 2M

Central Market: Impossible to miss; the older section goes on for blocks along and North of North Main, and the “new” section, enclosed by chain link fences, is between North and South Main, near Pizza Hut, Wendy’s and Pollo Campestro

There are also Walmart, Sears, Radio Shack, Office depot, Price Club, and other like stores in San Salvador

Refrigeration & Air Conditioning


Wendy’s, Burger King and Pollo Campestre are near Dispensa Don Juan

“Biggest” Hamburger is about a block and a half beyond ScotiaBank

There is a small cafeteria inside of Dispensa Don Juan

La Pirraya Restaurant and Hotel is located across from the Puerta Oriente Plaza

There are numerous small “Comedors” in the area, as well as sidewalk vendors


There is no professional rigging shop in Usulutan

Sail Repair, Canvas, Upholstery & Fabrics

Dispensa de Telas: Here’s one for the Ladies: Large fabric store, across from Dispensa Don Juan, and another one of the same name about a block up from Dispensa Don Juan on North Main. A huge selection of fabrics, and 3” foam for cushions

No info, yet, on Sail Repair


Confecciones Granados (it says “Almacenes Granados” on the portico), 3 Blocks west of Dispensa Don Juan, on North Main; in addition to fabrics, cushion foam, and other items, they repair sewing machines, and have a large supply of Polyester thread, in an assortment of colors.


A walk down either of the “main” streets, and the side streets will expose you to all kinds of shopping opportunities, from furniture stores, to sporting goods, clothing, hardware, household goods, and the like; the central market is huge, with way too many items available to be listed here, but here are some choices:

Artesenias Helen: Flags of all sizes, T-Shirts, Ball Caps, and hand-made souvenir crafts by local Artisans; walk to ScotiaBank on North Main, take a right, walk two blocks, take a left, the shop is just a couple of doors down on your left…

Payless Shoe Source: Another one for the Ladies…one block further down the street from ScotiaBank

Libreria Montenegro: All kinds of paper and office supplies; about 5 blocks West of Dispensa Don Juan, on South Main.

Ice Cream Parlor: There are a number of these around town, the Heleria Niveria right next door to Dispensa Don Juan is a welcome place to wait on the departure of the MiniBus.

Spanish Lessons

Stainless Steel & Aluminum

See “Welding Shop”, below

Tailoring / Sewing:

Bazar Nelson; pass by Scotia Bank, take a right at Payless Shoe Source, walk a few doors up the street, the Bazar is on the right; Alterations, etc, Singer treadle sewing machine, prices very reasonable.


The main TIGO store and the main Digicel store are located on South Main about 3 blocks from the Dispensa Don Juan, just down the street from Peluqueria Richard

The main CLARO store is on North Main, about 4 ½ blocks from Dispensa Don Juan

There are numerous kiosks that can sell you minutes, but for full service, computer modem “sticks”, etc, go to the main store.

Phone cards can be purchased in Pharmacies, grocery stores and from street vendors wearing advertisement aprons.

The following needs to be reviewed, changed, etc:

El Salvador Country Code: ____ .

A call can be made to the U.S. or other countries using one of El Salvador’s long distance direct-dial companies (005+1+area code+number).

A cell phone can be purchased at many places.

You can make international calls using the internet through the Skype service.

Each cell phone company has a different access code for int’l calls:

TIGO: 00 414 (then country code and number)

Movistar: 00 9 (then country code and number)

Theater & Movies

Travel Agencies & Airlines


If you are planning to travel within El Salvador, it is important to keep in mind that while security has greatly improved throughout much of the country, some journeys by road continue to present a risk! It may be safer to fly, and/or make arrangements with a tour operator.

Veterinary Clinics

Welding Shop:

Located adjacent to, and affiliated with, Taller Merced (the machine shop), this shop can weld mild steel, stainless, aluminum, and also work with brass or bronze.

Prestomar: Boatyard next to Barillas


Wood Supplies (I saw a small “lumber yard) up the street across from the Dispensa…

Barillas Activities

Swimming: There are three pools at Barillas Marina Club; the main pool is about 5 ½ feet deep at the far end, there is a shallow Kiddie Pool, and a Jacuzzie-style pool,

Horseback Riding

Nature Walks


Beach Excursions

Floating Restaurant

Puerto Parada is an interesting side trip by dinghy from Barillas; it’s a 5-mile, 20-minute trip in a planning dinghy, and should be scheduled around high tide, as the water gets pretty shallow on each side of the Lows; see the map, below

Puerto Parada is about 5 miles south of Usulutan (the road starts at the intersection near Ferreteria 2M and terminates at Puerto Parada).

At the Port, you will find a ramp with 15 or so pangas, which ferry people and material to and from the various islands in Bahia Jiquilisco; in addition to the transportation activity, there is a small tienda, a couple of small restaurants, and some very friendly local folks; some English spoken here. Land your dinghy on the small ramp beyond the nest of moored pangas.

As an additional attraction, when returning from the Port, the first large river, on the west side of the main river to Barillas, cuts through the mangroves South of the Marina and comes out on the “shrimp boat side” of the estuary; it is a very scenic ride. This river can be identified by a large fishing shack on the North side of the entrance; the river is wide, deep and winding.


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