Natural Rock Tunnels in La Libertad Highway
One of the many wonders of El Salvador? The natural rock tunnels you’ll find on one of the main highways of El Salvador.
In our series #LearnmoreElSalvador, we’re introducing you to the 5 natural rock tunnels of La Libertad Highway.
About the Highway
La Carretera El Litoral – aka ‘La Litoral’ by locals – is the official name given to 330 kms of highway connecting from the East to West of El Salvador. If you look it up in Google Maps, you will find it under the short name CA-2, and it connects 9 out of 14 Departments on the coast of El Salvador. It is a picturesque highway with diverse flora and fauna that make up the artistic landscape.
About the tunnels
Although the highway connects El Salvador from end to end, the tunnels are only on the east side of the country, between La Libertad and Sonsonate Departments.
There are 5 coastal rock tunnels, known as Los Túneles de la Carretera de El Litoral. The longest tunnel is 577 meters long and the shortest one is only 86 meters long. The tunnels were built to unify the entire coastal zone, to facilitate the passage of vehicles and to establish a route suitable for all types of transport. It was easier, faster and cheaper to construct through coastal cliffs than to build around them. They were inaugurated in 1959 and they remain toll free until today.
Some facts about the construction:
- It took 9 years to complete the infrastructure; it started in 1950 and it was finished in 1959.
- Between all 5 tunnels, there was more than 5 million m3 of rock carved.
- During the day, the temperature in the tunnels is about 30 degrees Celsius.
There are five tunnels and all of them are two-way tunnels measuring 10 meters wide and 6.20 meters high. They have no electrical connection for lighting; however, they are marked with reflective bands inside. We aren’t going to lie… they can feel a little spooky! But also quite a fun adventure if you’re riding through on the back of a pick-up. They are numbered 1 to 5 and there are also traffic signs announcing each tunnel and giving a brief description of it.
The first tunnel is 322 meters, located right after El Zonte. the second tunnel is 577 meters, next to La Garza Hotel, in Shalpa Beach. The third tunnel is 86 meters and it is located before Playa La Perla. The fourth tunnel is 230 meters and it is located before the beach country club Balsamar CDI. The fifth tunnel is 240 meters and it located in El Nisperal. They are all within minutes driving of each other and a good indicator of exactly where you are at any given moment on the highway.
Take a look at the map below, the grey parts on the yellow highway represent the 5 tunnels.
Images do no justice for the amazing views you will see all along the highway. Come experience it yourself — and bring your boards to surf along the way!! 🙂 #DontSkipElSalvador and #ShareTheGoodlife.