Ever wonder what the guys on the “chicken buses” are yelling as they pass? So did we! In general, they’re yelling names of locations. But, as if that wasn’t difficult enough, they’re using slang for many places. It’s rare that anything they call out will be found on a tourist map (that would just be too easy!)
Here’s a few of the most common things the drivers/conductors will be saying as you ride from point A to point B:
Sivar: (see-bah) Slang for “San Salvador”
This usually sounds like “see-bah, see-bah, see-bah”
Puerto: (pu-where-tow) Means “La Libertad”
Although there are several “ports” in El Salvador, “Puerto” is what locals call the city that is known as “La Libertad” by most foreign tourists.
Ceiba: (say-buh) “Say-buh, say-buh, say-buh” means “the turn-out in front of the large white church named La Cieba, where many buses stop on their way into San Salvador from La Libertad, Santa Ana, Sonsonate, among other places.” It is, essentially, a bus terminal. This is a great place to get off to change to other bus lines that run throughout the city, or if you’re traveling between Santa Ana and La Libertad, or Sonsonate and La Libertad or La Libertad and places in San Salvador. Since it’s located just outside of San Salvador, you won’t have to deal with all the hustle and bustle of the city if you transfer lines here.
Sonate: (sow-nah-tay) means “Sonsonate”
It just takes too long to say, “Sonsonate, Sonsonate, Sonsonate”!
Suchi: (sue-chee) means “Suchitoto”
Here’s some other bus vocabulary:
Cora: (co-duh) “co-duh, co-duh, co-duh”
Surprise! This is actually US English with a Salvadoran spin. They’re actually saying “quarter,” the name for the largest silver US coin. That’s the price you should pay the conductor for your ride.
Visa: (bee-suh) “bee-suh, bee-suh, bee-suh” This is short for “Avisame” or “Wait for me.” You’ll hear the conductor yelling this when he wants the driver to wait for passengers to load or unload, or when he has gotten off the bus and is about to get back on.