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El Salvador

Curious what backpackers do in El Salvador? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Wake up feeling tired. Hot room and rock hard mattress so on the denco rub goes.

    Decide to take a tuk tuk for $2 (50 cents for a local) down to the lake (Lake Suchitlan) as bus (35 cents) was taking too long.

    Have to pay either $1 or $3 to enter lake area. As I have no idea whats what I go for the cheap option!

    Turns out the $3 gains you admission to a pool with a view of the lake!! Nice. Pity our guide didn't bother to tell us this! I would have swum in undies and crop top with no towel but decide just to chill by the lake.

    Its so lovely and peaceful and no tourists which is wonderful. I have the whole lakeside to myself so I just sit and relax with the dog who joined me.

    You have got to love the dumped car right in the middle of the money shot!

    Next it is lunch in the most fabulous place. There are lots of little places to choose from under the one roof. Each place had its own table setting.

    And have a look at the chicken and avocado sandwich I ordered!

    I spend a while here and run into Suzanna my buddy from the tour group. We think she has bronchitis but its been getting worse so she saw an El Salvadoran Dr who was actually an obstetrician! last night and has been put on all this medication.

    We hang out then I catch the public bus up the hill while Suzanna walks.

    Wander around the town which is lovely and peaceful. The handicrafts are way over priced.
    Indigo dye is big here! Go figure.

    Then a banana and chocolate crepe sitting watching the town centre activities! Lovely day.
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  • So we get a great sales pitch on this volcano visit by our tour guide. Easy he said - two hour drive there and back in a pick up truck plus 60 minutes hiking. Ok I thought. I can do that.

    Back by 1pm at the lastest - so that leaves plenty of time for hammocking and margaritas!

    The pick up truck arrives and there are 12 people - first sign of trouble. A mattress goes in the back and seven people are expected to cram into the back with five inside. I'm not stupid - as everybody eagerly jumps in the back I make it to a seat.

    An hour's drive there? Three hours later we get to the volcano but the driver takes us to the wrong volcano!!

    But let me back up abit. We assumed it was a drive on a road as we were not told otherwise. Part was a road then a very bumpy dirt track uphill then very steep cobblestone! It was so bumpy we were being thrown all over the place. Thank christ I was inside.
    And this pickup truck wasn't a four wheel drive!

    There was not even a remote bit of commonsense from our tour guide - who I might add has done this trip three times before.

    So we are struggling up hill and the truck is basically sliding backwards down the hill! So we all yell stop and stumble out of the truck. Not sure if the driver or tour guide would have made this crucial safety decision!

    Then half get back in and half start walking. The truck finally makes it to the wrong volcano. So while waiting for the others we walk to the top of this volcano which has telco towers. No much of a view so we trudge down. Turns out a large chunk of this volcano is owned by one person who likes to live alone. He charges $5 to get to the other side of this wrong volcano. The tour guide does say this is his fault and then says he will pay the $5 (to the wrong volcano I might add) and has rung for another truck. I just want the last 5 hours back!

    The $5 volcano has a lovely view and it looks like they are building a cafe and there is a half finished viewing platform.

    Then back to the new truck which you stand hanging onto a rope which gives you rope burn because the truck shakes so much going over the rocks!

    There is a vote as to whether we carry onto the planned volcano. Majority vote means we do so we start hiking. I'm over it and am thinking of my hammock.

    At the top is a timber lookout which can only hold four people at a time - its pretty shaky though - hope no one is on it when it eventually collapses.

    Back down the volcano in the rope truck then we have to cram into the original truck. Will this nightmare never end.......
    We put another person in the front sitting between the gear stick so there is more room in the back and the guide sits in the back this time.

    Once we arrive back we all rush to order lunch as that can take an hour. I go straight in the pool then to the hammock to have lunch.

    I won't bore you will the bill saga at the hotel but I wasn't going to pay $9 for a piece of chicken when you can get a massive dinner with meat for the same price. The perils of ordering off menu.

    Day over thank heavens.

    You can see the wrong volcano with the telco towers!
    And examples of rural life.
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  • So after the night in Miami, my travel to Cuba started with a hangover but also with a lot of curiosity and motivation!
    But like a lot of you already rode my mail, the travel wasn't easy at all! I lost a lot of money because of stupid situations.
    I had to change the airplane at San Salvador and wait over night. As I thought that I can spend the night at the airport I hadn't booked any Hotel. When I arrived there they obliged me to get out the airport and go to the airport hotel for 80 Dollars per night! Never I would pay that. So at the end I got a hotel for 20 Dollars because a guy heard my discussion with the airport people and helped me to find a cheaper one.
    As i got out the airport I was really scared. It had about 50 people standing next before the exit from the airport waiting for someone. They stared at me what I unterstand but as everybody said El Salvador is really really dangerous I was hardly scared. Now after 3 months of travel I would not be as scared as at my beginning.
    But everything went alright and I passed a short but cozy night in this hostel anywhere in San Salvador.
    But the next day it continued and I could not buy the tourist card for Cuba as thought at the airport for 20$ because they had no more left!! So I had to buy it at the airport in Cuba for 80$! Yeah but that's always better than not to have the possibility to fly to Cuba. ;-)
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  • Up early for breakfast in a cute cafe.

    Then its a 6 hour van journey to the beach!

    On the way we stop at a shopping mall! I am in heaven - an El Salvadoran mall! The group vote was to wait to have lunch an hour and a half away rather than at the mall which meant lunch at 4pm!

    Mad - there was a KFC there which had my name on it! We therefore had only 20 minutes which meant speed walking to check out the mall and get soaks band aids and stock up on food from the supermarket the hotel is 7km from town and may be overpriced like the Guatemalan jungle resort.
    Went at it like a maniac but KFC had to be dropped - devastated but I got everything else.

    Arrive at the hotel which is shacks near the beach with two hut restaurants and a bar overlooking a gorgeous beach. Have a quick dip in the pool then have my avocado and tomato roll then straight into a hammock with an ocean view with two margaritas as its happy hour! Bliss!

    The rest of the tour group has yet to order their lunch.

    This time I was given an even bigger knife to cut my tomato and as I walked past our tour group they wanted to know if I traveled with this knife! I looked a real sight!

    So rest of the day spent in the hammock and had dinner laying on a beach chair listening to the ocean.

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  • Santa Ana was somehow a weird place. We stayed at Casa Verde which was definitely one of the best places I've stayed so far. The owner Carlos took really good care of everybody and over the years he collected ideas from travelers how to improve the hostel. Every dorm bed had it's own fan, reading light & socket. At the foot of the bed there was a furniture to store your backpack with different hangers for towels and all kinds of things. As a courtesy to other people in the room there was also a plastic box for smelly footwear. Additionally everybody got it's own locker with another socket and 2 USB-plugs inside.
    The common areas were really nice and clean. There were 2 kitchens with lots of spices and herbs to use. Also free coffee beans to grind yourself and make fresh coffee. The place was really inviting to stay longer.
    But somehow Santa Ana itself wasn't really. The hostel was in the commercial area and after we went out for dinner everything on the 5 minute walk from the restaurant (which was the only nice place around) to the hostel was closed and dark. There were a lot of homeless people in one street but otherwise we didn't meet anybody.
    The next morning we had a great breakfast and after a stroll over the busy market we got back on the bus to get to the "Rutas de las Flores".
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  • Juayúa was our first stop along the Rutas de las Flores.
    I never quite figured why it's called Rutas de las Flores. Other than expected there are not a lot of flowers. It's just a few brightly colored colonial towns along a winding road - but maybe these picturesque towns are supposed to be the flowers.
    Juayúa was the biggest of the 3 towns we visited with a population of 10,000. It is famous for it's weekend "feria gastronomica" with a lot of stands selling lots of good food. We spend the afternoon there trying different things. I had mashed yuca with some toppings and a whole pineapple filled with fresh juice and rum. ☺
    The next morning we took a little hike up to "Los Chorros de Calera" - a series of waterfalls. The fascinating thing here was that the water just seemed to be coming out of the fractured cliff wall and not from a river or something.
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  • Ataco was even smaller than Juayúa but still a little nicer with lots of murals on the exterior walls of the houses. We explored the town and went up to Mirador de la Cruz de Ataco from where we had a good view over the town and the surrounding mountains and volcanoes. We also saw a professional "documentary" been shot up there - a guy was holding a picture of different beer bottles and on the count of three he let it fly away with the wind. Luckily it was attached to a nylon string so it wouldn't really fly away as they had to shoot this part a few times 😅.
    Later Sebastian and I went for dinner and ordered some specialty and were pretty excited about that. When the food arrived and it was a big soup with some vegetables and fruits and a whole chicken leg in it we were a little disappointed first. But even though it wasn't what we expected it still tasted really good.
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  • Apaneca was our last stop along Rutas de las Flores. We went here to go ziplining. The tour was a lot of fun. It was only the three of us so we never had to wait long and did just go from one line to the next. Some were really high and long and we had amazing views over the landscape. We walked around town after the tour but there wasn't much to see which we hadn't seen in the two other stops before. So we jumped back on the bus to head for the beach.Read more

  • After over 3 weeks I was finally back at the beach!
    Los Cobanos was a really quiet place with not a lot of tourists. It was one of these places that might fill up with locals heading from the city to the beaches on weekends but as we got there during the week we kind of had it to ourselves. We stayed at Casa Garrobo which seemed to be the only place that had guests at all. It was right at the beach and except for hanging out there and wander along the beach to watch the locals prepare freshly caught fish or check out one of the many empty restaurants there was not much more to do.Read more

  • The whole idea started with Andrew who wanted to watch a soccer match in Sonsonate. The game was at night but as there wouldn't be any bus to go back to Los Cobanos from Sonsonate he tried to find someone to take him there. That's how he met Charly the owner of a Tienda/Comedor close to our hostel. Charly offered to take him there and when we all suddenly got really excited and wanted to join he got his friend driving all of us in his mini van.
    The game was Sonsonate vs. San Miguel and apparently it was a really big game for the country.
    The stadium was pretty small but everybody there got really excited about us. Some guy showed up and kept on buying us drinks and all kind of food they were selling in the stadium. He made sure we didn't feel bad about him spending money on us by showing us a huge stack of dollars from his pocket.
    He asked us lots of questions about germany and if we could help him go there. When he asked Sebastian to take something for him to Germany we figured it's best to not speak spanish anymore.
    The first half of the game we watched from our "seats" on the steps close to Charly and our other new friend. But when the second half started we decided we want some more action and joined the crowed singing and dancing right behind the goalpost.
    We had a lot of fun there and I guess we made our way in a lot of selfies by the local soccer fans.
    Unfortunately Sonsonate lost and this made people leave even before the game was over. But we stayed till the very end.
    After the game our new friend asked us to join everybody for one beer in a bar close by. We decided one beer couldn't hurt and followed these guys out of the stadium. This is when it got a little weird. To enter the bar you had to knock on the door. Before they would open they always checked the street. People in the bar were really friendly (when I almost used the wrong bathroom the whole bar started pointing me to the female bathroom - which was in the kitchen). But when our new friend invited us to his home and we declined everybody became really pushy about us going with him. Only Freddy said that it was probably better to go home. So we decided not to push our luck and just get out of there. Now they all got really pushy. People followed us out of the bar and even tried to convince our driver to take us to the house of our new friend. So we were pretty happy when we were all sitting in the van heading back to Los Cobanos. We asked Charly about the guy but the only thing he said was that he is a friend but it's not a good idea to go with this people when everybody is really drunk.
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Republic of El Salvador, El Salvador, Ɛl Salvadɔ, ኤል ሳልቫዶር, السلفادور, Сальвадор, Ел Салвадор, Salivadɔr, এল সালভাদোর, ཨེལ། སཱལ་ཝ་ཌོར།, Salvador, El Salfador, El Salvadɔ nutome, Ελ Σαλβαδόρ, Salvadoro, السالوادور, El Salwador, An tSalvadóir, એલ સેલ્વાડોર, El Salbador, אל סלבדור, अल साल्वाडोर, Սալվադոր, Salvadoria, エルサルバドル, სალვადორი, Elsavado, អែលសាល់វ៉ាឌ័រ, ಎಲ್ ಸಾಲ್ವೇಡಾರ್, 엘살바도르, ئێلسالڤادۆر, Salvatoria, El salivado, Savadɔrɛ, ເອຊາວາດໍ, Salvadoras, Savadore, Salvadora, എല്‍ സാല്‍വദോര്‍, အယ်လ်ဆာဗေးဒိုး, Ersarbador, एल् साल्भाडोर, Lo Salvador, ଏଲ୍ ସାଲଭାଡୋର୍, Salwador, Ël Salvador, سالوېډور, Eli Saluvatori, एल-साल्वाडोर, Salvadöro, එල් සැල්වදෝරය, Salvadori, Салвадор, எல் சால்வடார், ఎల్ సాల్వడోర్, เอลซัลวาดอร์, ʻEle Salavatoa, ئەل سالۋادور, ال سلواڈور, Salvadorän, Orílẹ́ède Ẹẹsáfádò, 萨尔瓦多, i-El Salvador