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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.
  • El Salvadorian-Estonian Wedding 👰🏽💁🏼‍♂️ & Couchsurfing-Wiedersehen 🐶

    Bevor wir uns auf den Weg nach El Salvador machen dürfen, brauchen wir ein Weiterreiseticket, dass wir auch ja nicht in die Versuchung kommen, in El Salvador bleiben zu wollen. Also buchen wir unseren Flug nach Costa Rica (+Rückflug) mit unserem in Boston neu erstandenen (u.a. für die Anfertigung dieses Blogs 😉) am Flughafen in Washington D.C. Kurz danach stellen wir fest, dass der nächste Flughafen-Mitarbeiter dieses Ticket gar nicht sehen will... 🙄

    In El Salvador holt uns das Hochzeitspärchen Stephanie Michelle & Erik vom Flughafen ab. Am Abend sehen wir auch David wieder, unseren liebenswerten Couchsurfing-Host vom letzten Jahr, genauso wie seinen blinden 14 Jahre alten Hund "Mosh" und seine neue verrückte (auch halbblinde) Hündin "Linda", die er beide mehr oder weniger von der Straße gerettet hat. In dem selben sehr hübschen Zimmer mit eigenem Bad kommen wir auch für die nächste Woche unter. 🤗

    Wir lassen es zuerst sehr ruhig angehen und verbringen entspannte Tage mit den Hunden zu Hause und in der Stadt, sortieren und waschen unsere Sachen und schlafen mal wieder aus. Das erste wirkliche Durchschnaufen nach der Abreise aus Deutschland und das tut gut! 😌 Wir gehen ab und an mit David aus und besuchen u.a. ein Foodfestival, Bars und essen viele, seeehr viele Pupusas (das typische Salvadorianische Nationalgericht, bestehend aus Maisfladen mit Käse, Fleisch, Käse, Gemüse, Käse, Bohnenpaste und noch mehr Käse). Diese gibt es an jeder Ecke und zwar für wenig Geld. Drei Fladen gibt es teilweise schon für 1$! 😋

    Und dann kommt der eigentliche Grund unseres Besuchs in El Salvador, wenn nicht generell in Mittelamerika: die Hochzeit! 💍🎩
    Michelle (Salvadorianerin), ehem. Arbeitskollegin von Jessy aus Dublin, und ihr zukünftiger Ehemann Erik (Este). Die Hochzeit findet in einer kleinen Kapelle statt und ist fast komplett auf Spanisch, was die mitgereisten Esten, wie auch den Bräutigam selbst nicht weiter stört, denn anschliessend gibt's ne ordentliche Feierei! 👏🏻

    Die Zeremonie im großen und ganzen war sehr herzlich gestaltet wie auch die Worte des Pastors, die Hochzeitsgelübte von Braut und Bräutigam inklusive einiger Tränen und der Gesang in der Kirche. Die Hochzeit an sich war pompöser als normalerweise in Deutschland.

    Die Braut sah traumhaft aus, was auch der Pastor mehrmals betonte! In El Salvador bzw. Mittel-/Lateinamerika darf das Make-up gern etwas mehr ausfallen, der Glitter an Kleid und Handtasche noch ein wenig mehr und die Schuhe so hoch sein, dass sie eher zum Sitzen geeignet wären 👠💄👛 Es gab ebenfalls fünf gleich gekleidete Brautjungfern für Michelle wie auch fünf Brautführer für Erik, 3-4 Blumenkinder, quasi alles was eine Hochzeit so umfasst. 😄

    Das Pärchen hat sich für die Feier in den Innenhof des Holiday Inn eingemietet, wo viel getanzt und getrunken, dann gegessen und anschliessend wieder getanzt und getrunken wird! 💃🏼🚶🏼

    So schön die Hochzeit auch war und wir einen wunderbaren Abend verbringen durften, gab es am nächsten Tag einen Rückschlag.
    Am frühen Morgen geht's leicht verkatert an den Strand, wo wir noch mal von Michelles Vater vor der starken Strömung gewarnt werden... Wir kannten diese auch schon vom letzten Jahr und waren recht vorsichtig. Ein älterer Este hat diese unterschätzt, schwimmt zu weit raus und kommt nicht mehr lebend aus dem Wasser. Nach dem Kampf gegen die Wellen stirbt er an einer Hirnblutung, was die nächsten Tage verständlicher Weise, stark beeinflusst....

    In den nächsten Tagen schlendern wir durch die Stadt, gehen Joggen, besuchen das anthropologische Museum und genießen die Abende mit unserem Gastgeber David in verschiedenen Pupusa-Gaststätten.
    Michelle und Erik mussten sich die Tage natürlich vorrangig um die Organisation der Verbrennung, Überführung nach Estland etc. kümmern. Den letzten Abend vor unserer Abreise verbringen wir dann aber doch nochmal mit der Hochzeitsgesellschaft und grillen und geniessen den tollen Ausblick beim...jaaa...Pupusa-Essen. 😉

    Die Stimmung war wieder etwas besser nachdem klar war, dass der verstorbene Este schon zuvor ein Problem mit hohem Blutdruck hatte und Medikamente nahm. Demnach hätte es quasi jeden Moment passieren können. Nichtsdestotrotz verdunkelte das Erlebnis diesen Aufenthalt natürlich für alle Beteiligten.

    Hinweis am Rande: Jessy hat 2 Katzenbabies auf einer stark befahrenen Strassenkreuzung gerettet und sie in die Obhut von 2 überglücklichen Passantinnen gegeben. 🐱🐱

    Highlights Jessy: Hochzeit und Wiedersehen mit Steph, gerettete Katzenbabies

    Highlights Philipp: tropische Früchte, Pupusas, Hochzeit, US-Wahlabend
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  • How long: 4 Nights
    Stayed: Casa Mazeta
    Travelling with: Solo and Tom

    Beautiful trip along the coast to Sonsonate. So many stunning beaches. Easy change in Sonsonate and on to Juayua on the hottest chicken bus in the world. Mashed in beside a poor little old man who I was sweating all over. Great chats and he offered to take me out driving following day and show me the countryside. Asked if I had friends in Juayua and when I said no that I was alone, I corrected me and said I had him as he was now my friend. So nice :)
    Arrived at Casa Mazeta early evening and met the only two other guests...Erin who I had shared a dorm with in El Tunco, and Kane...both Aussies. Lovely homely hostel....just like a cosy house share. Cooked for the first time in weeks (months) and spent the evening watching movies with my housemates. Kane was planning to do the waterfall tour next day so decided to jump in with him ....despite the lingering cold.
    Set off at 8am with Kane and our guide Elmer and Billie the dog from the hostel. Picked up out second guide Jose and 2 more dogs at his house and off we went. What a wonderful day! Hiking through coffee finca first and then through stunning rain forest to the first of the 7 waterfalls I the day. Elemer was very informative about the landscape and particularly the coffee finca. He's been guiding for 12 years....despite looking like he was still 12. For the next 5 hours we walked through stunning hills and waterfalls and even got to grapple down one which was great fun. At the last one the boys made us a delicious lunch and then we headed for home. Probably one of the most enjoyable hikes of my trip so far!!
    Flaked on the couch after a little walk around town to check out Juayua. My cold definitely catching up with me. Was still on the couch when Tom arrived a few hours later. Had a little wander with him and then back to the hostel to cook and slob some more.
    Next day headed off on the chicken bus with Tom to check out more of the towns on the Ruta. Beautiful drive through the countryside, unfortunately the flowers that give this route it's name are not in bloom at the moment. It's still very beautiful but i'd say when they are in bloom it is something else. First stop was Ataco. Beautiful little town about 30 mins from Juayua. Much more touristy but like so much of El Sal there were no gringos in sight...apart from us of course. We spent the next few hours wandering around and checking out all the beautiful murals. Small cobbled streets and colourful houses abound. Had lunch in a little garden place that I think was Italian and was bizarrely playing Christmas songs in Italian...Andrea Bottelli Christmas compilation is my guess. Very funny. Bit more wandering and souvenir buying and then jumped back on the chicken bus and made our way to Apanece.
    Much smaller and less cute than Ataco but still nice. Not much to attract the tourists so it was quiet. Had a quick lap of the town and then back on the bus for home. Juayua was bustling and people set up for the weekend food festival. Back to the hostel and the evening bus deposited 3 Irish (Eoin, Majella & Eilis) to Casa Mazeta. Yay...people to watch the match with :)
    Up at 7 next morning to watch poor Ireland getting hammered by Belgium. 4 very subdued Irish on the couch by the end. Then onto the rugby...more disappointment . Had planned to move to suchitoto but really couldn't manage to drag myself away from the home comforts of Casa Mazeta so decided to stay another night. Went to check out the food festival with the Irish and Tom in the afternoon and later that night roused ourselves from our laziness and headed out with Susanna (who jointly owns the hostel) and some of her friends. Live music and good company led to a fun night and of course bitter end Roche stayed on with the two local boys when the others very sensibly went home(the Irish were hiking next day so they called it a night at a very sensible hour). Had great Spanglish chats with Cesar and his brother Diego and then they walked me back to the hostel after we had exhausted all options to find some Bachata....me of course.
    Needless to say my plan to be up and out by 8am for the long trip to Suchitoto went out the window next morning. Finally got on the road by 10....long day and 5 chicken busses ahead.
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  • After another night of chatting with locals and their kids at a church in the small town of Chilata, we decided to split up to try two different routes to the coast. Antoine and Joe took the adventurous route up onto a high ridge road, while the two of us opted to descend to the coast sooner and ride the winding "Sun and Beach Route" to La Libertad. We got a 6 am start since we knew it was going to be hot on the coast, and quite enjoyed riding up, down and around the numerous coastal headlands, especially since surprise tunnels made the little hills even smaller. We made good time to La Libertad, pushing to stay ahead of the heat, and then luckily managed to bump into Antoine and Joe after a quick tour of the Malecon. It sounded like we may have made the better route choice...Read more

  • We missed meeting up with Karl's Aunt Jodi, who came down to El Salvador to a friend's beach rental house a month before we got there. Luckily for us she very kindly treated us to a couple nights of accomodation at Rancho Tranquilidad when we finally made it to Playa San Diego. What an amazing treat to relax poolside for a day with a beautiful kitchen and air-conditioned rooms. Antoine cooked up some delicious meals including crepes loaded with fruit from the passing fruit truck, and we did a lot of reading and relaxing (and Karl still managed to find a way to be helpful by cleaning the pool in his snorkel gear!). Thanks Jodi!Read more

  • How long: 2 nights
    Stayed:
    Travelling with: Solo

    Had reservations about going to San Sal as it doesn't have a good rep. But had to head there for camera fixing and also my friend Jane had put me in touch with a friend who lives there so figured had to check it out.
    Easy hour and half bus ride got me bus terminal occidente and plumped straight for a taxi...there are times to try and navigate the local city bus transport but decided this wasn't one of them .
    Got to hostel and after quick rest headed off in search of the camera shop. Zona Rosa (where my hostel was) is upscale SS with lots of poshish shops and restaurants and even an Irish bar. Totally safe and really quite dull. Found the camera shop and explained and the looked and said no sorry we don't repair...then his colleague had a look and laughed and said it's the filter...not the lens!! So embarrassed but also so happy...my expectations of a possible $600 for a new lens became $25 for new filter. Kicking myself for not realising and thus causing an unnecessary trip to San Sal. Note to self....learn about your bloody camera!
    Caught in massive rain on way back to hostel so arrived like drowned rat! Part of life at this time of year.
    Natalia and her boyfriend Diego picked me up a few hours later and took me out for the evening. Such a lovely couple and so generous with their time. Had some typical el salvadorian food and then for some popular el salvadorian entertainment. ...karaoke! Not my favourite pastime but great fun to watch Natalia and all her friends have a blast. What a lovely bunch of 25 year olds....I really felt old.
    Sunday spent at museum and art gallery. Tried to get to a local market but rain came down like nothing on earth so after sheltering for about 40 mins resorted to jumping jnto a very expensive taxi and to a mall to pass the afternoon.
    Monday into Centro to check out the manic mercado central and the Centro historico, including Inglesia Rosario which is a pretty ugly looking church from the outside but step into a little stained glass paradise.
    A few trials with buses getting out of the city but eventually managed to get myself very sweatily into a bus to El Tunco. San Sal exceeded albeit low expectations but happy enough to be leaving it behind and heading for the beach.
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  • How long: 2 nights
    Stayed: Case Verde Hostel
    Travelling with: Susan

    Up early and after a delicious brekkie at Mama's we jumped on the chicken bus back to Ahuachapan and then got a mototaxi (tuk tuk) to Santa Theresa Thermales. These are natural hot springs about 7km outside Ahuachapan where we spent a very nice and relaxing few hours soothing out weary bones in the hot water. We then got a lift back to town from the owner who was happy to meet us as his hero...one Donald Trump was apparently from Irish heritage. He was not impressed with the ferocity with which this was denied. I couldn't get over how a Latin American could support that shit but when I realised he was also a staunch Arena supporter it made a lot more sense. I was unusually reserved in my politics tho....was happy with the lift and didn't want to be ejected into the rain :)
    He dropped us to the chaotic market where the bus for Santa Ana was departing and off we went on yet another packed chicken bus. Arrived in Santa Ana in early evening and made our way to Casa Verde with the help of many friendly locals...and I bought a $3 outfit along the way.
    Casa Verde turned out to be a really lovely hostel run by a great guy called Carlos who was super hostel. He recommended we eat in a place called Simmer Down and even got one of the guys working in the hostel to drive us there. Lovely meal and then home where we met up with Carlos and some of his buddies and had a few beers with them and checked out the roof terrace. Nice view of Santa Ana and we got to experience "Il Sereno" which is basically the neighbourhood watch and consists of a guy cycling around town all night (with a massive fun of course) and blowing a whistle every few metres to let the people know I is there keeping them safe. Apparently a lot of towns have their own Il Serena.
    Next day got up early and headed off to climb Santa Ana volcano with two guys from the hostel...Wei from Singapore and Juan from NZ. Caught a bus at 7.30 to take us to this national park where we had to wait til eleven for the tour to go up. Only one tour per day as you have to have an armed police escort and I guess they not into hiking too much. As we waited we saw 9 bus loads of teenage school kids pull up and as we tried to convince ourselves that there was no way they were doing the hike, the dread did start to set in. At 11 we saw them start to gather and panic set in so we went to investigate where we were told that they were doing a different volcano (phew) BUT the only two police there were going with them so we couldn't do Santa Ana. Gutted but no amount of pleading could change it. So we hung about despondantly for a while and were about to give up when a pick-up full of shiney new police turned up and after much pleading the boss agreed to take us up. So off we went (at a sprint) with our own personal heavily armed police man...who was evidently in a hurry as we did the two hour climb in 45 mins! But oh was it so worth it!! Such amazing views and a reminder...if I needed it...of why I was travelling. Another sprint back down and the 4 of us loaded into the back of the police pickup and dropped to the next town to get the bus home. A nearly disastrous day turned into an exceptional experience.
    Nice chilled night back in Case Verde to round off a really good day.
    Up and out next morning to check out the Saturday market in Santa Ana and then pack up and go out separate ways. Susan heading on to Honduras and I making my way back to San Salvador to try and get camera fixed and then decide where next for me in El Sal. So much to see in this wonderful country that I felt I couldn't leave yet so opted to stay longer. Susan unfortunately on a tighter schedule so she had to press on.
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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