El Salvador
Departamento de Ahuachapán

Here you’ll find travel reports about Departamento de Ahuachapán. Discover travel destinations in El Salvador of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.

14 travelers at this place:

  • Day1

    Arrival in Ahuachapán (11/8/2018)

    November 8 in El Salvador

    Leslie Oakes drove Rich, Tim, Terry and me to the airport.  We left the church at 6 am.  The check-in line for those who had done online check-in wasn't very long.  What was amazing was that the line for TSA-Pre security  was considerably longer than the regular security line.  The flight was fine. The flight was almost over before I figured out which earphone jack got you sound (thank you Rich).  But by that time it was a bit late to start a movie.  But I had stuff to read so I was fine.  The Immigrations line was slow and we saw John Ellis, whose flight got in 45 minutes after ours, in line not that far behind us.  For those who tender it, the airport has done away with the Red/Green light - no more drama.

    Jhenny meet us after we retrieved our bags, took us to where Frank and  Nina (pronounced Nine-na)  were sitting and went back for John.  Then Fernando took most of us to find the toilets before we started the 2 hour drive to Hotel Atillo (our home away from home for the next 8 days).

    Today I spent time getting to know Nina, John and Terry (Tim would call it "talking their ears off").  They are all very interesting people and I am looking forward to getting to know them better during the week.

    It was great to see Meme and Marilyn again.  Brian dropped by to introduce himself.  It was good to see him again, too.  We won't be working on the school we were scheduled to work on because the permits still haven't come through.  There will be roofing and dry walling to do at the project we will be working on.  Tomorrow we will be working with the team that is already here (it will be their last day).  I am looking to see what God has planned for us. 

    After a delicious Chicken soup/stew everyone but Nina tried down to the Supermercado for ice cream, Gatorade, snacks and whatever else took our fancy.  I bought a coffee mug so I don't use styrofoam (that makes John Ellis and the environment happy).

    I am going to try to get to bed earlier than I normally do because Jhenny and I are going walking at the very track tomorrow morning.  Going to Central Time is like going through the time change again  (falling back one more time).  Can't wait to start working tomorrow.
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  • Day2

    ‍Jhenny and I walked before breakfast this morning.  I did the first devotion this morning and Tim agreed to do the evening devotion.  Brian arrived at 8 and we left for the work site.  Shortly after we arrived the team from Georgia arrived.  The first job was to move the dry wall into the church to be installed.  Although it was heavy I was able to help pick it up and carry it with the help of 2 or 3 others.  Tim and Rich worked with the Salvadoran workers to measure the drywall segments that needed to be to cut to install on the wall.  Frank, Nina and I smoothed out and leveled the dirt where the cement would be poured to complete the sidewalk around the church.

    When we finish that, we were asked to select 3 or 4 people to go with the Georgia team to distribute the food.  I volunteered and Nina agreed to go, too.  I spoke with Tim and he suggested I ask Terry.  Terry agreed and we went to give out food.  I was in the group with the two women from the Georgia team and Nina and Terry were in the other group.  I always learn new things when I deliver the food.  One family had a son in the Navy and I learned a lot about being in the military.

    When we finished up we returned to the work site and Nina and I helped with the group clearing the cut down plants.  I borrowed the wheelbarrow to move the stuff to the pile of cuttings and trash.  Soon it was time to go to the Missioner's residence for lunch.  After lunch we returned to the work site.   As we were heading back Brian told me we would be going to the school for dinner and the marching band would be performing.  We would leave the hotel at 4 pm and need to be at the school by 5 pm.

    We didn't finish up until well after 4 and it was much later by the time we got back to the hotel.  We rushed to change and then headed to the school.  The marching band, majorettes and a rhythm dance group performed.  They were very good.  There was also a girl there that retrieved batons, wiped sweat from the dancers' faces and when helped with hair problems. - all white the other girls continued to perform.  A lot of the music played was Christian Praise music.  After the performance we had pupusas for dinner and a sugar cookie for dessert.  After eating, I went upstairs to see the upper level addition to the school - very impressive. Then we returned to the hotel and everyone decided to take showers and head to bed. 

    It has been an interesting first day.  It was definitely a day to work on being flexible.  But the day was filled with many pleasant surprises and I once again learned a bit more about El Salvador and life here.
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  • Day3

    ‍Jhenny and I went walking again this morning.  At breakfast I asked for volunteers to go in the morning and afternoon to deliver food.  This is better than "springing” it on them a few minutes before they are to leave to distribute the food.  I don't know why it took me so long to come up with this approach.

    After breakfast and devotions, Carlos picked us up and (surprise) took us to the Missioners' Residence to pack the bags for the Feeding Program.  Once we finished being the food we headed to the work site.  When Fernando got the he told us that we would only be distributing food in the morning.  Rich, Nina and John went to distribute food.

    Tim is the team foreman and figures out what the jobs are for the day and which jobs each of us can do.  My first job today was to help Tim cut the dry wall and hand the sections up to Terry and Jhenny. I also added as gopher for supplies they needed.  It was a good job for me since I don't have the construction skill set for the more involved jobs.  Frank continued working on making and spreading the cement for the sidewalk.  That work work took us almost through lunch.  The three food distributers got back a little before we went to lunch.  John and Nina cut the paper strips that will be needed for the drywall mudding.  Rich helped  install the rest of the lower level drywall. After lunch John showed Nina, Rich and me how to do the initial drywall mudding.  It took a while to get the hang of it.  Both John and Tim had to remind us a couple of times that we need to smooth the mud to reduce excessive sanding when it dries.  John was a good and patient teacher.

    When we finished, Aroche did a worship service for us.  I missed the singing part because I was cleaning up the mudding tools.  Jhenny acted as translator.  The sermon was on gratitude.  It was very good.  I was surprised at how much of what Aroche said I understood without having to wait for Jhenny to translate.

    Then it was back to the hotel for dinner and devotion and a time to talk about our impressions.  Then the nightly walk to the grocery store for Ice cream.

    The drive, in the back of a pickup truck, to and from the work site has been very interesting each day.  The road is bumpy and narrow in spots.  Each day we have seen a man on a motor cycle with a baby sitting on his lap wearing a pink helmet when we head for the work site and when we head back to the hotel in the afternoon. There is a man on a house driving his cattle one direction on the when we head for the work site and in the other direction when we head back to the hotel.  The are always fearless dogs on the roads as well as approaching buses and trucks on the basis road.  As Rich pointed out, it is amazing any cars have side view mirrors.  And most cars we pass have their side view mirrors.  It is a sign of the web and flow of the population. 

    Tomorrow we will go to Ataco.  There the team can do some shopping and I can enjoy a cappuccino or two.

    This was a very good work day.  I think everyone felt they had contributed and enjoyed the jobs they were involved with.  And most were tired in a good way when we returned.  We are gelling as a team.
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  • Day4

    Third Day in Ahuachapán (11/11/2018)

    November 11 in El Salvador

    ‍For breakfast we had eggs, "drunken beans" which are red beans with green peppers and onions and sausage. We also had El Salvadoran quesadillas.  They are more like sweet cornbread made with yellow cornmeal and cheese - very good. 

    After breakfast we had devotions and then got ready for the drive to Ataco for souvenir shopping.  John and I went into the Textile shop.  John got coffee and I got a cappuccino.  Brian was also there.  The rest of the group hiked up to the cross and then did a bit of shopping and then returned to the Textile shop.   I made veryone show me what they had purchased in Ataco. While we were all together, we decided on our free day activity for Wednesday - we are going to the Volcano National Park and the Tazumal Mayan ruins.

    Then we got back in the van and headed for Entre Nubis for lunch.  After we ordered our lunch we took a short tour of the coffee plantation at Entre Nubis and then enjoyed lunch. I got chicken enchiladas.  El Salvadoran enchiladas are more of a sandwich made of two small tortillas with chicken and cheese with a dab of refried black beans on top. I also got a 1/2 cup of chicken soup. After lunch there was a little bit of time for those who wished to buy coffee and jewelry. 

    Then we headed back to the hotel to get ready for church.  Today we attended La Gloria.  This was a special treat for Tim, Rich, Jhenny and me.  We had worked on the right hand side wall of the church in 2016.  The sermon was about the seeds in the good soil that produce fruit.  The minister related all the acts of service/mission and caring and kindness to the good fruit. Fruit from churches all over the world. Fruit that spreads love and the gospel.  After the service we got a tour of the church.  It was wonderful to see the finished product.

    Then it was back to the hotel for a short rest and then dinner.  Jhenny had bought us some of the local fruit from the area.  So we ended the meal with the fruit.  Everyone enjoyed their favorite.

    After dinner we had devotions and a time of reflection and then some of us headed to the store for ice cream.  I am probably the driving force behind the treks to the store for ice cream.  I hope some of the team will continue to humor me by going every night.

    It was a restful day where we enjoyed each other's company and enjoyed sharing laughter and kidding with each other and becoming friends.  Becoming friends may not always be mentioned when people talk about their mission experiences, but for me becoming friends is one of the things I treasure most about the mission.
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  • Day5

    Fourth Day in Ahuachapán (11/12/2018)

    November 12 in El Salvador

    ‍‍Today Jhenny, Frankie and Tim delivered food.  Before they left, we discussed what the tasks are that needed to be done and who best to do them. There were two tasks. One was to put up the remaining drywall in the upper area. The other was to sand the mudding done yesterday on the lower level and tape over the seams and remud the seam and surrounding area. Terry worked with one of the workers to put up the last of the drywall and then started helping the guys working on the roof.  Rich, Nina and I did the sanding, taping and mudding. John showed us what to do; checked our work and did a little mudding and and taping.  A little before we were supposed to head over for lunch Tim, Jhenny and Frank returned.  Tim checked out of mudding efforts and Jhenny and Frank joined with Terry helping the workers on the roof.

    After lunch we returned and Tim and Rich began taping and mudding the upper level with John acting as gopher for them.  Nina and I began sanding the tape and doing any required remudding on the lower level.  Once we had gotten as far as we could on that, Nina and I moved on to other jobs.  I helped as a gopher with Jhenny for the guys on the roof  (Frank did most of the heavy lifting for that job). 

    As the work was winding down, a man brought over corn from his garden that he had boiled for us using our bottled water.  The corn was still in the husks and hot off the oven and it was delicious.

    On the way back to the hotel we again passed the cows being herded down the road.
    Once we returned to the hotel we showered and had dinner and or evening devotion.  Terry have the devotion.  He said he had learned that a school friend had a stroke and he had been asked to pay for her.  He had felt inadequate not knowing what to pray for.  He said in the end he had prayed "Lord please take care of her.".  I thought that was the best prayer because God will always take care of us although not always the way we want.  But with that simple prayer you have basically asked that God's will be done.

    After the devotion, Tim, Terry and I went on the nightly walk to the grocery store for ice cream and a few other is and ends.  It was a wonderful day and we are making progress on the church.
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  • Day6

    ‍This was our last work day.  There were lots of jobs for us to work on today (helping with roof work; putting dry wall up on the front wall of the church; mudding and sanding the other ways of the church.   Three of us, Nina, Rich and I, delivered food.  We spent a long time taking with one or two members of each of the families we visited, except one woman who was ill.  Everyone else was talkative and had lots stories to tell.

    When we returned to the work site, it was almost time to head for lunch, so we began the clean up.  Then it was off to the Missioners' Residence for lunch. After lunch we returned to the work site.  At first we were considering delivering more food, but it would have entailed 30+ minutes of walking and the "foreman" preferred we spend our time working on the church.  I did sanding and some gofering.  Most of my gofering jobs were searching for nails/screws/tools and handing people water to add to the mud or helping lift drywall up to someone on the scaffolding.  I decided not to try working on the scaffolding.  I did not want to pull down the drywall if I lost my balance.  I also do had to give hand sanitizer to Aroche to wash out the cut on his foot.  Because it the hand sanitizer has alcohol in it, it evidently stings.  Next Carlos came over in need of a band-aid and we had to improvise with a Kleenex and masking tape.  He was hesitant for us to wash his cut out with the hand sanitizer, but I told him to quit whining.  So, I cleaned the cut, wrapped it with the Kleenex and tape it with the masking tape and he was good to continue working.

    All to soon it was time to clean up and say our goodbyes.  It is so sad to leave.  We have worked as a team these last few days and become friends despite the language barrier.  It has been a week of laughter and learning new skills and how best to leverage each person's strengths. 

    Dinner tonight was chicken tamales. For dessert we had apple parties mad by Marilu's daughter who is a pastry chef. They were excellent. Then Jhenny have us a piece of a cake that is filled with a layer of pineapple.  I have ordered a box of the cake to take back to the States.  There was no need for an ice cream run tonight.

    Tomorrow is our free day.  We will go to the Volcano National Park and then on to Tazumal with lunch at the beach.   And then we will prepare to head back to the States.  It will be hard to say goodbye to everyone.
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  • Day41

    Ataco

    February 6, 2017 in El Salvador

    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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  • Day42

    Apaneca

    February 7, 2017 in El Salvador

    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

  • Day58

    Abkühlen in Ataco

    April 28 in El Salvador

    Auf dem Weg nach Santa Ana machten wir einen Zwischenstopp in dem netten Ort Ataco. Bei den üblichen Temperaturen von weit über 30 Grad kam uns eine Abkühlung im Hochland von El Salvador sehr gelegen.

    Auf der Suche nach einer Herberge für die Nacht stießen wir per Zufall auf „La Posada de Don Oli“ was uns auf Anhieb super gefiel. Wir wurden sehr herzlich begrüßt und uns wurde ein leckerer Willkommenskaffee serviert. Später stellte sich heraus, dass dies das Haus des Bürgermeisters ist. 😁
    Am Nachmittag schlenderten wir durch die Straßen und erleichterten unseren Geldbeutel. Ataco ist bekannt für sein Kunsthandwerk.
    Am Abend fand im Dorf eine große Fiesta statt. Die Musikanlage bestand aus einer Boxenwand von mindestens 6x5 Metern.Die Musik war so laut, dass man es dort nicht aushielt. Ganz schön „loco“ die Salvadorianer 😄
    Zum Frühstück wurde uns wie schon so oft Gallo Pinto (Reis mit Bohnen) mit Spiegelei und einer süßen Kochbanane serviert.
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  • Day109

    Tacuba, El Salvador.

    June 7, 2016 in El Salvador

    How long: 2 nights
    Stayed: Mama y Papa hostel
    Travelling with: Susan

    Long old days travel but also quite enjoyable. El Salvador continues to surprise and impress with its amazingly friendly and helpful people.
    We got the chicken bus from outside Tortufa Verde to San Miguel, everyone we met saying hello and smiling warmly. In San Miguel we asked about our onward bus and were immediately snatched up and hurried to the waiting bus which was about to leave...fastest transfer in history. Reaching San Salvador a few hours later we were besieged by taxi drivers the minute we left the bus but they were not aggressive and when we decided to stop for something to eat one guy led us to a table at a nearby stall and left us with a polite "if you need a taxi later, remember me"
    Lunch was our first (of what was to become many) experience of the local dish "papusa" which is corn tortilla stuffed with local (salty) cheese and beans. Some places have chicken and fish or apoya (a spinachy type green) but cheese and beans is the standard. All served with pickled cabbage and a got tomato sauce. Served piping hot straight from the griddle and eaten with your fingers.....asbestos hands definitely coming in handy here :)
    Our lunch host was a lovely lady called Patti who we (Susan) had a great chat with and we ended up spending hours there chatting and deliberating our onward destination. Finally we decided to head to Ahuachapan which involved getting to one of the other bus stations in San Sal and getting the bus from there. Taxi man had hovered all afternoon and finally thought his luck was in when Patti whipped off her apron and announced she was driving us to the other station. And so she did!!! And came in with us and made sure we got safely on to the next bus....and checked in with us on facebook later to make sure we arrived safely! Such a gem!
    We changed in Ahuachapan and made our way to Tacuba on a very packed chicken bus where we were the center of attention....they don't get any gringos up there! Got off in Tacuba and were wandering a little aimlessly when an arm came out of a doorway and pointed us in the right direction. We arrived at Mama y Papas in the early evening and after a nice chat with mama we headed off to the local papusa place (daughters sent up to the hostel to collect us in case we got lost) and then had an early night ahead of our hike in El Impossible next day.
    Up and breakfasted and on our way mashed into the front of an old pickup by 8am. Eric our driver looked about 12 but apparently had been driving in the national park for 5 years....a fact I was very glad of as we were skidding all over the mountain track in a rain storm a few hours later. He dropped us off after about 30 mins and Avil took over....not a word of English so we were really going to have to test out limited Spanish. For the next 4 hours he walked us through the park through some spectacular countryside and gave us some facinating information on the local plants and their medicinal powers....none of which I can remember now of course. Absolutely stunning scenery but one really bad moment when i took out my camera to find that the lens was smashed! Trauma! And no idea when it happened!!
    After about 4 hours we got to the coffee finca belonging to mama and papa where the pickup would meet us. As we waited there we played with the 4 young kids of the couple who live there...the fifth was in school. Beautiful, well minded kids but they really had nothing. We found out later that the couple were both 26! According to mama there is a very high birth rate among the poor....the fault of which she lays very firmly at the door of the church....which was surprising considering her home was a mini shrine to the virgin Mary.
    After a very hairy journey where I did have visions of us plunging down a ravine in the deluge we got back to mamas and spent the evening watching the rain and the ducks in the back garden. Nice chilled evening and early to bed!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Departamento de Ahuachapán, Departamento de Ahuachapan, Ahuachapán

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