El Salvador
Departamento de Santa Ana

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  • Day52

    Highlights

    February 23, 2017 in Guatemala

    A fabulous trip! Here are my highlights in no particular order:

    - climbing up and sliding down an active volcano on a sled - Nicaragua
    - seeing volcanic lava close up - Nicaragua
    - swimming with the sharks, sting rays and turtles in Belize
    - the cenotes in Mexico
    - dolphin and sea lion experience in Cozumel Mexico
    - beautiful Antigua in Guatemala
    - relaxing in a beach resort in El Cuco El Salvador
    - the many Maya ruins
    - ziplining in Costa Rica
    - seeing how a grassroots coffee plantation in Panama works
    - staying in the Tree Tops Mountain Resort in Boquete Panama
    - seeing sloths in Costa Rica and Panama
    - Copan ruins in Honduras
    - Caye Caulker in Belize
    - Lake Suchitlan in El Salvador
    - the colourful colonial architecture
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  • Day342

    Parque Nacional Cerro Verde

    April 23, 2017 in El Salvador

    As we arrived in the national park everyone was just starting to pack up & by 5 there were a few policemen about. Shame as they missed a truly spectacular sunset with volcanoes poking up through a thick layer of clouds.

    After a peaceful night it got really busy in the morning, and we joined the guided (guide & 2 armed policemen) hike up the Santa Ana volcano, along with at least 50 other people, but unfortunately without Maya.

    It was a very pleasant walk & we were relieved to find it much easier than some of the other volcanoes we've tackled, although still a good couple of hours to the top. The view down into the bubbling & smoking sulphuric crater lake was pretty amazing.

    After some improvised showers (I had to take the indoor one out after it was leaking) we feasted on pupuseas (thick tortillas stuffed with good things) and chips. Phil even managed to improvise a chip butty out of them! It then cleared out again and we had another quiet night huddled in the van watching a film.
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  • Day59

    Santa Ana

    April 29 in El Salvador

    Der Aufenthalt in Santa Ana war definitiv kein Highlight.
    Bei einer Fahrradtour zu natürlichen Quellen kamen wir zum ersten Mal auf unserer Reise in eine heikle Situation:
    Bei den Schwimmbecken wurden wir von leicht angetrunkenen Einheimischen angesprochen. Zu Beginn waren sie noch freundlich und interessiert, hießen uns wilkommen „Mi país es tu país“ („Mein Land ist Dein Land“), aber nur wenige Minuten später erhebte einer der Betrunkenen plötzlich die Faust gegen uns. Uns blieb nichts anderes übrig als die Beine in die Hand zu nehmen und abzuhauen.. Alles nochmal gut gegangen.

    Damit dies aber nicht die einzige Erinnerung an Santa Ana bliebt, besuchten wir am Nachmittag noch die Ruinen einer alten Kunstschule und schlenderten durch die Straßen der recht chaotischen Stadt.
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  • Day39

    Santa Ana

    February 4, 2017 in El Salvador

    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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  • Day111

    Santa Ana, El Salvador

    June 9, 2016 in El Salvador

    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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  • Day64

    Tips for travelling in Central America

    March 7, 2017 in Guatemala

    1 Your shoes and feet will go through hell so take decent hiking shoes (with ankle support if you need it - I do) even if you are not doing lots of hiking. Also take decent wicking socks. A step further is to consider silk sock liners to help prevent blisters.

    2 A proper hiking stick or sticks would be useful if you have room

    3 Take some surf shoes - great for rocky beaches and protecting your feet in unknown waters. Also good for caves

    4 And still on shoes you need proper walking sandals that are designed to get wet and dry quickly. Ugly yes but worth it. You could use these as surf shoes as well. Keens and chacos get good reviews

    5 The humidity, salt water and heat is hard on your hair so take a really good conditioner

    6 Use mosquito repellent with picaridin or DEET. I prefer picaridin because its non greasy and odorless.

    7 Try and use bio degradable sunscreen so you don't harm the coral and sealife

    8 Don't bother to take makeup - the humidity will kill it in 5 minutes!

    9 A powder with corn starch will be your best friend. Slather it everywhere!

    10 In some places it will be so hot and humid that only a dress will keep you sane. Men you will have to suffer!

    11 A water proof bag for your stuff on all the day trip boat rides can be handy

    12 Take some US dollars. They are accepted everywhere and are handy when the atms don't work. Get lots of $1 for tips

    13 Take a surge protector so that electricity surges don't fry your electronics or, charge your power bank and use that to charge your electonics

    13A Take a power bank to charge your camera, tablet or phone on those long days

    14 Wi fi is everywhere but use a VPN to protect your personal data. I used Hidemyass (yes terrible name!) for the two months I was travelling. Nordvpn seems to get good reviews

    15 Back up your mobile photos in a cloud

    16 Carry all your travel documents on a usb and/or email them to yourself. But keep a hard copy of your travel insurance on you and your flights. Some countries will insist on proof of exit.

    17 Keep your passport number as a contact on your phone or take a photo of it

    17 Never ever travel without travel insurance

    18 When doing alot of short stays I swear by packing cubes and lightweight travel bags (I like the sea summit ones). That way everything is organised and its faster packing. The trick is to put all the cubes/bags in the same spot so packing is quick

    19 I love clothes that wick and dry quickly for travelling. I have t shirts and trousers and they are fantastic. They don't need as much washing and dry quickly. They are also good in both hot and cooler conditions. Try and take some lighter colours for the heat and keeping mosquitos at bay. I of course had all black! On the way back I bought a hideous beige travelling shirt which I will use next time! Its looks like a safari shirt! Yuk! Not sure why the travelling clothes have to be so ugly.

    20 Take a quick drying travel towel for the beach

    21 Rashies are great for keeping the sun at bay for those all day boat trips and snorkeling days. I also worn lycra like exercise shorts for extra protection.

    22 A quick drying cover up is great for those days you are spending in your swimming costume - helps with the sun protection but is cool

    23 Take some sort of medical kit - for this sort of trip I like to take good quality bandaids for blisters (I like the Compeed ones), to try and prevent the blisters and sore spots moleskin is handy, panadol, tablets for flu/colds, betadine for sore throats (I never travel without this now after not being able to get anything in Canada or the States that was anywhere near as good. Also they have a tiny bottle that you mix with water which is perfect for travelling), some sort of cream for bites/rashes (one with hydrocortisone is good), dencorub or similar for sore muscles (I used this alot!), antihistamines, malaria tablets, tiny bottle/tube antiseptic, remedy rescue, something for diarrhea and nausea when you have to travel, saline nose spray, lip balm, tooth brush/paste or small mouthwash and moisturiser for the plane, for the plane if I can't sleep I sometimes take Doxy, and some all purpose antibiotics. Some people on the tour swore by oral lomotil for an upset stomach and diarrhea. In Mexico chemists and stores like Walmart have whole aisles of medication for stomach issues and diarrhea! I used everything in my kit aside from the nausea/diarrhea medications.

    22 I like to have a set of clothes that I only wear inside that I also use as pjs. Preferably long sleeved for mosquito protection.

    23 A lightweight hat is a must. I like the cheap daggy ones you can get from target.

    24 Inexpensive sunglasses. On my last two trips I lost mine!

    25 Eyemask and eye plugs for the plane and noisy hotel rooms. Also good for travel days. Another handy item is a neck pillow which you will also use on the plane and on those long overland travel days

    26 Goes without saying you must have some sort of day pack

    27 I took a slash proof small handbag as well

    28 Lightweight slip on shoes for the plane - your surf shoes will do. Put these on when you go to the toilet to protect your socks! I love Fitkicks - light and super slim and you can use them as surf shoes.

    29 Flight socks are a must to aid against clotting. I also take a blow up cushion to rest my feet on as I'm short and it adds to the comfort. Also I can use it for exercising my feet by pushing my heels and toes up and down - another aniti clotting aid

    30 A lightweight rain jacket or poncho. Naturally I took both!

    31 A universal plug for hand washing in sinks. No hotel had plugs

    32 The cheese can be dodgy - I stopped eating it after too many dishes were spolit by the cheese!

    Happy travelling!
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  • Day248

    Lago Coatepeque Crater Ride

    April 6, 2016 in El Salvador

    Accessing and navigating the roads through the coffee fields seemed challenging, so we eventually opted to stick to paved roads and do the big loop down through the town of Santa Ana and back up toward the volcano. Karl's bike computer rolled over the 15,000 km mark as we rode out of Santa Ana, so we celebrated with ice cream... how typical! We climbed back up to the crater rim above Lago Coatepeque, which granted us beautiful views in both directions. Once again, we used the clouds as an excuse to skip climbing Volcan Santa Ana and turned our bikes down a wonderful descent on new asphalt back to the highway. We found water, ice cream, and WiFi at a gas station, and eventually decided on one of the many routes we could take to the coast.Read more

  • Day63

    Santa Ana - the city

    August 21, 2017 in El Salvador

    Santa Ana - the regional centre of the north west department of El Salvador, a city full of lovely people and hire possibly one of the best hostels in the world (Hostel Casa Verde- Carlos knows exactly what backpackers need, including a kitchen kitted out with a full spice rack!). Great base for exploring the region!

  • Day64

    Santa Ana - the volcano!

    August 22, 2017 in El Salvador

    Got a ride with some Slovenian guys who live in New Zealand to hike up to Volcan Santa Ana. Unfortunately lots of clouds meant no great views on the way up but the clouds managed to clear for us to see into the crater lake full of boiling water, made green by the sulfur. Checked out the beautiful Lago de Coatepeque on the way back. Volcanoes certainly make for some stunning landscape!

You might also know this place by the following names:

Departamento de Santa Ana, Santa Ana

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