El Salvador
Santa Ana

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

17 travelers at this place:

  • Day154

    Ein Leben auf dem Laufsteg

    June 19, 2018 in El Salvador ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    Santa Ana dürfte schon eher zeigen, wie El Salvador wirklich ist. Leider ziemlich dreckig. Obwohl Santa Ana im Vergleich zu San Salvador als schönes und beschauliches Städtchen gilt. Die Leute sind aber auch hier sehr freundlich und nicht wenige freuen sich überschwänglich uns zu sehen. Händeschütteln und Small-Talk inklusive. Zum Glück wurden wir sehr bescheiden erzogen und entwickeln daher keine Star-Allüren. Ich zumindest nicht. Als die schöne Sue ihre hell leuchtenden und im Wind wehenden Haare über die Schultern wirft, dürften viele den Eindruck vom roten Teppich mit mir geteilt haben. Auch die öffentlichen Busse - ehemalige amerikanische Schulbusse und herrlich farbig - sind eine Art Laufsteg. Ununterbrochen passieren Strassenverkäufer mit ihrer Ware den Bus, was selbst bei einem geplanten Grosseinkauf ein Aussteigen überflüssig macht. Und das alles zu unverschämt günstigen Preisen, wie sich das für Hehlerware halt so gehört. Man kriegt hier einfach alles. Ausser Pizza. Schade.

    Ansonsten wollte ich eigentlich noch ein Mind-Map der restlichen Aktivitäten machen, hatte dann aber doch keine Lust. Faule Sau eben. Gibt ja auch nicht soo viel zu mappen. Also eigentlich gäbe es nur zwei Arme: 1. Natur -> Hiken -> Vulkan Santa Ana -> schön und 2. Action -> Buggy fahren -> Laguna Verde -> lustig. Davon gibt es natürlich Fotos, werde daher keine weiteren Worte verschwenden. Hab nicht mehr so viele. Bevor wir uns weiter in Richtung Honduras bewegen, verbringen wir die nächsten zwei Nächte in Suchitoto. Hoffentlich schön dort.
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  • Day112

    Hanging out with friends

    October 30, 2018 in El Salvador ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    As you travel you will meet a lot of interesting people, and yesterday was like that 👍 met a German and a Belgian guy at the table in our perfect hotel. We started having a conversation and ended up having a great dinner at a good restaurant 👍 thanks guys 🤘

  • Day76

    Santa Ana

    July 9, 2018 in El Salvador ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    Knowing that most of my crew here at El Tunco were leaving, I woke and decided to pack. Everyone was out on a hike to see some waterfalls, but I couldn’t go due to my ankle, so when there returned back, I told them I was tagging along.
    The plan was to get Chicken busses over to here, only two, but it meant that we were spending $2.50 rather than $20 on a shuttle.
    We had some breakfast and headed off. It was all really easy!
    This was gonna be my rest from surfing and would give me a fun crew for watching the football.
    As I’d already climbed the volcano, and hostel had an awesome kitchen, I really didn’t have much to do. Still, the day the rest of the guys went and climbed it, myself and a guy called Niall set off on the Route Flores by chicken bus to see what it was all about. We left quite late and ended up rushin to Juyaua, but it was good, dark some good coffee in the heart of the plantations. It were good!
    Through weird connections, Alex, my housemate from Antigua Spanish school, showed up with his car. So when the guys headed off to Utila, I hitched a lift back to El Tunco as my ankle was better. Rl Salvador surf round two!
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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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  • Day59

    Santa Ana

    April 29, 2018 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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  • 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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  • 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!Read more

  • Day335

    V. CA El Salvador/W1, 6d: S Salv-St A EN

    July 30, 2017 in El Salvador

    Sa, 29.07. Border crossing Estelí, NI-El Espino, HN-El Amatillo-San Salvador, SV
    After exactly 2 weeks in beautiful Nicaragua I had to say goodbye and continue further north through Honduras (which I will visit later for the Copán Ruins) to El Salvador.
    As this country unfortunately does not have the best reputation about security, is skipped by most travellers and I thus did not really have any experiences I decided to spend more money for my security by taking TicaBus to cross the borders until the capital San Salvador. With $41 that was also the cheapest option of all tour operators and in my opinion with 35€ for a 10-12h drive through 3 countries with 2 border crossings also not that expensive - moreover, it was a super comfortable, seat adjustable traveller and direct bus incl toilet and WiFi and quite luxurious it was all already taken care of in the bus - I only had to be at the bus station 'Gasolinera UNO Norte/Antigua Texaco Star Mar' around 6:45am in the morning (the bus only arrived an h later though), fill in 3 forms in the bus as well as pay a total of $8 exit and entry fees for Nicaragua ($3 consisting of $2 government + $1 customs) and Honduras ($5 consisting of $3 entrance + $2 exit) - in Nicaragua I got a visa for 90 days which is counting for the 4 countries Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala (the so-called 'Tratados Centroamericanos' alliance). I then wrapped myself in warm clothes to cope with the AC and enjoyed the nice scenery: we first went 1,5h through Nicaragua's northern, super green mountain landscapes passing Somoto to the Hondurian border El Espino where we spent 30min (strangely I did not get an exit stamp, I hope that is okay), same time on the Hondurian side. Around almost 10:30am we started our 3-3,5h drive through Honduras and its very hilly, green landscapes (due to roadworks it took a bit longer) - the officers were already quite nice, saying they would welcome me with open arms in Honduras; I will thus definitively visit it as my already 61st country :) Around roughly 3h we then also already reached the Hondurian border El Amatillo. I got an exit stamp from Honduras but no entry stamp for El Salvador - after asking I was informed you only get a stamp when entering by plane, via bus it is only documented in the system; well I just hope I won't have any issues when exiting the country :P
    Around 2pm we then continued for another 3,5h via the as dangerous seen cities San Miguel, San Vicente and Cojutepeque until the capital San Salvador where we arrived around 5:30pm and then took another 30min through the peak traffic; I would honestly never have been able to make this journey and border crossings with public chicken buses, would have needed 1-2 nights additional accommodation and thus would have been definitively slower and at around the same price - so it was definitively worth it :)))

    Welcome to El Salvador! :)
    El Salvador is Central America's smallest and with around 6mio habitants most densely populated but less visited country. Despite its diversity with all the mountains (highest one is Cerro Pital with 2,730m in the north bordering Honduras), 22 volcanoes (of which 6 are active), 302km coastline everything is so incredibly close and the roads in such a good condition that you can easily relax on a beach in the morning and climb a volcanoe later the same day and it is mostly very hot. However, it is unfortunately also still feared and known as country of blood civil war and violent gangs of the 80/90s which has been 25y ago now (the peace declaration of the UN and Catholic Church was signed in 1992 and there is a strong continuous decline in criminality and murder rates since 2012). It is thus also still a hidden secret and people coming here will not only be rewarded with world class surf spots, lakes, volcanoes, mountains, coffee plantations as well as colonial towns and ruins but above all with the incredible hospitality of its honest and proud habitants plus super cheap 25ct Pupusas - corn tortillas filled with chicharrón (pork), frijoles (beans), queso (cheese) or revuelta (all together) as well as ayote (vegetables), often served with tomato sauce and curtido (spicy sauce of cabbage, beetroot and carrots) - finally something else than rice and beans plus some kind of good cheese :))); water is again available quite handy and environmental-friendly in 500ml plastic bags :P
    In spite of all my fears and the use of USD it is not that expensive: hostel prices are around $7-10 (pretty good ones; I am really surprised of the safe locations, quality, equipment, cleanliness, kitchen incl free water/coffee and good WiFi); food is really cheap, especially in the markets and pupuserias with 25-50ct for 1 pupusa, 25ct for 4 tortillas or in general 25ct or as they call it here 1 cora for a lot of fruit such as 5 bananas, 1 bag of mirabelles, 1 piece of papaya or an apple - only transport is cheaper, 1min bus ride usually costs 1ct in and outside the cities (20min in San Salvador 20ct; 90min San Salvador-Suchitoto or -Santa Ana 90ct) incl awesome experiences with locals who are super happy about Gringas visiting and getting to know their country :)
    Talking about food I already mentioned the super famous pupusas; for breakfast there is often again black beans, cheese, eggs and tamales, ceviche and mariscada are also often eaten. Other traditional dishes are Sopa de Gallina Indio (chicken soup with a lot of delicious vegs and Indio=l = free living chicken), Yuca con Chicharrón (Yuca with pork) as well as Nuegados (made of corn or yuca, fried and often as a desert with honey) which is then combined with Chilate (hot beverage of roasted corn, chili, pepper and ginger) or Alote de elote (corn juice).
    The people are also quite conservative and Catholic but super nice and helpful as well as always curious as there are not yet that many tourists and you are so special as a Gringa that kids also like to touch your hair ;)

    Having arrived in San Salvador after almost 13h I immediately had a super cool local experience with my taxi driver: as usual to practice my Spanish I instantely asked a lot of questions about his country, people, typical food etc and he was so happy about my interest that he spontaneously drove me to a Pupuseria, made me try all 3 classic versions and showed me how they are traditionally eaten with the hands. He also explained me the important safety regulations such as never hike alone but rather with guide and police, I will be safe as long as there are are women and kids around, it is daytime and light etc - such a nice gesture, that's why I love travelling :)

    Su, 30.07. Suchitoto: Lago de Suchitián & Río Lempa
    My hostel Cumbres del Volcán Flor Blanca looked like a normal family house from the outside and was located in a super safe area with the same name, the oldest and once most elegant of the 6 Western suburbs. It was only opened in May 2016 and convinced me with its nice architecture, family atmosphere, super good infos about the country, capital and sights of interest.
    On my very first day I decided to visit Suchitoto, located 1,5h bus ride north of the capital and was again positively surprised: the colectivo and chicken buses are super punctual and the roads in good conditions. Suchitoto itself is known as one of the most beautiful colonial towns with the best maintained buildings in El Salvador and that for a good reason: it is super idyllic located in the mountains with a nice view of lake Lago de Suchitián and Central America's longest river Río Lempa. As usual there is a Plaza/Parque Central with a small church, a lot of cobblestone streets and it was an important place of the Indigo production (blue colouring) until the 19th century. I just enjoyed walking around the colourful streets, talking to locals and slowly walked with lake view to Puerto San Juán at the bottom of the lake from where you can also do trips to the islands. On the way back I noticed a lot of signs against violence on women on all the houses, I had another nice viewpoint at Parque San Martin where there was some publicity for family and friendship love and was absolutely amazed by the big birds and hummingbirds. There were also a lot of signs in the whole town and despite being a tourist destination I was often again the only Gringa which I particularly enjoyed on the market where I tried several specialities - well, just such a beautiful and relaxed day :)

    Mo, 31.07. San Salvador: Ciudad & Puerta del Diablo
    El Salvador's capital San Salvador is one of the most developed cities in Central America with many museums, galeries, restaurants and popular nightlife. The city and many colonial buildings have unfortunately been almost completely destroyed by numerous earthquakes (especially the one in 1986), fires and above all the civil war but there was a lot going on in recent years and people work hard for its reconstruction.
    However and despite its churches San Salvador, El Rosario as well as the Cathedral and Palacio & Teatro Nacional I still think that the Centro histórico is not that nice and recommendable - there were traffic works everywhere and it is quite dirty. In general people found the East rather unsafe (especially at night the historical centre is completely deserted and should thus be avoided) and Western parts safer. I enjoyed the super big food and textile market the most: an absolute fruit and veg heaven, cheese booths, super delicious street food, of course a lot of pupusas and everything can be tried and is sooo super cheap - oh I just love the markets, another cool thing about travelling :)
    The city is located in the so-called Valle de las Hamacas (Hammock Valley) in the country's centre and thus the political, economical and transport hub. In the North you will find the already visited and the country's most beautiful and best maintained colonial town of Suchitoto with the lake Lago de Suchitián and Central America's longest river Río Lempa and surrounding mountains. Further north close to the Hondurian border you will find El Pital, with 2,730m the country's highest mountain. In the East there are San Miguel and Alegria which were not of interest to me. In the South there is the Pacific Coast with Central America's best surf beaches such as La Libertad and El Cuco. The West then has all the sights which are interesting for me: Santa Ana with its colonial buildings; the volcano region PN Los Volcanes with the volcanoes Cerro Verde, Izalco and Santa Ana; the lake Lago de Coatepeque; the ruins Joya de Cerén, San Andrés and Tazumal as well as the beautiful coffee region Ruta de las Flores. All this can be seen from the so-called Puerta del Diablo near the biggest park Parque Balboa - in my opinion probably the best viewpoint in the whole country :P The bus ride alone was again nice and the 360* views from the 3 hills El Chulo, El Chulito and El Chulón just breathtaking, you can indeed see almost the whole country and above-mentioned and it is also not that exhausting with a 5-10min hike per hill ;)

    In the afternoon around 1pm I then took a 90min chicken bus unbeatably well equipped with pictures of God and Jesus and with 85ct unbelievably cheap to Santa Ana - of course again with 1,000 stops and 500 vendors trying to sell really everything from sweets (popcorn, bonbons, crisps, chocolate) over fried stuff (bananas, yuca, meat), normal food (chicken with rice and beans, yuca with chicharrón etc), fruits (apples, peaches, papaya, mango, guava) up to souvenirs, towels and even cosmetic articles (toothpaste, toilet paper). Additionally we drove with open doors through the cities and the highways and there were breastfeeding mothers, crying kids and Reggaeton music - it is hard to describe, you just have to experience it yourself :)))

    The bus terminal was fortunately within walking distance to my hostel Hostal Casa Verde which is btw classified as "best hostel in El Salvador, if not all of Central America" by several websites and Lonely Planet and that for a good reason: apart from its super location incl superb map with all recommendations and very good security measures (always closed door and lockers with included power socket and two USB plugs) there were only normal instead of bunk beds with each having a table, reading light, ventilator, rack to better organise backpack and shoes, towels and ensuite bathroom (one for the girls, one for the boys) incl hand soap with the best hot and also hard pressure shower of my whole trip. In addition to that there were 2 amazingly well equipped kitchen incl all types of spices you can possibly think of (usually I am quite happy if they have salt), free water and coffee and even own food shelf. Apart from that there was a smoking room, TV room, a lot of hammocks, a superb roof terrace with view of the surrounding volcanoes as well as a swimming pool and incredibly good and fast WiFi - everything absolutely clean and with $10 usually above my budget but for these amenities an absolute good price :)

    Tu, 01.08. Santa Ana: PN Los Volcanes (Cerro Verde, Izalco y Santa Ana) & Lago de Coatepeque
    I am again pretty well with public holidays - arriving on 31.07. I was immediately informed that there are El Salvador del Mundo celebrations from 1-6 August - only means that locals will be everywhere but fortunately everything will be opened :)
    Santa Ana is El Salvador's 2nd largest city and located in Cihautehuacán Valley between the cloud forests of Montecristo and El Imposible. It is super calm, has one of the most elegant and lively Parque Central and one of the country's best maintained colonial architecture together with Suchitoto and Ahuachapan. The buildings Catedral de Santa Ana, Teatro Nacional, Teatro de Santa Ana as well as Plaza Libertad with its Gothic church are really nice.

    However, I was mainly here for the volcanoes and immediately took a chicken bus quite idyllic through mountain regions along the crater lake Lago de Coatepeque in the 1,5h far away national park PN Los Volcanes with the 3 volcanoes Cerro Verde, Izalco and Santa Ana/Ilamatepec. First one has already been inactive for quite a long time; second one is the most beautiful for hikes, erupted almost continouesly as Central America's most active volcano until the 1960s and was thus also called lighthouse of the Pacific; last one is with 2,381m the country's highest volcano, still active with its last eruption having been in 2005.
    After arriving at the national park there was again Gringo discrimination with a 2x higher fee of $9 but the necessary guide with police was at least with only $1 the same price for everyone and explained for us Europeans absolute normal rules (take your trash/plastic, no loud music, respect nature, suitable shoes and clothes, sufficient water and food etc) - I was really surprised when a young couple started to collect all the plastic garbage and at the same time shocked that they already had 3 full plastic bags after only 10mins. Starting with super weather and sunshine it was already quite fresh and foggy at the beginning - in total we were only 8 Gringos but thanks to the public holidays around 90 more locals so that you were just following a snake of hikers. The way itself first led 1h through tropical forest and then another h via volcanic stones (but not really that exhausting, I even had a cold) until we reached the crater with a nice sulphur smell around noon. First still foggy, super windy and with almost no view it fortunately cleared up for around 10mins so that we had a nice view of the turquoise coloured and super deep crater lake ;) After that we hiked 2h back in the rain and I was super happy that I could her warm again by eating another typical dish Sopa de Gallina Indio for just just about $1 and then even being able to see all 3 volcanoes thanks to improved weather, an awesome day :)

    We, 02.08. Santa Ana: Las Ruinas (Joya de Cerén, San Andrés y Tazumal)
    With the 3 Latin American countries Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua being rather known for nature than cultural sites El Salvador was the start of the ruins and after the Incas this time the Maya culture spanning from El Salvador via Honduras, Guatemala, Belize up to Mexico. The most popular ones here are Joya de Cerén, San Andrés as well as Tazumal and are so close to each other that I spontaneously decided to visit all 3 of them.

    Joya de Cerén is a World Heritage Site and was the most complicated one to reach with buses, I needed 3 in total. However, I had again a lot of luck with the Salvadorian hospitality: in the first bus already I got help from 3 women, a guy told me where to get off and another one accompanied me the whole way to the other bus stop - I had to use my imaginary boyfriend Hans again to avoid shocking the locals with the fact that I am a solo female traveller :P The site itself is super small but one of the most famous ones - a small village with pre-Colombian society was burried under ashes with the eruption of Lomo Caldera Volcano 590 after Chr and only discovered in 1976. Only here you can see how the Maya farmers used to live - I did not find it that impressive, a little bit small with only 3 excavations under corrugated iron and relatively less information.
    San Andrés is with 20ha also not that much bigger but more impressive with a lot more information and super easy directly located on the highway. It consists of mainly one, unfortunately only from the distance seeable pyramid La Campana as well as several smaller Maya ceremonial and administrative centres and used to be one of the country's biggest pre-Colombian sites with 12,000 habitants. Especially its location in Valle de Zapotitàn with beautiful mountains between the two rivers Río Dulce and Agua Caliente was what I liked the most.
    After that and back in Santa Ana I first enjoyed a delicious 50ct Yuca con Chicharrón, oh I just love Yuca and the combinations of salad and a bit Pikante was really nice.
    Tazumal located south of the town Chalchuapa is El Salvador's most impressive Mesoamerican ruin. The 14 steps pyramid was influenced by the Mexican-PuertoRican site Teotihuacan and is strangely beautiful - but in contrast to the biggest one in Copán, Honduras a lot smaller and not as well maintained. However, the site is super interesting and out of the 3 I liked it the most, above all as there was also a nice shady park with many birds.

    Unfortunately all 3 parks had again the typical Gringo discrimination being 3x dearer ($3 i/o $1 for locals) but it but was worth the money and other sites such as Copán in Honduras are with $15 Gringo price a lot more expensive and German museums anyway. I was also again the only Gringa the whole day and talked a lot to locals - but they are all constantly so friendly and always smiling, that is really contagious :)

    Th, 03.08. Santa Ana: Ruta de las Flores
    As that was already my last day and you never know if you will find good food or comparable good pupusas again I first had a very early 3 for $1 pupusa breakfast at the market, with the 3 flavours mora, ayote and shrimp, so delicious and also vegetarian :)))
    After that I visited with the village Juayúa a part of the famous Ruta de las Flores, a country highway through El Salvador's coffee region and the nice villages Juayúa, Concepción de Ataco, Apaneca as well as Ahuachapan, also known for the nice 7 waterfalls Los Chorros de la Calera. The bus ride itself was again really scenic through green hilly landscapes, passing villages, women preparing tortillas and pupusas, kids in school uniforms, free chicken and general farm life with many fincas and coffee smell; only unfortunately with a lot of plastic along the roads, especially the older people don't have the education and understanding, everything is just thrown out of the window.
    Juayúa itself is a super beautiful small quiet relaxed town with a white church in front of the Parque Central incl fountain and many coaches and TukTuks. I had a nice view of the whole village and mountains from Hotel El Mirador, then tried several types of cheese (Queso especial is the most typical and also used for the Pupusas), walked around the enormous food fair where everybody gave me meat samples, tried the many alotes as well as tamales and then finally had Chilote and Nuegados - first one is in my opinion a neutral thick Yuca beverage but did not taste too bad as a desert in combination with the heavily fried with honey spread Yuca balls ;) Coffee is of course still important in this region (it was also used as a currency by the Spanish in former times) but foodwise you will find everything - oh yes, they also eat frogs and lizards here :P

    Oh yes, El Salvador - definitely the most positive surprise of my whole trip; I came with cero expectations rather scared or unsecure and was absolutely amazed by its culture & landscapes but above all its food & people.
    In only 6 days I visited 3 colonial towns (Suchitoto, Santa Ana and Juayúa), 3 archealogical sites (Joya de Cerén, San Andrés and Tazumal), 3 lakes (Lago de Suchitián/Suchitoto in the North, Lago de Ilopango/San Salvador in the centre and Lago de Coatepeque/Santa Ana in the West) as well as 5 volcanoes (Volcán San Salvador & Quetzaltepek, Volcán Cerro Verde, Izalco & Santa Ana/Ilamatepec).
    As already mentioned I am sooo positively surprised, El Salvador does not earn to be called such a mega dangerous and unsafe country: almost everybody tried to help me, also the overpresent police, there was finally again a quite good variety and tasteful food (indeed a whole week without rice but a lot of corn tortillas, pupusas and yuca in the many pupuserias and yuquerias, delicious food with a lot of vegetables as well as good cheese).
    Moreover, it is still so untouched, not so touristy and thus authentic - I only met touris or other backpackers in the hostels, apart from that I was usually the only Gringa amongst locals, even at touristic sites and thus had many nice local experiences.
    Finally it was above all with food and transport a lot cheaper than expected and financially I only spent 122€ in 6 days and was thus with around 19€ also below my daily budget of 33€/d.
    So many reasons, it was really hard for me to leave El Salvador and I would come back - thanks for everything but now I am continuing to Copán Ruinas in Honduras:
    Que se vaya bien, gracias :)
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Santa Ana, Горад Санта-Ана, Санта Ана, Σάντα Άνα, סנטה אנה, सानता-आना, Սանտա Անա, サンタ・アナ, 산타아나, Santaana, Cihuatehuahcan, Санта-Ана, سانتا آنا، ایل سیلواڈور, 聖安娜

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