WhereIsSteve's Guestbook

15th April 2015

I loved my visit to Cinquera
After visiting the more popular tourist hub of Suchitoto, El Salvador I was looking for somewhere I could chill for a while and experience the flavor of rural life. I found the nearby community of Cinquera to be an ideal fit. The town is a municipal seat so it offers numerous tourist activities while also preserving a taste of the more quiet rural life. The community is located an easy bus ride from Suchitoto and has many treats for the slower moving traveler. The hostel is clean and lovely, and attached to a restaurant with tasty, affordable meals. I particularly enjoyed hanging out in the hammock just outside my room under the cool, sleepy shade of the mango trees. As a history buff it’s invigorating to visit a place where it’s history is so alive and present. The town square boasts the relic of a helicopter fuselage shot down by FMLN guerillas during its bloody civil war in the 80’s. After the war the only thing left standing in the town was a wall of the church which has since been rebuilt and adorned with colorful murals. The two old bomb shells that stand out front serve as makeshift church bells. My favorite part of Cinquera is the nearby Ecologicial Park (More info here: ardm.org). A short walk from the town center and you’re in a beautiful forest with a well maintained path. During my stay I frequented the waterfall and swimming hole in the forest for a refreshing dip during the hottest part of the day. Aside from some local school kids, I generally had this little slice of paradise all to myself! I also highly recommend the guided tour that takes you up further into the mountains and through historic sites like the “Vietnamese Kitchen”, modeled after the Vietcong, which the guerrillas used during the war. And if you’re lucky you’ll run into Don Rafael, the park’s main curator, who will happily bend your ear about the biological diversity of the park and share war stories from his time as a guerrilla. Cinquera is full of many welcoming characters who are happy to share their history and how “The Bosque” (forest) protected them during the war and so now they are protecting the forest. It’s also important to note that Cinquera, unlike some parts of El Salvador, is really safe. During my stay I felt fully safe walking around during the evenings, talking to locals in the pupusarias, and hanging out in the town square where local youth practice their dance routines. Overall, I would highly recommend this community to any more adventurous traveler interested in true ecotourism, history, and connecting to an authentic cultural experience.
14th April 2015

Cinquera is great!
For the traveler looking to get off the tourist track, eat tasty food, meet welcoming people, and visit historical and natural sites El Salvador is a must visit. I spent 6 wonderful weeks there and was very happy with all my experience. The small mountain town of Cinquera was a particular treat. Close to the tourist destination Suchitoto, Cinquera is a small, tranquilo (calm) community perfect for a tourist looking to rest and rejuvenate in a beautiful place. The local community organizing and development organization, the ARDM, has a variety of tourist ventures that make visiting Cinquera comfortable and interesting. Their hostel is affordable, cool, and quiet with hammocks on lovely shaded porches. Attached to the hostel is a delicious restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner to locals and travelers alike. Over the week that I spent there the food never failed to satisfy. Cinquera is also home to a beautiful Ecological Park. The tour of the park is well worth its $10 price tag. Over the course of a couple of hours knowledgeable local guides take you to see beautiful vistas, historic sites, and explain various ecological features. With extensive focus on the history of the civil war in this community I left this tour with an increased appreciation for the human and natural history of this place. Other tourist attractions include an iguana farm, butterfly exhibit, and historic museum. There are also several local artists that make beautiful artisan crafts, including a woman named Ivette who makes incredible (and super affordable!) jewelry. All and all Cinquera has a wide variety of things to do and ways to stay entertained. It’s also incredibly safe in a country known for not always being the safest place to visit. I spent many nights sitting in the town square and wasn’t ever bothered at all. If you take time to visit Cinquera you’ll be sure to enjoy it! The ARDM’s website has lots of helpful information and is: http://ardm.org/
16th January 2014

about the rules
no, there isn't a competition! (but there are usually strong rivality)...each group has his own goals, for this reason a group who apparently do the "smaller" castells is at the end the most happiest, because they are reached an inedit until this day (for them) castle!! this implies, of course, that supporters and enthusiast knows more or less the castle who do each group each year or season!!
24th August 2012

Gosh! Beats the Playa Blanca story!
Wish I'd been there.
16th May 2012

no lord chocolate!!!
there´s not such thing named lord chocolate!!! his name was Jasaw Chan K´awil
12th July 2012

No Lord Chocolate!!
So how did the "Lord Chocolate" come about? It's a name that seems to be in fairly common usage - in the guide books and at the site itself.
1st February 2012

Hi, wondered if you could help. We are also going with explore in about 10 days and I was wondering if it is really necessary to bring sleeping bags ? when did you go ? do you think it would be cold at night and do they not have blankets ? The tour organiser said we should take them but they are rather bulky just for a couple of nights. Obviously Feb. is not going to be that warm... we do have silk sleeping bag liners but wouldn't want to risk being cold either ! Thanks for you reply.
1st February 2012

Hi Caty, I would recommend that you take the sleeping bags. A small lightweight one would be good enough. I was in Cuba for 7 weeks in February and March and took a sleeping bag just for the 2 nights in Collantes but I didn't regret it. I don't think a liner wouldn't be warm enough. The hacienda does have tents, though, which may help with the cold. Enjoy your trip. I'm sure you'll have a brilliant time! Steve
16th January 2012

I miss my santa ana...........
Just wa nted to say hi to all my friends an family i n santa ana. frim alberto sandoval san francisco calif.
3rd September 2011

Re: Hi Steve
Thanks a lot! I think you must have found one of my few pages that don't have photos!
3rd September 2011

Hi Steve
Stumbled on your blogs this evening. So you are a self proclaimed "old hippy" Looks like you've had some great adventures. I'm looking forward to reading more. You should add a couple of photos.
2nd August 2011

Hi! I was travelling on an organised tour with a company called Explore. They were using the state-owned Cuban tour company, Havanatour - I think they probably had to do this. You could certainly arrange something in Havana or Trinidad. Or even at the entrance to the park - there's a big concrete hotel and a park office there. I think it would be difficult to do it completely independently - the roads inside the park meant that we had to transfer to a truck. If you go to Havana you'll probably meet lots of people who would offer to organise it informally for you. The problem there is working how reliable people are going to be. Good Luck! It's well worth a visit! Steve
2nd August 2011

Topes details
Hi Steve, Thanks for sharing your travels. I was just wondering if you could provide some details on your journey through Topes in Cuba? Was it an independent venture with your group or organized through a tour? If independent, how did you find your accommodations and tour guide? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Much thanks!
14th June 2011

your hoilay
Well Steve Fantasic pictures looks like your having great fun wish i were their. Really injoying your information about the differents places you have been.
From Blog: Italy - Venice
24th May 2011

Lovely orchid
From Blog: Cuba - Vinales
24th May 2011

Lovely orchid
Very nice photography.
From Blog: Cuba - Vinales
5th May 2011

Fantastic Reading
Hi Steve, Lovely, lovely blog to read - brings back some wonderful memories! Your pictures are gorgeous too - they look much better than when you showed me on the laptop. I have now made your blog a 'favourite' to keep track of your adventures. Speak soon, Cat xx
22nd April 2011

Very interesting
Enjoyed you web page about your search well laid out and a great read , my interest is the reverse , my uncle went missing in 1966 and we believe he went to cape town . As yet and after many years i have had no luck , he seems to have vanished off the face of the earth , i contacted the tv station from the area he last lived " Worthing " and they filmed a article with me , but still no luck . Anyway keep on digging you never know what else you may find Kind regards Kevin http://www.itv.com/meridian-east/have-you-seen-him64384/ http://www.splashfm.net/splashstory.asp?id=3553 http://twitter.com/meridiantonight/status/53895150216282112 http://www.knowhere.co.uk/town/user_board/messages/458
11th April 2011

Hi Steve great bit of history,can not wait for the next part of the story. have a great time. sharon
6th April 2011

Hi Kristin! Yes, I did learn it was Camilo when I went back to take some pictures at night. Thought I'd corrected it. Thanks Steve
5th April 2011

Just a tiny correction
Still enjoying your stories but for a guy studying his Lonely Planets I would'nt think you would make a mistake.... but here is a small correction. On Plaza de la Revolucion is absolutely a beautiful and very famous picture of Che. But the other mural on the Ministerio del Informacion (?) building is comrade Camilo Cienfuegos. With a greeting I guess: Vas bien Fidel!
5th April 2011

What a nice photo of our "home" in Habana. And yes it is not your pants on the line, because it is my T-shirts hanging there to dry. Miss that place too much!
23rd March 2011

I’m afraid the Spanish is going in very slowly, Kristin, and I’m a long way short of your level. But I am persevering and may well come back for a few more weeks. I did have a positive experience the other day, though. Some guy started walking along the Malecon with me and he spent about 15 minutes telling me his hard luck story. I didn’t believe any of it BUT I understood every word! I was so pleased with myself that I gave him enough money to buy a pizza! (with toppings!!)
22nd March 2011

Wow I am impressed! Just stumbled into your blog by accident end I enjoyed it very much. Sets me back to the few, but very nice days we spent together in Cuba. Although I admit that my thoughts most days linger in Havana so I am working towards spending more time there too. Very impressed with how fast you learned spanish too - you must be an expert by now. Hope to hear from you whenever the opportunity is right. Buen viaje! Salud
16th March 2011

Back in school
Thanks, Kam! And an alternative to Cuban cuisine would be much appreciated when I get back!!

Tot: 0.13s; Tpl: 0.011s; cc: 23; qc: 54; dbt: 0.0195s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb