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Published: August 9th 2008
Punta Sal - near Tela, Honduras
my day excursion... hiking, swimming, bugs and more
Here we are.... in the heart of El Salvador... which feels like the true heart of Central America. It was sad to leave Suchitoto, as that place was a real gem!! But, am thankful that at least we were smart enough to plan a 2 night stop there. Yesterday was a blast... as we left Suchitoto with a contact that I have made here... and went down to Lake Ilopango.... which is much cleaner than Lake Suchitlan. Our friend has lakeside property... lots of it!! So, we chilled... went boating around the lake.. swam... soaked up the sun... and chilled some more until the sun started to go down. From about noon till 6 we were on the lake. This is not a tourist destination by any means... and we were the ONLY people on the lake. This is a crater lake right in the center of the country... and is about 10km wide. What an amazing place, and I really feel lucky to have spent the day there. Surrounded by dramatic cliffs... lush with greenery and lacking development... this lake is just a stones throw from the capital city... but it felt as though we were 1000 miles away from
anything. The kids loved it and wanted to stay... with such warm water and cookin' heat. Could have stayed a week. I think that the people of this country need to keep this place a secret.. all to themselves!!
Arriving into San Salvador... hmm... what can I say!! This city is intimidating at best. One of the darkest.. dirstiest.. least inviting capital cities that I have ever seen. Really... I have seen plenty... and this would be in the bottom 5. Well, I was not expecting much.. and knew that this was not Prague or Istanbul... but yikes.. really. Riel sort of sat silent and stared out the window. I have no idea what was going through her head. Luca was asleep.... again. It is not like we just drive through a rough district or region of the city... but the entire city center with all about filth, grime, poverty.... one huge informal market that needs a good pressure wash. I think Survivor need to run an 'Urban' series and drop people off here... dumping them from a bus with 5$ in their hand. I know... most of the Central American capital cities are run down and poor.... but
town square of Suchitoto - El Salvador
looking at our hotel - La Puerta de Suchitoto
this beats Guatemala City and San Jose hands down. Our hotel is in a posh northern suburb (typical). We had to abandon our plans for 4 nights at the Decameron on the beach... and instead are at the Courtyard (Marriott) in the city. Cheaper and way more central for our sightseeing plans. These days here are busy... with a lot on our plate... and anyway, we have sone good beach time coming up. Hell... we are next to a modern mall... so dinner choices with the kids are aplenty.
Today was great... sort of doing a 'historical' tour.. visiting some of the best historical sites that this country has to offer. The biggest plus is that everywhere we go we are the only ones there. No backpackers even. Well, ok... there were a bus-load of Mexican tourists at one stop.. but that was it. With my new contact, we had a vehicle, guide and driver all provided by the Ministry of Tourism.... and had a day better than one could ever plan. Saw Mayan sites, volcanic lakes, historic towns... and more.
Joya de Ceren - a little Mayan village preserved by a volcanic eruption... just like Pompeii.
- a large Mayan pyramid and smaller surrounding buildings. One of the first major sites in this country to be excavated, and has been placed on the UNESCO world heritage list.
Casa Blanca - a large Pre-Classic and classic Mayan site.. all to ourselves. Home to a functioning workshop producing indigo dye.. once the lifeline of the country.
San Andres - another small Mayan site.
Santa Ana - the second largest city in El Salvador - a major center of the coffee industry with a few architectural jewels.
Lake Coatepeque - a volcanoc caldera containing one of the largest lakes in the country.
So... this was a full day. Now back at the hotel.. chilling before heading out for dinner. Tomorrow we are heading south to the Costa Del Sol beach region... taking a boat trip on an estuary.. swimming... trying some seafood (me, not the kids)... and then back here for the night.
That's it... for now I trying to add pics.. but am having no luck. Cross your fingers....
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