Last Thoughts on El Salvador

Published: April 10th 2012
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San Salvador/La Libertad

Again the time is coming to pack up and move to a new place. We will be leaving El Salvador and heading to Granada, Nicaragua on Wednesday morning. We are looking forward to continuing our travels, but it is always a busy time after getting used to day tripping or hanging out all day. We have to cross through Honduras on the way. Crossing 2 borders in one day is probably going to be quite a chore.

We have enjoyed our time in El Salvador. It has been a much different experience than we have had in other places during our trip. We do feel like we have had a good opportunity to visit a major part of El Salvador. El Salvador is the least touristy place that we have visited. It has a great potential to be a fun tourist destination, but it must be said that it does not have a very developed tourist infrastructure yet. The beaches are very nice, the mountain towns are beautiful, the lakes are spectacular and San Salvador is a major city with all of the modern conveniences (and irritations) of any large city.

The people of El Salvador have been very friendly to us. It felt in most places that we were still a bit of a curiosity. We were the only North Americans around everywhere we went. We heard so many cautionary (actually frightening) tales about El Salvador before we came here that it may have influenced how adventurous we were. We seemed to have trepidation each time we left the house to go somewhere. Most of the guidebooks have warnings about everywhere and everything we did. While we never had any problems anywhere, we really never got far off the main tourist path though.

Our lack of Spanish has been more apparent here than anywhere else we have traveled in Central America. While our Spanish has improved 500 percent since coming south, when people speak rapidly it is still nearly impossible for us to understand more than a couple of words per sentence.We seem to have a harder time conveying what we are trying to say and the people seem to struggle more to understand our words than in other places. After Nicaragua we have reserved a house in Panama. We have not planned anything past Panama, but if we are going to stay in Central or South America much longer we will have to improve our Spanish considerably.

Since the last post we have visited quite a few things in El Salvador. We made a trip to the beach area here. We drove to the La Libertad area of beaches about an hour from San Salvador. La Libertad was a bit of a gritty city but the beach/restaurant area near Punta Roca was nice. Several small restaurants overlook the Punta Roca area, which is famous for its surfing. We had a delicious Cazuela (seafood soup) at one of the restaurants. We made our way west along the beaches and stopped in a couple of small beach towns called El Tunco and Playa Sunzal. The waves were much bigger and quite a few surfers were out. Both towns were small with thatch roof restaurants and lots of small stores selling food and touristy things. We were there during the week, so all the towns were a little slow.

We also took a drive to a small, artsy town called Suchitoto. Suchitoto is about an hour north from San Salvador. It is a colonial looking town with a very nice central square and beautiful church. The streets of Suchitoto were mostly tree lined and cobblestoned. Suchitoto is near a huge manmade lake called LagoSuchitlan. It was very hot the day we were there and all the people seemed to have gone to the lake to swim, ride ziplines to the small island in the middle of the lake, or take a cooling boat ride in one of the many boats that could be rented. Some towns just seem to be very nice even though there is not much going on. Suchitoto was one of these towns for us.

During last weekend we made a trip to the Cerro Verde National Park. It is a beautiful park located in the mountains about 1 ½ hours west from San Salvador. The park is situated between 2 volcanoes (Santa Ana and Izalco) and overlooking Lake Coatepeque. It was very crowded as it was the day before Easter and most families have relatives in town at this time of year. The views over Izalco Volcano were fantastic. The park is at several thousand feet and provides a wonderful cool relief from the heat nearer to sea level.

We also spent some time going out in San Salvador to see some of the things we have missed up to now. We visited the Military Museum where they have the Pope Mobile stored that John Paul II used when he visited San Salvador in 1993. Also we stopped by the Salvador del Mundo (Savior of the World) park and monument in Central San Salvador.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks and this week will be busy with the move to Nicaragua. We have enjoyed our stay in El Salvador and look forward to more adventures soon.

Additional photos below
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1st May 2012

I love El Salvador
I was a mormon missionary in El Salvador about 11 years ago. I love it there and I am planning on returning there soon. I miss the pupusas, people and craziness there. I now am a Spanish Teacher at a high school in Utah and I REALLY want to take some of my students abroad. :)

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