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Published: March 14th 2011
When I was in Santa Ana, chatting to a guy from San Salvador, he asked me if I was going to Suchitoto. I had never heard of it. He said people go to San Salvador just as a jumping off point to go to Suchitoto, they don't even visit the capital, just go to this village... After this conversation, I was intrigued, so checked out what the LP had to say about it. The general idea was that it was a quiet village, very pretty and taken over by artists, with plenty of galleries (most only open week-ends) and a few good hikes. So even if I was going to be there on a Thursday, I thought it was worth a little detour.
I set off not so early (about 9-10am) from the San Salvador hostel as it was only a couple of hours' bus ride away. I got the city bus to the terminal ($0.20) and then hopped on the 10.45 to Suchitoto ($0.70). A lot of the road was a pretty journey in the countryside, going through tiny hamlets. When I got to my destination, it was a little bigger but definitely with a village feel to it, quite
Queuing for lunch
relaxed and friendly. I asked for directions to the hostel I wanted to stay at and was sent a couple of blocks away from the central plaza. For $7, I got (once again) a whole dorm to myself. I dropped my gear and went for a little exploration.
I headed for the main square, where there was some sort of event going on, with big tents erected in the centre and some singing. It was about stopping violence towards women and children. I kind of ignored it, almost cursing that it was in the way of my pictures of the church... As I walked around the pretty streets, I was liking the vibe of the place, but it was clear that I wasn't going to need all day to have a look at the village. Back on the plaza, a few orderly queues had formed so I went to investigate and realised that some free lunch was being handed out as part of the event. Now, if you know me, you'll know that I'm not one for turning away free stuff! So I joined the queue and patiently waited for my tamales (corn dough stuffed with, in this case, chicken
quiet little streets
and wrapped in banana leaf) and fruit juice – just what I needed.
After lunch, I decided it was time to go to the lake. I didn't know much about it but I had seen a sign for it so I just went in that direction. I walked for a while in the sun and the heat, going downhill and thinking that the way back wasn't going to be too much fun. I eventually saw the lake and was indeed very impressed. I went down to the shore, to discover that 3 tourist buses had stopped there for lunch and the restaurant was jam packed (good thing I'd had my tamales before going down!). I walked around for a little while, taking a few pictures and being impressed by how nice and bare it was (other than the restaurant and a few crafts stands it was pretty much left alone). Then it was time to walk back up. It was still only about 2pm, absolutely boiling and I knew from the way down that there was no shade, so with no sign of a bus, it was going to be a sweaty afternoon... Only about 5 minutes after I'd set
off, a pick-up pulled up and asked me if I wanted a lift. With 2 other women already inside the truck, I thought it seemed pretty safe and hopped on. They laughed on the way up at the fact I had considered walking all this way and 10 minutes later they dropped me off back in the village. I was glad but also wondering what to do next!
Another walk around, showed that the women loving rally had ended and the square was now free of clutter for my perfect pictures, so I got the church in the end. A visit to the market and all the souvenir shops later, I returned to the hostel to chill for a while. As I was on my way back, the wind suddenly started to pick up and within minutes, we were experiencing a torrential downpour (I had made it back to the hostel just in time), so with nothing better to do, I decided to have a snooze. When I woke up an hour later, the rain had stopped and I was ready for some more action.
In one of the shops, I asked the lady what I could do around the
village, such as hiking for a couple of hours. Unfortunately, she explained the waterfalls nearby would be dry in this season and the other places were only really accessible with a tour that would take you by car to the start of the hike. So that was that then... After another aimless walk around, trying to kill some time, I was back at the hostel with not a lot to do by 6pm. I spent the evening listening to some tunes and trying to catch up on the blog, while planning my next move. That would be Alegría.
So overall, Suchitoto was lovely, but I felt it was too small for a whole day. Visiting it as a day trip from San Salvador seemed like it would have been a better choice (which is what I originally wanted to do but changed my plans due to the hostel prices), unless maybe if visiting at the week-end with the galleries being opened to help kill the afternoon.
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