Paradise found?

Published: March 4th 2014
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I’m writing this on an almost deserted beach on the pacific coast close to the Nicaraguan border. We are in El Esteron just east of Playa El Euco. The beach spans several kilometres east to west and at low tide it can spread a further kilometre out to the ocean, there are few amenities here, only a few small tiendas selling the basics, a couple of restaurants and occasionally a fruit or bread seller comes along on his bike. It is really quite blissful hearing nothing but the tide and the birds in the palms. I’ll admit it has not been like this every day, the weekend was much busier with Sunday in particular attracting many local visitors but still most of the beach remains unspoiled.

Getting here from San Salvador was straightforward enough but not without the usual hassle associated with bus journey’s. The first part of the journey was okay aside from the tirade of bus conducters at the San Salvador station vying to get our custom. Five dollars got us an air conditioned coach complete with TV’s showing the recent movie Enders Game which is actually pretty good.

It was the second public bus which was the hard part, the bus was crammed because it was delayed and the heat was searing, everyone on the bus was dripping with sweat. The delay also meant we were victims of the incessant hawkers who board the buses selling their wares. One old lady in particular was determined to sell me her (melted) chocolates, every time I answered in Spanish she repeated what I said to the rest of the passengers all of whom fell about laughing. It turned out to be in good humour and I think I ‘won’ because she didn’t get any money out of me. The price you have to pay to reach paradise I guess.

At El Cuco we took a taxi to El Esteron. It is a ten minute journey at most I guess and the $5 charge is reimbursed if you stay at Tortuga Verde. It was our plan to stay at Tortuga Verde as it had come recommended but there were no rooms so we had to stay a little further up the road at Del Mar.

Del Mar is owned by a slightly eccentric US American guy called Tom who also owns Tortuga Verde and we got the impression would probably like to own everything on the beach if he could. He says he wants to create a paradise for all the ‘cool people’. I quite like it the way it is. It seems he has quite a firm grip on El Esteron and I’m sure he will get his way. A cliché I know, but I can’t help thinking about the Joni Mitchel tune, Big Yellow taxi – ‘Find paradise, put up a parking lot etc…’ I imagine this place will look quite different in a year or even in six months.

We haven’t done much here as there has not been much to do. Surfing is an option on some sections of the beach but neither of us were particularly keen. Days have mostly been spent relaxing, reading, studying Spanish and wildlife spotting. Across the beach I have seen a wide variety of seabirds including frigate birds and pelicans, I have also seen a lot of black vultures which seem to be quite common. I also came across some whip spiders which must have been disturbed because they are not really a common sight during the day. I include a picture but I warn you,
they’re not for the squeamish.

It has been very pleasant spending time in such a remote and quiet part of the world. However I would recommend a visit sooner rather than later before the parking lots start to appear.

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