Slumming it in El Zonte

Published: November 6th 2006
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Before the party on the pierBefore the party on the pierBefore the party on the pier

Me wearing one of those ridiculous hats and 2 lovely men!
So, I think the last time I wrote we were in Xela. Didn’t think that much of Xela to be honest, we found it dead boring and were in bed by 10 both nights we were there! Bit weird really cos everyone who we’ve met who have been to Xela said they loved it. Perhaps we just seemed to miss where everything was at, and the fact we were there on a Sunday and Monday night.
So, early Monday morning we decided to make our way to El Salvador. The journey was going pretty smoothly until about 2 o’clock in the afternoon when the heavens decided to open. This wouldn’t have been a problem except that or bags were on the roof of the bus, and rucksacks for some reason do not seem to be made of waterproof materials!! However shortly afterwards we arrived at Mazatenango where we had to change buses, and tuck into some much needed lunch. So we found a fried chicken place and tucked into one of the best chicken burgers I’ve had in ages and waited for the rain to stop. However the rain had other ideas and an hour later it was still absolutely tipping
On our way to San SalvadorOn our way to San SalvadorOn our way to San Salvador

Mita, Gem & Ben squashed into the back of Oliver's car.
it down and we needed to get on the next part of our journey. The bus we needed to catch was only about 200 yards down the road but to get to it we needed to cross the road which had turned into a fast flowing river. I’ve never seen anything like it and, seeing as I lost my rain mac in Acapulco, I hope I don’t see anything quite like too many times in the future! Anyway, we took our shoes and socks off and went for it. People were looking at us like we were mad and they were probably right to do so as about 5 mins after we got onto our bus the rain stopped!! The bus we got onto was a normal bus, but the money collector was a wanker and charged us for a full trip rather than the half that we wanted to travel. He wasn’t having any of it when the other passengers told us that we’d been ripped off and we tried to get some of the cash back. This however put us in a tricky situation as when we got dumped in Escuintla we had no money left for the
Our roomOur roomOur room

I wasn't joking when i said we were slumming it!!
onward journey. However we were lucky and they had 1 cash machine in the town, but this meant we had to walk 10 mins with our ridiculously heavy bags on our backs in the high humidity – not pleasant!!! So, then when we’d sorted that issue we did our last leg and eventually got to Chiquimlilla. However, this journey wasn’t without it’s problems either as again it absolutely tipped it down and rather than our bags getting just a bit wet, they got saturated and when we found a room to crash the night and opened our bags everything was soaked. Most upsetting. However, we were determined not to let this get to us so we hung all our stuff up in one of the rooms and went on the hunt for a few beers and some grub. The night was quite good fun. We found a bar and the locals came over to chat to us, as they do. They ended up taking us to a late bar and paid for all our drinks – bonus! They also gave us rides round town on the back of their motorbikes! Love it! However, when we got back to the hotel

The one man band!
(not that you could call it a hotel, it was a dump) we discovered we were locked out. So we banged on the door and eventually got let in. The owner then got well pissed off with us cos we were quite noisily drunk and to get his revenge he woke us up at 6 in the morning with loud terrible music and said we had to leave. To be honest this worked in our favor as we then decided not to pay him the full amount and to just get the hell out of there, there and then, hangover and all and move on to El Salvador. This also was the first day that we started to experience some real heat. It was 7 in the morning and the sun was scorching, we all had hangovers and empty stomachs and couldn’t find anything nice to eat. In the end me and Mita settled for a hotdog and Gem had a bag of crisps, and sunk mucha aqua. I don’t think we actually got to eat anything until about 2 in the afternoon when we were dumped by the side of the road by our onward bus from the boarder
Mita at sunriseMita at sunriseMita at sunrise

This is the view from the bottom of the Quebec guys garden
and as soon as it arrived our next bus turned up so we didn’t even get to eat much of it.
So, then at about 4 we eventually, very weary, dirty, smelly and sweaty arrived at El Zonte, following a recommendation from Catlin (the American girl we got friends with in Pana) and went in search of El Teco's place, where Catlin also stays when she goes there. Now she did say the place was very basic, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be as basic as it was. But, we’re travelers now, with not a huge amount of cash so we just got on with it. And the first thing to do was to hang up our still soaking wet clothes then sit and stare at the beautiful surroundings. El Zonte is on the east coast of El Salvador, close to La Libertad a main town, and has black sand, like most of the coast in El Salvador and South Guatemala. The first night in El Zonte was pretty chilled. I don’t think we really moved all afternoon / evening. We just sat there, watched surfers, the sunset and generally ogled at the view. This was the first
Will and OliverWill and OliverWill and Oliver

Near the end of one of our long evenings, sorry guys!!
time we’d seen the sea since Acapulco and it was worth the wait. The next day we again got ourselves in a pickle with the cash situation and had to go almost as far as the capital to find a cash machine – a 2 h round trip. Since then and the nightmare we had, thinking of all the different ways our parents could get us money if we really were stuck (the lonely planet AKA the bible had said that there are very few machines in the whole of the country and unless you have a visa plus sign, which we didn’t your stuffed!) and generally panicking a bit, we’ve been taking out heftier chunks. Think we were spoilt a bit with Pana and the ease of getting cash there….
So, what did we do in El Zonte. Well, apart from day 1 one where we didn’t really do a lot we just got pissed! Mum, I’ve not been doing quite so much of that recently BTW! On our way back from our cash machine mission we bumped into 2 Ozzie guys in La Libertad, who we’d spoken to briefly earlier that day. They were staying at a nicer
The view from El Teco'sThe view from El Teco'sThe view from El Teco's

With Ben doing his usual - filming!
place than us, just next door and invited us to go for a beer with them at their place, which we obviously didn’t refuse!!! Here we also met 3 Quebec Guys and 2 guys from Amsterdam, one of which we later found out was a model for Calvin Klein. I didn’t think he was that great looking, but he looks good in the photos and he had the most amazing tan!!! Anyway, these Quebec guys became our new best friends and what was originally gonna be 2 days of El Zonte turned into 5. The Quebec guys were great. They weren’t there on holiday, one of them (Oliver) had just bought this big place on the sea front and was following his dream of owning a surf resort. One mate (Gabriel) had decided to go with Oliver and help him make a go of it and the other (Ben) who seemed to be some kind of “it” person from Montreal was there on the Governments money (I think, confused a little) filming the whole project to put on his Quebec website he runs. Ben never seemed to stop filming and I think we might well end up on the net somewhere at some stage. I’ll be shore to let you all know when it’s on there for you to see! Anyway, this place he’d bought was beautiful. They’d been there for 2 weeks when we arrived and us girls and the 2 Ozzies were invited round there 2nd night in El Zonte as their first ever visitors. The reason that I say they were so great is basically cos of their energy and just how open and welcoming they were. They were on such a high from what they were doing and I’ve never met such hospitable people! Well, I have as of yesterday but that’s another story, if I ever make it that far today!!! So, the next day they were off to San Salvador as they seemed to almost every day to buy some bits and bobs and they offered to take us there so we could have a look around the capital. It wasn’t that great a capital, it was really Americanized but at the same time really dirty and polluted. Anyway, we got to see quite a bit of the place. First we visited the down town part where everyone stared at us quite a bit and then we headed into town and explored the markets whilst the guys bought fridges, freezers, and cooking equipment. They also bought 3 massive traditional hats which you can see in the pictures I’m gonna attach, most amusing them walking round the city wearing those – the locals loved it and were all pointing and smiling!! So, we arrived back in El Zonte at about 7 and found out that that night there was a concert type thing on the pier in La Libertad. So, we had a few much needed bevies and some food at Alex’s place (the place where the Ozzie guys were staying, where the food was much better) and then hot footed it to the pier. That was a good fun night. Lots of dancing, drinking and again ogling the amazing view. The waves below us looked massive and the view we had from the pier was great. I tell you, the Latin American’s love their bass, unfortunately this is teamed with Regaton, Salsa, Meringue and the likes, which if I’m honest I’m slowly coming round too – never thought I’d say that!!
Anyway, that was the Friday and the Sat and Sunday was Diwali & New Year for Hindu’s. As the lads had just bought their new kitchen equipment and cos Oliver is also a chef, they suggested that rather than us go to San Salvador as originally planned to celebrate it there, they’d cook us a curry and we could have a kinda party round there place with Will and Ry and their American mate Liz. Turned out to be a really good night and we kept going through till 6 when we decided to try and watch a sunset, which actually wasn’t worth the wait due to the clouds, but never mind!! We played this game, Will’s game, which involved a roll of toilet paper. Each person had to take enough sheets to last them a week and then when everyone had taken their quota Will told us that we now had to reveal a fact about ourselves for each sheet we had taken. I tell you, these guys had some interesting stories to tell!! Anyway, what was funny was that Oliver decided to take the whole remaining roll. He must have had about 100 sheets! As you can imagine, that kept us going for a while…..
So, the next day we bumped into them again when me & Mita had popped into La Libertad and managed to wangle ourselves another dinner invite. And we had another very long evening / night. So much so that we couldn’t face leaving the next day and had to stay one extra night. That was a feet in itself I’m telling you – the room itself was boiling and like I said the room was tiny and basically a concrete shell. One thing that was great though about the place was the shower. All it was was a water bucket and pale but it was great. I’m actually starting to love cold showers!!!
So, that’s about all foe El Zonte / El Salvador. We didn’t really do a lot but that was one of the things that was so good about it. That, the view and the friends we made there…..
Hope you enjoy the piccies and below is a link to the surf resort they are setting up. It has a few nice photo’s of the El Zonte….


28th November 2006

sounds like you had a good time
how safe was the area around El Zonte? I keep hearing about there being a lot of great surf areas in El Salvador but would like to know how relatively safe they are since they're in remote areas I'm assuming.
1st December 2006

We found El Salvador very safe and everybody was really friendly. There are loads of surfers about to to hang with. Look out for a place called Eldorado at El Zonte.
4th February 2007

El Zonte is so nice
I was born near El Zonte in La Perla which is like a few miles away and all my life I have been to El Salvador every year. It is so nice. The beaches are the best there and the locals treat Americans very nice. Plus, every year I go I see more and more americans in the beaches of La Libertad especially El Zonte. I would recommend it to anyone especially in July when there is surfing competition in Playa EL Obispo in the port of la libertad!

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