Blogs from Santa Ana, Western, El Salvador, Central America Caribbean

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SANTA ANA The second cities of most Central American countries are far better to visit than are the vapid, congested, dangerous capitals. While this is somewhat true of Santa Ana, it hardly rivals Xela in Guatemala or Leon in Nicaragua. There are signs throughout advertising their 450th anniversary, so there's quite a lot of history there, but the town center mainly comes off as being dirty and sketchy. Peggy and I stayed at Casa Verde, essentially a model for what every hostel should be. LAGO DE COATEPEQUE This turquoise-blue lake, 15k around and cradled in a vast, forested caldera, is reason enough to visit El Salvador. In fact, it's probably the prettiest lake I've been to. After my experience at the filthy Lago de Suchitlan, I wasn't fully convinced when locals told me that Coatepeque is ... read more
Laguna de Santa Ana en Parque National Cerro Verde
Santa Ana Main Square
Peggy in Lake Coatepeque


Santa Ana was our pick of places to stay in El Salvador, it’s a medium size town and the trip to volcano Santa Ana looks to be one of the best things to do in the country, if you’re not into surfing that is. We take the local bus from the town to the volcano park, known as Cerro Verde. Our guide book didn’t detail this in detail, so it’s a good thing we check this out beforehand as there are only 3 buses a day. We need to take the early one which we are told leaves at 07:30am (turns out to be 7:40) and takes the best part of 2 hours to cover the 30 or so km to the park entrance. On the way we are entertained by a local guy giving us ... read more


Our morning was off to a rocky start with the second bad breaky in a row, though this time with eggs, but bad eggs are still.... bad. My patience was wearing thin with the Aussie girl joining us to Santa Ana as we were ready to go before she was even out of bed, she complained all through breakfast then insisted we go explore the market before the bus comes, even though we knew the bus would leave before 9am if it was full so we shouldn't leave. Then she was so obnoxious that she took up a whole seat for her backpack as we watched locals stand.... the whole 2.5 hours to Santa Ana. The driver then unapologetically dropped us off on the side of the road in Santa Ana, not the bus station. Fabulous. ... read more


I heard El Salvador is a dangerous place. Should I go there or better not? I was debating with myself for a while and being just by me I probably would have skipped it. But I was still with Mitch and Justin. So, destiny had different plans for me and we decided to give it a try. How bad could it possibly be? From Guatemala City I took the chicken busses to the border, had an easy border crossing and got a ride from a Guatemalan father with his two kids, all the way to the first destination – Santa Ana. This was an awesome start and it was just the beginning. We went for a coffee and I got to know a father who does everything to get his daughter out of the endless circle ... read more
Short hike, great reward!
The secret surfspots of El Salvador
The Black Pearl


After Guatemala it was on to Santa Ana in El Salvador. I travelled with Theresa who I met at Arcas and her friend Steph. We arrived in the afternoon and found a fiesta going on in the plaza with traditional dances. I discovered later that this was for the anniversary of the theatre. Fiestas are always a good time to visit! After visiting the white gothic style cathedral we went back to the hostal to make a spaghetti meal and some pina colada with fresh pineapple! The following day we hiked up the volcano of Santa Ana. It was a hard climb as it was dusty at the beginning of the walk and there wasn´t much shade around the top. However there were lovely views of the lake (Lago de Coatepeque) and the surrounding countryside. It ... read more

Central America Caribbean » El Salvador » Western » Santa Ana December 16th 2016

El Salvador has a very bad reputation, so much so that most people I meet on the road skip it, and everyone I tell I'm going, their first response is either 'be careful' or 'it's dangerous'. I'd just like to say now - they're all missing out! Our first impression of El Salvador was fairly Chaotic - in order to get to Santa Ana we were dropped at the side of the road by our shuttle and put on a chicken bus. Once we got to Santa Ana the bus 'terminal' seemed to be the side of the road, with no taxis. Luckily I have offline maps on my phone and knew we were only 800m from the hostel. On embarking from the bus a couple of locals from the bus insisted on walking us to ... read more
Santa Ana cathedral
So many fireworks on sale
Papusas


We decided to take a 3 hour private shuttle from Copan, Honduras to Santa Ana in El Salvador as there are no direct buses and otherwise the trip requires about 5 different buses and takes 9 hours. The shuttle was great as we had loads of space and the borders were super easy as we didn't arrive with loads of other people. We stayed at an amazing hostel, La Casa Verde. Carlos the owner has set it up really well and thought of pretty much everything from power sockets in the lockers and no bunks in the dorm to having a pool and a well equipped kitchen with sharp knives and a working oven. It was so nice cooking, baking and relaxing that we hardly left the hostel for three days. One of the exceptions was ... read more


Probably like most people in the world, El Salvador hadn't really entered into my general consciousness, apart perhaps as the title of a song by Athlete back in 2003! (http://songmeanings.com/songs/view/3530822107858505487/) In my time travelling through South and Central America I had met a grand total of one person that had been there, and so this, combined with the fact it would continue my trip's “achievement” of having visited every South and Central American country (admittedly I have to exclude the isolated Guayane, French Guyana and Suriname from that though!) it seemed just the ticket for a few days of my time! The journey from Honduras took a day and a half, but I arrived in Suchitoto, a small colonial town located on a lake, with seemingly every house painted a different colour, in good... read more
Laid back Suchitoto
Dusk looking down from Suchitoto
Summit Photo - Volcan Santa Ana


The drive from Suchitoto, El Salvador to Conception Ataco, El Salvador was the only completely uneventful trip. It was only a few hours. We left Suchitoto early afternoon and we arrived in Ataco early afternoon. Although the cities were very different, they had some similarities. For example, they were both very quiet – where things (including restaurants) close down very early. They are both completely the opposite of touristy. We were in Suchitoto for 1 night and Ataco for 3 – those three nights in El Salvador were the most “back road” of our whole trip. Lots of people looked at us with curiosity, but the energy was friendly. Our first night in Ataco was one of our quietest nights. We toured the town, which took about 15 minutes. We walked along peaceful cobblestone streets, taking ... read more
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So, much time has past since my last entry on Christmas Eve, since then I have left the Akazul turtle project and continued on my travels. All of the Akazul crew minus 1 person left the village together on 8th January at 6am on the first bus out of the village, a chicken bus (old American School bus) we all held tightly onto our seats and held our breath as we went over the sideways tipping, rickety bridge, with the sound of splitting wood beneath,over the fast flowing river below. It took an hour to the border of El Salvador and once through we negotiated the bus to the town of Cara Sucia (which is Spanish for dirty face). They use US dollars in El Salvador and the local buses are normally a few cents each. ... read more
El Imposible
Bus to ¨dirty face¨
Volcan Izalco




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