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Published: October 14th 2015
Waking up bright and early at 4.30am to get our taxi to the bus station went surprisingly well, and our broken Spanish got us to a bus going to San Salvador - not the one we had planned though, so our carefully calculated remaining money wasn't enough to pay for our tickets... luckily, they were totally happy to accept payment in a mix of Lempira and US dollars!
The troublesome 4 extra dollars were worth it though, as we ended up in the cheap seats on a luxury bus (instead of our planned standard bus). The cheap seats still reclined to nearly horizontal, had WiFi and air conditioning. Money accidentally well spent!!
Crossing to El Salvador was trouble free, although lining up with our bags just passed the border for a narcotics police check was pretty interesting... the sniffer dog was in high spirits and seemed more interested in playing than doing his job!
We arrived in the capital at around 2pm, successfully negotiated the bus station and boarded the next bus to Ahuachapan, where we had a small hunt to find our chicken bus to Tacuba.
By the time we finally arrived it was pretty dark
but the bus attendant guessed where we were going (the only hostel in town?) and gave us directions.
Mama, Papa y Manolo's Hostel is adorable, and we were greeted by Mama and Papa, shown our dorm and directed to the best Pupuseria in town for dinner! Pupusas are basically the national dish of El Salvador - a thick corn tortilla stuffed with cheese, meat, veg... they're delicious, cheap, and we ate there every night!!
The next morning we relaxed after the full day travelling, before Papa drove us in the afternoon to the local hot springs, not too far from Ahuachapan. We couldn't work out which was hottest and manage to do them backwards, hottest to coldest - whoops!
On Sunday we visited Parque Nacional El Imposible, driven up into the park by pick up truck and then climbing down a route following a river and several waterfalls. You could jump into the pools on a couple (turns out that would have been preferable to the climb round I had to do - although I did get to see a parrot's nest!) and two were slides which was really fun!! One of the biggest waterfalls of the
day you have to jump or 'abseil' down. I abseiled - then managed to trip into the water at the bottom instead of jump from the ledge, what an idiot!!
At the bottom we had lunch, before climbing all the way back to the truck. Part of the path was covered in ants that bite, so Jess and I basically yelped the whole way in our walking sandals, while Sam left with her feet unscathed... although her trainers may never be dry again after being in the water all day.
Monday was the day I was most excited about - mountain biking down through the park and out to Barra De Santiago on the coast. Once again the truck took us up to the high point (yay no hills!) and then we were onto our bikes.
Luckily I was wearing my sport leggings. Less luckily, I was wearing a short sleeved t shirt.
It took me all of two minutes to misjudge braking on a pretty steep downhill (never ever use the front brake on a downhill. Everyone knows that right?) and flip over my handlebars onto the gravel track before the bike landed on me
- ow ow ow.
Our guide coated my dusty gross bleeding arm in iodine (again - ow ow ow) and the driver got me back onto the truck with the bike for a few minutes, before letting me get back out on the track - with lots of advice in Spanish about not touching the left brake or it would happen again (thanks) and five ibuprofen (I didn't question the dose!) - where it was a little less steep.
After that I was a pretty slow biker for half hour or so - I've never questioned my ability to stop a bike before - but soon picked up and the sun and scenery made for a really cool morning! Towards the end Sam and Jess got into the truck, but I cycled the whole way down the peninsula to the ocean - even racing a couple of schoolboys on their bmxs 😊
Barra De Santiago is a beautiful beach that doesn't seem to have attracted too many tourists yet, with volcanic black sand and so pretty impressive waves. We enjoyed a well earned lunch of fresh fish, rice and salad before a paddle in the ocean.
Then we were dropped off to the bus stop with our bags to head to our next destination: Juayua, on the beautiful Ruta De la Flores.
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