Blogs from El Salvador, Central America Caribbean


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

Getting from Copan Ruins in Honduras to Suchitoto took the entire day. I left at 8AM and took 5 different buses and a taxi, with a total wait time of about 10 minutes, since buses just wait till they're nearly full to leave, which doesn't take long at all. But the journeys were pretty slow-going since the buses stop to pick up anyone waiting on the side of the road. The border was easy, since several Central American countries have an agreement to allow travellers a 90-day visa. The town of Suchitoto is a charming time capsule of cobblestone streets, fading pastels, and a bustling town square. This is all worth a visit, but aside from trying different restaurants and cafes, there isn't much to do there, aside from checking out Lake Suchitlán. It should be ... read more
Church in Square
Bird and Lake

Central America Caribbean » El Salvador » Central December 21st 2018

Kaum in El Salvador angekommen, haben wir auch schon die lokale Spezialität Pupusas ausprobiert. Dies sind Teigfladen welche mit Käse, Bohnen oder für Nichtvegetarier auch mit Fleisch gefüllt werden. Diese waren wirklich sehr gut und extrem preiswert. Am nächsten Tag besuchten wir einen Wasserfall. Dies taten wir, wie dass die lokalen Einwohner auch tun, das heisst stehend, oder hockend auf der Ladefläche eines Pick Up Trucks. Dies ist für uns zwar ungewohnt, aber in El Salvador ganz normal und man sieht teils Pick Ups welche mit etwa 15 Personen besetzt sind. Nach kurzer Wanderung erreichten wir den schönen Wasserfall in welchem man auch baden konnte. Dies konnte man aber nicht wirklich lange tun, da das Wasser einfach viel zu kalt war. Danch waren wir dann auch schon wieder zurück im kleinen Städtchen namens Ataco. Hier fand ... read more
Samichlaus Umzug

Central America Caribbean » El Salvador November 22nd 2018

My first night in El Salvador and I was chased around the cobblestone alleyways by youth wearing fireworks. This is a thing apparently. Luckily, I had a snoot full of rum and can run fairly fast in flip flops. Me and all the townsfolk of Suchitoto were terrorized for hours by these teens mimicking Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls with exploding pyrotechnics strapped to their backs as they stampede through the darkened streets. I’ve never laughed so hard and been so confused, in all my life. It just so happens this is the week Suchitoto celebrates their patron saint, the Virgin Lucy. There are festivities throughout with live music, a carnival, street dances, fireworks, and a beauty contest to crown this year’s Queen of Suchitoto. The place is rife with parades, processions, and more. It feels ... read more
El Tunco
Baby You're a Firework

Getting across into El Salvador was as easy as passing through the borders of Europe (pre-Brexit) - we didn’t even need to inconvenience ourselves by leaving the bus as the immigration agent came on board to inspect our passports. The US dollar is the official currency of El Salvador, and we changed over our remaining Guatemalan Quatzales with a tout at the border - which proved to be very handy later on. As a result of the CA-4 agreement between Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua, we were automatically issued with a 90-day visa that encompasses all four countries, and as we had already spent five weeks in Guatemala, the clock was ticking. El Salvador is the only Central American country that doesn’t have a Caribbean coast, but it does boast over 300km of Pacific coastline ... read more
El Cuco Beach
Top of Conchagua Volcano
Morazan Memorial

Here we are, spending some time in the last country of Central America I have never visited. Put it simply, El Salvador doesn't have the best record for safety, so basic rules do apply. Kind of funny to write when you know I'm writing this today from Congo DRC! Yes, El Salvador is classified as one of the more dangerous country in the world. There is no war here per se, but the gangs, and gang wars do rule in most part of the very poor country. So I was not going to play any game on this multi-weeks trip. Why El Salvador, well, it was an easy 48 hours stop between Roatan and my next stop, just an hour from here. San Salvador is also country count 157 for me. As of today, I still ... read more
Diego and the boatman....
Ready for some serious fun...
Three to five meters visibility, maximum!

Being in El Salvador feels a little like being in a modern day western. It seems as if every other person here is carrying a rifle or pistol and a belt of spare ammunition. The reason of course is the number of security staff employed here (even fast food restaurants here have guards), the vast majority of whom are armed. There’s also a visible army presence patrolling streets. Most of the soldiers are very young. Having said this, San Salvador is much more civilised than I had expected with new shopping centres, shiny fast food outlets and wide modern roads. Even the old centre isn’t too bad, though we don’t need to venture here in the evening as we are staying in the Los Heroes area. The main city sights (Metropolitan Cathedral, Theatre, National Palace and ... read more

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

“Welcome to El Salvador; my name is Edgar,” grinned a stocky man in his late thirties. Edgar possessed an enviable shock of black hair, and his friendly face made me warm to him straight away, which was great since he was going to be my guide for the next few days. “Is this your first time here?” His accent was thick but perfectly understandable. I nodded. “It’s good that tourists are starting to come. This is what the government wants and what I want.” He led me outside into the blinkingly bright sunshine. “Wait here, I’ll get the car. I should only be a couple of minutes.” With that he was gone, leaving me alone to take in this most dangerous of Central American cities. El Salvador was the edgiest country of my trip. The mention ... read more
El Salvador has the best car plates in Central America
Chicken bus
Musicians in downtown San Salvador

Santa Ana is known in El Salvador for its wealth from coffee. More than 90% of export income in El Salvador is from coffee, so while we didn’t have time to visit a plantation, we wanted to visit a local coffee shop. We visited a small place called café expresión, a short walk from our hostel. The coffee, like those we tried in Guatemala, were somewhat disappointing, lower than the standards of an average coffee in Europe. We spent the morning strolling around the city, visiting a local bakery, pharmacy (because I was feeling ill) and then the main square. Ben laughed as he pointed out one of the larger signs in the square indicating a guns weren’t allowed. It was quite funny. At the end of our short stroll through Sabra Ana we passed through ... read more

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