A Travellerspoint blog

July 2015

We’re not in Guatemala now, Dr Ropata…We're in El Salvador!!

Our time in El Salvador at two stunning beaches, where any shuttle we took arrived at our destination three hours late.


View Central & South America on chellebelle's travel map.

We left Antigua bound for El Salvador. To be honest I had no idea what to expect as numerous people are scared of El Salvador due to it’s high crime rate. It seems it is pretty common for people to fly from Guatemala to Nicaruaga and bypass the place completely. Our border crossing was easy and we had with no issues or extra fees demanded to be paid. Our shuttle driver was awesome and made sure we all went through quickly and without complication. Our first stop in El Salvador was El Tunco, a surfer/beach town which is meant to get pretty hectic.
We arrived mid-week and it was the opposite, a quiet serene location. It's apparently the weekends that it turns into party central as lots of people come down from San Salvador for the weekend.

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The town is pretty simple and consists of two streets and the beach.. We spent the afternoon exploring and lying by the pool. On our exploration we discovered that El Tunco also has a pool of stagnant smelly water near one of the roads. Besides the lovely smell it was basically the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos and all of the infections they carry with them.
Now we were back at still felt like a sauna. We discovered the next morning Surfer Shakes for breakfast. The lady would make you any shake you wanted for $2.00. Lewis favourite was Oreos, oats, banana, milk and strawberries. The shakes were massive and was all you needed and more for breakfast ☺
That morning I also discovered the town had yoga classes. I headed off to my first yoga class in over six months! Needless to say all the flexibility I had gained had vanished and it was hilarious how little I could do. The teacher was great and I had him laughing at me numerous times. I enjoyed the class immensely and came back to our hostel with a new lease on life. I also discovered a Mediterranean shop that sold falafel wraps on my stroll back. The guy was awesome and so chilled out. The wraps were delicious! He made them like they were a work of art, every piece was placed so intricately and precisely. They were so good they ended up being dinner as well.

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El Tunco is a black beach with a steep gradient which basically the waves were pretty harsh. It was awesome to watch the surfers and body boarders but there was no way I wanted to swim and be slam-dunked by the waves. We spent a lot of time watching the waves crashing onto the beach and relaxing.
Sadly the next day we were off again, two days really wasn't enough! This time we were heading to El Cuco, another beach, but this one the turtles come up to nest on. The shuttle from El Tunco to El Cuco was meant to be 3 hours, but it ended up being 7 hours later that we arrived at our hostel. We ended up stopping for 3 hours in a petrol station waiting for a new tyre. The only positive of this extremely long time in San Salvador and constantly being told it would only be another 30mins was I gained a minion toy. ☺ The trip got more eventful on the way when we heard our vans brakes screech on numerous occasions avoiding crashes and saw suspected illegal monkey poachers in the truck in front of us.

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Our hostel and El Cuco are in the middle of nowhere. The place was owned by an American property developer who has a vision and wants to make it self-sustainable. Sadly we didn’t get to meet him and chat as he was in hospital with bronchitis while we stayed. The beach reminded me a lot of Ohope as it was long and flat, the only difference was I was sceptical of the water quality…you could see the tinge of brown sewage in the water; I am pretty sure it was coming from the farm down the road. This didn't seem to stop most people jumping in though. The hostel was massive but was pretty secluded so you were pretty much stuck there. Friends from language school ended up being there at the same time as us so it was great to have a few familiar faces to chill out with while we had some R&R. I had spent the mornings at yoga class which they ran at the hostel. It was great to spend some time stretching out and a great way to wake up.

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We managed to do a few things on our day and half at the hostel. We walked down to the closest town (just over 7km all up) in the afternoon to find the locals drying fish just off the beach from the boats that came in that day; you can only imagine the smell that was coming off the fish baking away in the sun. The town was quiet and there wasn't a tourist in sight. It was even more scorching along their concrete streets so we back to the beach and the sea breeze.
That evening we opted for a early morning mission to find a turtle coming onto the beach to nest. Sadly it wasn’t to be. We didn’t see any turtles in our hour long walk which we were pretty sad about.

On our final day our shuttle was meant to arrive 10am. At 1pm it arrived to take us to our next destination; Leon in Nicaragua. We had two borders to cross and we were running three hours late, I could see how this could go badly. The driver convinced us that we should give him $16USD per person to get all of our stamps. This meant that we didn't have to get out of the shuttle (apparently the borders we crossed in Honduras are not the safest). The figure didn't add up as it should have only been $12 if we had done it ourselves....the other $4 was taken by the driver for walking our passport in or was a bribe for the guards on the border. Either way it was a simple process even if he did lock us in and refuse to let us out anywhere in Honduras (It was rather comical considering one of the guys on our shuttle was busting to use the toilet). We learnt a few days later that most buses get stopped by police near the border in Honduras and they demand a fee to let it go from EVERYONE! The good news is we made it to Leon safe and sound…just not until 8pm that night and had none of these problems.

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Sadly we didn’t get to see as much of El Salvador as we wanted to. Our plans of going inland and seeing some of there colonial towns went out of the window due to the lack of time and the lack of information about how to get anywhere. So sadly it is more rushing through countries so we get to Panama in time for our boat.

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Posted by chellebelle 17:41 Archived in El Salvador Tagged beaches turtles el border relax yoga coco fees exit tunco falafels downtime Comments (0)

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