September 19 – 26, 2016.
After three amazing months in Guatemala we crossed the border between Guatemala (Valle Nuevo) and El Salvador (Las Chinamas). We stayed only 8 days in the country because we had made plans to be in Honduras by September 29. For the first time we were in a bit of a rush. We tried to see as much as possible in such a short time.
Our first stop after the border crossing was the secure parking lot of Termales de Alicante just outside Ahuachapan. We paid $20 to camp and have access to the many pools fed by the natural hot springs coming from the mountain. There were a bar/restaurant, showers, bathrooms, hiking trails and a lookout. Besides another couple who came for a few hours we had the place to ourselves to soak in the hot pools and enjoy the tropical landscape. We try to visit these types of places during the week as they tend to be very busy with locals during the weekends.
We continued on the picturesque Ruta de Las Flores (Flower Route) to the quaint little town of Juayua founded in 1577 and known for it’s weekend food fair.
But first things first, we were dying to taste our first Pupusas, El Salvador’s staple dish. We found this tiny place where the lady made them fresh! 4 Pupusas and 2 sodas for $5.
Ruta de las Flores
The next day we continued along the Flower Route passing through little towns on our way to the Pacific Ocean.
Playa El Tunco
The Salvadoran beaches are very popular with surfers, El Tunco is one of the more touristy on the beautiful Costa del Bálsamo where you can find numerous beach towns with a laid back vibe.
El Tunco is popular with the international crowd and locals who come from near by San Salvador for weekend beach fun!
After an early lunch of Popusas, we left the Pacific coast, driving through the Capital City of San Salvador. We were a bit apprehensive but what we saw was a City that looked like a medium size American City with wide boulevards lined with chain stores and restaurants.
One of the advantages of a small country are the short driving distances. After just a few hours drive, we arrived in the small Colonial town of Suchitoto dubbed the cultural capital of the country. Tranquil, with a great artistic vibe, we really enjoyed Suchitoto and could have stayed longer.
The people of El Salvador have suffered tremendously during their civil war that lasted 12 years from 1980 to 1992. Poverty and crime are still a problem but during our short visit we had the opportunity to meet kind and welcoming people. We never felt like we were in danger and the small country is packed with lakes, volcanoes, beaches and apparently the best night life is Central America and a vibrant art scene.
Few Facts about El Salvador
- Population: 6.345 million (2016) World Bank
- Area: 8,124 sq miles (21,041 km²)
- Capital: San Salvador
- Currency: US Dollar
- Time spent: 8 days
- Miles driven: 205 miles
- Diesel price per gallon: $2.35
Next Honduras … Stay tuned!