El Salvador

Big waves!

Our bus arrived into the capital, San Salvador. We took a taxi straight away out of there to Sunzal, near La Libertad on the coast. We got dropped off at the Surfer’s Inn, where we were very warmly greeted by Antonio and his wife. For $6 each we got a simple but large private room. This became our new home for the next 2 weeks. It was just a 5 minute walk to the rocky beach with the main point break. We hired surfboards and went out almost every day. The almost was because of some huge waves for a couple of days, up to an estimated 12 foot. That wasn’t enough to stop Joz going for a paddle though. It was generally good, particularly in the mornings before the wind chopped it up, but the weekends were too crowded and I could hardly catch a wave.

Breakfast consisted of a fresh mango or two fallen from the trees at the hostel. Most often we would visit the local restaurant for lunch and dinner. Plate of the day was $2.50 or $3 for lunch and papusas for dinner at 3 for $1 would cost us $1.50 each. With beers varying from $1 to $1.50 this was the cheapest country of the trip so far. We did extend our budget sometimes including the worlds best ceviche – mixed seafood in lime juice, this one served on a bed of watermelon.

World's best ceviche

All sound pretty good so far? That’s because I didn’t mention the heat, humidity and mosquitoes. The first night we were there we were drinking a beer at Balsamo, the neighbouring hostel, which actually became quite a regular event, it was 30 degrees and very sticky at 21.00. Our room would get quite hot, but with no fly wire on the windows we had to keep them closed and rely on the fan to survive. Even during the day and afternoon we would have to retreat to the hot room to escape the relentless mozzies. A swim in the ocean was not at all refreshing as the water is so warm. Similarly, there was no such thing as a cold shower.

After our 2 weeks of fun we ventured along Ruta de las flores (Route of the flowers) to Juayua (pronounced Huayuuua, or nobody will understand you!). This is a nice little town which has a big food festival every weekend and is very popular for Salvadorian tourists. I heard a rumour that it was possible to eat guinea pig. With my phrasebook in hand I went in search. Nobody understood me, so I had to resort to gestures along with ‘like a rabbit but smaller’ in Spanish. I was soon directed to a stall and told to ask for ‘rana’. Turns out it wasn’t guinea pig, but I saved myself a trip to France…

What's this delicious looking dish?

Not just the legs, the whole frog! No, it doesn’t taste like chicken, not much flavour at all, but quite chewy.

We went with the guide from the hostel for a short hike just out of town to see the waterfalls, also very popular with the Salvadorian tourists. They were pretty cool, but the best bit is the tunnels linking them up. You can float through with the flow of the water in complete darkness, avoiding protruding rocks, with just enough room to keep your mouth above the water. The pools and tunnels were built to direct water to a hydro electric power plant. If you take a wrong turn you can end up as energy!

Tunnel swimming

After a few beers, our pleasant time in El Salvador had come to an end.

Beautiful view