Ok, it has been a week, 11 different towns/villages, 16 chicken buses rides and I’m not gonna lie to you: I was really tempted to copy / paste my post on Honduras… What? Yes, it would have been pure laziness but it was sooo tempting! But since I’m (lowering my voice) unemployed *coughing*, I figured I should try harder. So here I am, looking for the words to talk about our first 7 days in one of the most dangerous countries in the world: El Salvador.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to jinx ourselves by denying that issues and dangers exist over here. Far from it! We still have a few days ahead of us in El Salvador but… we have been riding chicken buses, hung out with locals (who had their mandatory machete as accessory… As you do), walked on the streets after dark (only where locals confirmed that there was no risk) and not once we felt unsafe. We’ve used our common sense (comes in handy sometimes) and listened carefully to what locals had to say. If they recommended a detour, we adapted our plan. After all, staying alive is (to the risk of repeating myself) one of our top priorities. Thinking that El Salvador is not dangerous as a whole doesn’t mean that we are not taking El Salvador’ gangs issues seriously. Au contraire! There’s nothing more dangerous than a man on a power trip (check our glorious history!). But hopefully the Maras’ time will be soon(ish) up (a bit of optimism cannot hurt, right?!) and the brilliant, talented and inspired young Salvadorians, we have met along the way, will get the peaceful and bright future they deserve. In the meantime there are many areas that are peaceful, wonderful and ready to welcome happy travelers!
You probably can tell but yes, El Salvador did what it took to win our hearts. After crossing the border (we did take a few deep breathes once we realized that we had made it to El Salvador. Were we insane??), we decided to overnight in a small village: San Ignacio. People at the border, on the bus and in this little village were extremely friendly and we almost felt bad to be worried. Truth tho? We did expect to see banditos jump in front of our bus and get everybody off the bus to rob us. Needless to say that our first Salvadorian bus ride was silent. We kept looking around, anxious to get to San Ignacio in one piece but nothing happened. Imagine our surprise. We found a cheap hotel and passed out until the next morning, this damn anxiety exhausted us!
Rain decided to come around so we gave up the lovely idea to hike El Pital (shame because it would have been a rewarding one by nice weather) and instead we made our way to Suchitoto. We loved this town! It was the perfect place to relax. Their lake is unfortunately polluted but they have nice pools where you can spend hours! Cheap way to escape the heat. We also went on a day trip to Cojutepeque (known for their delicious chorizo) that was nice as the heat is less challenging over there. It was definitely hard to leave our Salvadorian heaven and its free mangoes but we were very excited for what still had to come: volcanoes, colonial towns, mountain lakes and beaches! Alright, time to explore Santa Ana and its surroundings!