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The smallest of all Central American countries is not as touristy as the countries around, and tourist infrastructure is not as good.  Because of this traveling is a little more difficult, but there are many interesting places and there is no need to share them with other foreigners.  The people are kind to those who make it here and prices don´t double for "gringo".  Yet.

Barra de Santiago

My first night in the country I spent near the border with Guatemala, in a little town of Barra de Santiago.  It lies on a long peninsula covered in tall palm trees providing welcome shade.  The ocean on the left, the river on the right, I liked it from the begining.  Hammocks in the hostel by the beach invited to take a rest, but I decided to walk to the end of the peninsula, where the river meets the ocean.  I was impressed by long, empty stretches of black sand.

Sonsonate and Santa Ana

Barra was a fantastic place to just rest, but the next day I had to go to the capital.  I was changing the bus and I forgot my hat.  I was told the bus would be back in 2 hours, so I just waited.  It came back after 4 hours and I got my precious hat back, but it was too late to continue.  In the end, I spent the whole day chatting to people in the little restaurant where I found refuge.  The day after I made it to Santa Ana, the second biggest city in the country.  Streets around the bus station were full of people buying and selling as it was just a few days before Christmas.  I packed my camera and went to the Cerro Verde National Park.  Sadly, volcano Izalco was closed because of it´s activity.  It´s black cone is a stark contrast to the green mountains around it.  I walked down the road passing coffee plantations and occasionally people, who seemed surprised to see a foreigner.  The view of Lake Cohatepeque below was impressive, but I caught a passing bus and went back to Santa Ana.

San Salvador

Christmas was only days away and I didn´t want to spend it alone.  I contacted Miguel through Hospitality Club and I stayed with him until the end of the year.  He picked me up from the bus station and the same evening we went out with a couple of his friends.  I spent Christmas with his family and I had a great time.  We went to the coast just to relax on the beach, or running up volcano San Salvador.  Actually, Miguel run and I gave up half way and had to walk shamelessly.  But the satisfaction and the crater view on the top was very rewarding.
In the village of Panchimalco, only 15km from San Salvador, I met Dorian and I didn´t even notice when year 2007 started.  I wanted to stay longer but I knew that would make it even more difficult to leave, so I packed my bag and went to Honduras.


The best thing about El Salvador is the fact that there are very few tourist.  It seems as safe (or dangerous) as Guatemala so there is no reason to avoid it, and the rewarding feeling of being the only foreigner in town is great!   photos