Throughout all of my planning and reading I didn’t see myself going to El Salvador. Firstly, as I was travelling alone, I was told it was one of the least countries to hit in Central. I was going to bus straight through it to Nicaragua.
All that said, it turned out to be one of my favourite spots I hit – ironic how that happens. Mel said she was on her way there to learn to surf, so I jumped on that plan pretty quickly. Immediately after crossing the boarder from Guatemala you could tell you were in a different country. The men were taller, the women dressed differently and the heat hit you like a wave. I have never experienced heat like that.
I only had time to hit one area, El Tunco. I stayed at the Papaya Lodge for 4 nights (when i planned to stay for 2). The place was perfect. The exactly combination of pool side relaxing, fun party guests and friendly locals. El Tunco is poster area for surfer bums. I knew this going into it, a girlfriend of mine actually got ‘stuck’ there for several months shortly before me.
We also seemed to find the best food here. It was the fresh fruit, smoothies, vegetables and healthy food I imaged Central to have (that I didn’t find until here). And they have Papusas. This is their ‘local’ food. You pay pennies for a little fried pastry filled with meat and veggies. Yes, they are as unhealthy as they sound. The only other thing I will say about the food here is a panini shop Mel and I found. We couldnt get over how good they were – so good in fact we ordered one each for the bus ride out of their at the end of the week. Its a few shops down for Papaya Lodge if you go looking!
This is where I first gave surfing a whirl. And when I say ‘whirl’ I mean i just drowned in the ocean for an hour. Consuming so much saltwater I actually ended up getting heat stroke (heatstroke in 47 degree humidity is possibly the worst experience as far as illnesses go that I have been through). Anyways, prior to that, I had a great time. We had linked up with a few guys who actually did know how to surf and give me a bit of a lesson.
Of course, no ocean side stay would be complete without drinking buckets of beer as the sun sets. This quickly became my favourite travel tradition which I ended up taking home with me. I often drive to a look out in YYC to watch the sunset now. Its almost as satisfying as a hot yoga class at the end of the day or something.
After extending this trip as long as I could, I was off to see Nicaragua. A few of us actually kept on together, and the yarns continued…