WHY YOU SHOULDN'T MISS OUT EL SALVADOR
Before every big trip, when you are planning on visiting more than one country, I believe everyone has certain expectations of what they will think of each place before they arrive. I believe however open minded we plan to be, something has sold a country to us before we've even stepped foot on the ground. Or vice versa, something has dimmed our view without fully knowing what it's like. With me for example, when visiting Asia, I always thought the Philippines would of been my favourite place to explore and Myanmar (Burma) was somewhere I had never really thought about, a place to fill in a gap before the next country. But it turned out to be quite the opposite, Myanmar is now one of my favourite countries in the world!
El Salvador is a country like that. It's somewhere that doesn't get the credit it's deserved and it's a place where people seem to think they won't like, so in the end, usually skip it. Because it's small in size, it could be seen as not having as much to offer as it's neighbouring countries. Or because of it's dangerous reputation -- that definitely would put travellers off! Or maybe no ones ever heard of someone they know going there. I want to tell you how this is common misconception, this was one of the countries that taught me to never have expectations of a new location before you see it for yourself. These are the reasons why you shouldn't miss El Salvador.
#THE PEOPLE & COMMUNITY
I never felt as though the locals of El Salvador were trying to scam me or trick me in any way. I always found them incredibly honest and genuinely trying to help with anything I needed. From our hostel staff who spoke very little English, trying their best to help us find our way around and welcome us to the area. To the taxi guys who instead of offering to take us somewhere for a price, just pointed us in the right direction and saying it's short enough just to walk! And to the workers at our little pupusa local for always getting so excited when we ate there and happy to serve us. I found, the community works together, and is a union to actually learn from rather than be afraid of.
El Salvador is the home of pupusa's! Created in this country, they are found on almost every street! They are round cornmeal flatbreads stuffed with lots of cheese, meat, jalapeno's, corn etc and served with pickled cabbage and chilli sauce. They are traditional and delicious and as you can see from my photo, I couldn't wait to eat it before I took a pic. They are seriously cheap eats and can become addictive while exploring the country.
In El Tunco, you have the best of both worlds. It's quiet enough that you can have the beach or waves mostly to yourself but lively enough that you've found yourself in a cool little surfing town with a buzz about it. I feel it's the perfect combination of Popoyo and San Juan Del Sur in Nicaragua mixed together! Beautiful waves from morning until night, you can ride the water, take lessons or watch the surfers do their thing on top of El Tunco's massive rock right on the beach!
The beaches here are rustic, exotic and rarely crowded. Don't miss El Tunco, El Cuco, El Zonte and Playa San Diego. Spending time at the beach in El Salvador means spending time to reflect, touch base and concentrate on yourself. There's something mystical about these beaches, I found myself in a little bubble there. Getting up from the hostel hammock to chat to other travellers dotted around outside, waxing boards or cooking meals. I would then stroll down the back path to take the two minute walk to the beach and soon hear the wild waves. A lot of the times I just sat and took it all in, staring at the water and watching the surfers.
So on the coast you can surf, relax on a hammock and reconnect, but what can you do inland? Not far from the capital of San Salvador, is the serene Ruta de las Flores. Here you will find several small but beautiful villages dotted around the peacefully green mountains and coffee plantations. Go hiking, explore waterfalls, eat traditional food as well as zip-lining and mountain biking. This is a perfect place to take your time in and travel at a slower pace. There are also volcanoes in El Salvador where you may trek, take in the unspoiled views or even gaze at the turquoise lake within the main crater of the Santa Ana Volcano.
Sunset swims and saying goodbye to another day. The sunsets of El Salvador made the beaches come alive.
I genuinely loved El Salvador and honestly just felt happy there. Don't miss it during your travels in Central America, this will be somewhere you will look back on fondly because I know I do.