We almost skipped El Salvador because we were in a bit of a rush to make it to Honduras to start our next round volunteering with the Muskoka Foundation. Instead of skipping it we decided to spend seven days there and then book it straight to the north coast of Honduras after that.
Our first taste of El Salvador involved driving the beautiful Ruta de Flores from the border to Juayua. This short and scenic drive brought us right into the town of Juayua… where we promptly ran into our friends Wilson and Sarah once again at the Portezuelo Park Campground. The reason we ended up meeting our friends on this day was because we all love to eat (and perhaps fate brought us all together once again!). Juayua dedicates a few street blocks for their weekly weekend food festival. Most dishes are $3.50 to $5.00 per plate, but there are many options and everything is delicious. BBQ’d fish, chicken, beef, or pork with pupusas, rice and beans, salad, and coleslaw were the popular options. We went with a couple of servings of the pork, some ceviche, fresh orange juice, and horchata… plus a beer or two to wash it all down. There were some sweet deserts there as well… which of course we had to try. After our first round of taste-testing we popped into the El Cadejo coffee shop to regain some energy. We loved the vibe, as well as their delicious coffee and strawberry lemonade. Eventually we started asking around for a mototaxi to take us back to the campground, but were offered a ride by a local in his sweet Land Cruiser FJ45 that was handed down to him from his grandfather.
(Ed. Originally this post had almost twice as many Land Cruiser photos as Richard got quite excited about it.)
One of our favourite things about El Salvador was its small size. After only a couple of hours of driving we arrived in Playa el Zonte where we spent a night at the Horizonte Surf Camp. There was a nice beach break across the road from the campground so I took Wilson up on his offer to borrow his board. The sun was setting, the wind was non-existant, and the waves were large and consistent. Since I haven’t actually surfed much (maybe 2 times total on longboards with almost no surf) I was a bit hesitant to throw myself into the mix. I paddled out and waited. I enjoyed the quiet, the swells, and the setting sun. And then Wilson got impatient, swam out, and told me to get the show on the road. I assume that what I experienced for the next half hour would be similar to submersing myself in a washing machine full of salt water. Wash. Rinse. Spin. Repeat. Standing up successfully, although for short periods of time, is well worth the sinus pressure wash cleanse and ingestion of salt water. Next time I’m sure I’ll go pro.
Playa el Tunco was our next stop. We ended up staying at a small hotel with secure parking and a pool for cheap. There is a campground in town, but since it left a little to be desired we stayed elsewhere. I thought I would try my hand at surfing once again, but the swells were pretty large so instead we ate, perspired profusely, swam, ate, perspired profusely, and swam. Ash crammed three yoga classes at Balance Yoga into two days just to make sure she got her fix. She says to make sure you check out Adrian’s classes!
There are a ton of options for eating and drinking in this little surf town. Our favourites were:
Mr. Souvlaki: Great gyros and they offer craft beer!
Soy-A: Try the Choco-Banana Berry. You won’t regret it.
Take a WOK: Noodle bar! Choose noodles or rice. Choose your meat. Choose your veggies. Choose your sauce. It reminded us of the Noodle Box or Mongoli Grill back home in Vancouver.