SMALL AND UNKNOWN COUNTRY
SMALL AND UNKNOWN COUNTRY
We are in the very south of El Salvador on top of an inactive volcano and enjoy the view in the light of the setting sun. Just a stone’s throw away from us lies Nicaragua and in the other direction one has the feeling to see almost as far as Guatemala…
We can hardly count how many volcanoes we have hiked in the past two weeks and we wish to be back at our first days in El Salvador. That’s when we pampered our tired bones after the strenuous Fuego adventure in Guatemala with a pleasant stay in the warm “Termales de Alicante”. The various swimming pools are incredibly beautiful embedded in the forest and the fact that we can park our home-on-wheels right next to one of the pools, have breakfast every morning with a fantastic view and have it all almost to ourselves makes us stay longer than planned ?
At some point, however, we set off and zigzag through the country, which is only half the size of Switzerland but has almost the same population. Just that we don’t get out of practice, we first climb the volcano Santa Ana. The hike is fortunately much less exhausting and therefore we have plenty of time to enjoy the views of the surrounding volcano landscape. The big crater lake Coatepeque looks more like a small pond from up here, but the over-sized Algarve flowers are all the more impressive. Unfortunately, the wind gets stronger and stronger during our ascent and only 100 meters away from the crater rim we have to stop! The gusts are so strong that loose pebbles fly through the air and hit us in the face and we have to be careful not to be blown over! Even the most beautiful crater lake is not worth an injury and we decide to turn around just before we reach the top ☹ The next volcano is – at least for us – a piece of cake. Our adventure mobile takes us straight up to the Laguna Verde located in the crater and we are very happy that our strong 4×4 transmission does all the hard work for once…
WATER IN ALL VARIATIONS
The nights in the more elevated inland are pleasantly cool, almost fresh and we decide to visit the surfing mecca “El Tunco” with its famous waves. The road down to the Pacific Ocean consists of what feels like a thousand curves, so after hours of left and right we spontaneously make a stopover in the realm of waterfalls. From the rainier highlands several streams flow towards the sea and due to the gradient, many cascades were created in this area. Despite the current dry season, some of the falls are still impressive and we don’t want to miss a dip in one of the many natural pools after the hike and we even dare to jump down some of the cascades.
We reach the coast at sunset and with a beer in our hands, we watch the surfers riding the big waves. This water is not suitable for swimming, the currents are too strong and too dangerous for swimmers and the waves that thunderously crush at the beach are too high. But that doesn’t bother us because for once we stay in a parking lot of a hotel and can enjoy the luxury of their small pool in the tropical garden whenever we want to cool down.
JAPAN OR WHAT?
The Salvadorans are very friendly and open-minded people and often we are approached in the middle of the street or in supermarket parking lots by strangers who want to talk about our car and our journey. We taste home-made coffee liqueur, because the owner of the plantation doesn’t accept a “no” despite our hint that it’s not even noon yet and we follow his advice to visit Suchitoto instead of the capital San Salvador. A look at the map tells us, that this place is located on the shore of the largest reservoir in El Salvador and not in Japan… The colonial town turns out to be already our second last stop before crossing the border to Nicaragua because El Salvador really is a small country. We once more stroll through the cobblestone streets lined with colorful houses and on the village square with its mandatory white church we watch the hustle and bustle of the locals.
And here we are, spending our last hours in this small country on top of that volcano mentioned in the introduction and glancing at two countries which are next on our route. Tomorrow we have a border crossing marathon ahead of us! From El Salvador, the Pan-American Highway leads only via Honduras to Nicaragua and therefore most likely several hours of bureaucracy with filling in forms and queueing at various counters await us…