The mangrove forest in Barra de Santiago is one of the largest in El Salvador and it is rich in plants and animals.
At one point during the canoe trip we went ashore to see remains of indigenous tribes who have left traces since long ago. On the small beach there were pieces of pottery and obsidian and along a path there was a heap of earth and stones.
For the morning I had booked a canoe trip to the mangrove reserve. The guide Julio came after breakfast and we walked to the canoe on the estuary side. It was a pleasant and tranquil tour on the calm waters surrounded by mangrove. We passed many fishermen throwing their round nets in the water or just people passing by in a canoe. The tour took 3 hours and was 25 dollars (June 2009).
I found the food at Capricho Beach house to be overpriced and I was still hungry after my meals.
When I arrived I ordered a strawberry juice in milk and a plate of French fries. I didn’t want a whole meal but had preferred some more fries. It tasted good though. It was 4.10 dollars (June 2009).
In the evening I had fish with mashed potatoes and vegetables, and a beer to drink. I was glad to get mashed potatoes but it was not a big meal and for all I paid 12 dollars.
In the morning I had European breakfast with omelette, bread (two pieces) and jam. This small breakfast was 4.75 dollars. Coffee was not included but had to be ordered separately for 1.50 dollars. I didn’t ask for more bread as bread could be ordered as a side order in the menu. This was by far the most expensive breakfast I had in El Salvador.
If I had stayed longer I would have walked in to the village to eat and to buy snacks in one of the shops.
There are two direct buses from Barra de Santriago to Sonsonate. One is leaving 4.30am and the other at 12. I took the 12 o'clock bus which was leaving from the end of Calle Principal (the same place where I had been dropped the day before). The bus left on time and it took 1,5 hours to Sonsonate. The ticket was 1.70 dollars (June 2009).
At the terminal in Sonsonate I bought water and asked for a bus to Ataco. Ten minutes later, at 13.40, the bus left for Ataco. It took quite some time before we left Sonsonate as the bus stopped to pick up more and more people.
The bus was another of those old school buses where I could have my luggage just in front of me. To Ataco it took 1,5 hours and the ticket was 0.75 dollars (June 2009). In Ataco the bus stops just by the market.
There is a bus leaving Sonsonate for Barra de Santiago at 10 and another one at 16.30. To be sure to be in time for the first bus I left the Hotel Happy House in San Salvador at 7.00. They had called for a taxi that took me to Terminal de Occidente. The price for the taxi was 6 dollars, but it was not very far.
From Terminal de Occidente buses of different categories leave for Sonsonate. There was a big sign with the different prices on the wall. A bus with the second most expensive fare was leaving in a few minutes so that's the bus I took. The ticket was 1.15 dollars (June 2009) and the bus ride took 65 minutes. I could have all my luggage beside me inside the bus.
When I arrived in Sonsonate there was still 1 hour 40 minutes until the bus for Barra de Santiago was leaving. I asked around to be sure from where it was leaving and then went to buy a coffee. At the terminal there are lots of pupuserias and stalls selling snacks.
The bus came 10 minutes before departure and it left in time. It was one of these old American style school buses (they are flat in the front in El Salvador) and I could once again have my luggage beside me in the bus. After 50 minutes on the highway we came to the dirt road to Barra de Santiago. Here there is a place to eat and pick ups are waiting to take people to Barra de Santiago if they come at other times then the bus. Here the bus waited 20 minutes because someone had called and asked the driver to wait for him. We passed the outspread village and in the end of Calle Principal the bus stopped. It had taken another 40 minutes from the highway. From the bus stop it was about 5 - 10 minutes walk to Caprichio Beach House where I was going to stay.
The ticket between Sonsonate and Barra de Santiago was 1.70 dollars (June 2009).