El Salvador, as a jungle country with a fair amount of open and undeveloped spaces, has a rich diversity of fauna. While there are numerous mammals that live in the jungles, one of the most common aspects of this fauna that visitors notice are the birds, which fly about the city of San Salvador and chatter away. Many of the birds congregate around pools and sources of water, as the country’s heat undoubtedly leave them thirsty. Some of the hotels in the city also keep caged birds and domesticated ones, which was the case with the Sheraton Presidente.
El Salvador is not a country that comes to mind when discussing Latin American art, but that does not mean that the country is entirely devoid of a cultural or arts scene. Rather, the hardships of the post-independence period, particularly the period of the civil war, have given impetus to many Salvadoreans to express themselves through plastic arts rather than other means. The country was quite conservative in its retention of traditional Spanish forms of expression until the end of the 19th century, but it is quite easy to see the break with tradition and experimentation with new styles and techniques in the 20th century, particularly with respect to the influence of art from other Latin American nations. The trauma of the 70s and 80s led to more political and provocative art work, which the huge diaspora and the interaction between Salvadoreans at home and abroad have allowed for greater cross-pollination. All of these trends can be witnessed at the country's premier art gallery, the Museo de Arte (MARTE) in the San Benito district.
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
El Salvador as a whole is rich in flora, particularly in those fruit-giving plants that provide the northern hemisphere with much of its tropical fruit. When visiting more rural areas of the capital and also the countryside, it is not uncommon to see areas of coffee plantations, as well as cashews, mangos, ginger, cocoa, papaya and other fruit trees and bushes. The cashew trees are perhaps the most interesting, as the cashew grows outside of the fruit, rather than in its centre. Visitors are also amazed by the spectacular variety of flowers that grow in the country, including many varieties of orchids. You can get a great view of them in Boquerón Park, where many women also (unfortunately) sell the flowers by the roadside.
- Hiking and Walking
- Jungle and Rain Forest
Autoboys and autogirls
One very peculiar aspect of Salvador life must be the pick-up truck travel. Anybody who has one uses the trunk as a space for transporting people rather than goods. Even when there is room inside beside the driver the preference of the passenger is to “mount” it from the back. One possible reason is that it offers wonderful breeze and feeling of freedom but this is only a speculation. Comments on this curious phenomenon are welcome. A side effect must be the uninterrupted line of plastic bottles and other garbage lining the road from frontier to frontier. It is so easy for anybody to relieve himself by throwing the bottle overboard that there is no time to consider other option especially when the example is already there, begging. Moreover, the plea of the government in the form of billboards in the city (limpiesa es salud) has not reached the country yet.
- Road Trip
Can leave without trying the Pupusas!
Pupusas are some kind of tortillas filled in with cheese, beans, or meats (or a mixture) and are El Salvador's #1 typical dish, especially during those lazy Sunday dinners when mom does not want to cook. Be ready to get your hands dirty! There are two varieties, rice and corn. Rice are more gluttonous and in my opinion a little better; order with a hot chocolate to drink and a piece of quesadilla (Cheese bread) as dessert.
Other typical drinks: Kolashampan and of course Pilsener, the standard beer.
Where to find them? Just ask for the closest pupuseria (all over). More famous sites: Los planes de renderos (25 min from the capital) and Olocuilta (25 min away).
- Budget Travel
Some of the most interesting...
Some of the most interesting art can be found in galleries in San Salvador rather than museums. Fernando Llort's gallery is a good example. He's the artist who did the mosaic mural on the front of the famous San Salvador Cathedral. There's a great gallery of his wonderful art in various media, a gift shop, and his studio. If you are lucky, you'll meet this gifted artist.
This is not your typical Latin...
This is not your typical Latin American country. Especially in San Salvador, where you most encounter the European influence. Of course, there is a sharp distinction between the campesinos and the city-dwellers.
Torogoz the National Bird
This is a beautiful bird to watch, very elegant, though not common. I cought this one on my garden one day.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
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