Central American Travel tips
Favorite thing: Hi,
Don't leave out any country, including El Salvador where I have been living since 1994. It is the smallest of the countries and is well worth the visit, if not for places for its people. If your are taveling by bus chicken\local you will really get a feel for Central America, and if you need to travel faster use the Central American lines Ticabus or King Quality, they both provide good quality luxury transportation between Guatemala and Panama City at a fair price.
When and if you decide to visit El Salvador send me a PM and I will let you know what and where you should consider visiting.
And as mentioned by another poster it is helpfull to know about those asking for advice, so try to add to your profile.
Have a great trip and enjoy
Robert Broz "El Gringo" in Suchitoto, El Salvador
If you´re planning for a...
Favorite thing: If you´re planning for a vacation trip, visit my little piece of land! El Salvador is a beautiful country in terms of weather, clothing, equipment and entertainment.
The west, marks the southeastern limit of the Mayan world. Ruins like El Tazumal and Joya de Cerén show the grandiose structure and a community buried 1,500 years ago. You can also enjoy the roadside views, the Coatepeque and Guija Lakes, the Montecristo natural park, the Imposible Natural Reserve and some others. The Central,shows the natural beauty of the country. You can find La Laguna Botanical Garden, Los Chorros (it served as background for the Miss Universe beauty pageant) The East shows the high-spirit hospitality of the people who live in the countryside. Visit my country and I bet you will be amazed about El Salvador. You will come as a foreigner but you will leave as a special friend.
Fondest memory: We Salvadoreans love to party....we are also very friendly with foreigners so it will be easy for you to make friends. If you come to El Salvador I am sure you will never forget this country.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
BLUE SKIES AND BEACHES
Favorite thing: Playa El Palmarcito:
La playa adonde pasé los mejores momentos de mi vida, mi infancia, mi segundo hogar.
Fondest memory: Playa El Palmarcito, km. 50 carretera del Litoral, entre playas Sunzal y El Zonte.
La piscina de mar, con sus olas gigantes, sus caminos de roca y vista perfecta al océano, cangrejos, arena negra, brisa, y los recuerdos más importantes de mi vida estarán por siempre grabados en sus riscos.
El Salvador - Best Unusual Attraction
Favorite thing: EL SALVADOR AN EXOTIC DESTINATION......
BEST UNUSUAL ATTRACTION
Museum of the Revolution in Perquin, the former "Rebel Capital" during the Civil Conflict 1980-92. Located in Northeastern El Salvador near the Honduran border, tour the Musuem, Town and nearby civil war massacre sites(1981-1982) of Aramabala and El Mazote, where there is a memorial to the fallen, Guide and 4WD vehicle recommended. The area is a 4 hour drive one way from San Salvador, so if planning a day trip best to leave at dawn and return before dark.
Budget hostels and an upscale resort hotel are located for overnight stays in Perquin.
Fondest memory: First arriving here in October of 1969. I miss El Salvador when I am away since I live here. I returned to live in 1994.Related to:
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Museum Visits
Map of El Salvador
Favorite thing: If you make San Salvador your home base you can easily travel from one end of the country to another and always be back in your hotel for dinner!! The country is small and therefore very manageable, you can easily visit several sites in one day.
Compact and practical
Favorite thing: The good thing about El Salvador is it's compact size, this allows you to visit the country with ease since there are never great distances to travel. El Salvador hasn't been discovered by the mainstream tourist, and this gives it a particular charm and authenticity. El Salvador has been hardly hit by natural disasters and civil war, and I guess that therefore many of the reviews that we get tend to be negative. On the other hand I have loved visiting El Salvador and expect to go back, there are many places to visit. Besides salvadorans are hard working people, truly engaged in having their country make a come back. It's important to remember where you are in order to know what to expect, if you do so I'm sure that El Salvador will reward you with a wonderful experience.
When in San Salvador don't forget to visit the National Archealogical Museum, it's a brand new building with a very interesting collection of pieces (it's actually an anthropological museum, so its an interesting starting point to learn some of the history of the country). The collection is well presented and starts with the first civilizations of El Salvador (more than 10,000 yrs. old), followed by the Mayas, Pipiles, Lencas et al. the arrival of the Spanish, religion and culture, ethnography, etc.
Fondest memory: I think everyone agrees that salvadoreans are very warm and friendly people. The forests, mountains, lakes, beaches, small villages all combined add to the charm and character of this sunny place.Related to:
- Adventure Travel
Favorite thing: When traveling to El Salvador keep in mind that this a great place for nature lovers. You'll find national parks, beaches, lakes, mountains, volcanoes and much more. The tourist infrastructure is not too developed but all this adds to the charm and authenticity of the place.
In the town of Suchitoto,...
Favorite thing: In the town of Suchitoto, about 45 miles north of San Salvador is a restaurant and hotel called La Posada. My friend had told me that this was the most romantic place that he had ever been to. Our group kind of 'ho, hummed' when he told us that but were we amazed when we walked into this incredible place. The establishment looks likes its two hundred years old but it was build in 1996 by a Swiss National who has lived in ES for many years. The complex sits on a thousand foot cliff looking out to the north over Lago de Suchitlan. The food was superb( I am a career food service director) and incredibly cheap. The restaurant is open air but there are no insects. The wonderful latin music adds to the ambience. See my Suchitoto Page for details on Restaurant and Hotel.
Fondest memory: My group works with an organization called AGROS which helps the people of C.A to own property, grow crops on their own land and break the chain of poverty. We worked on a bridge project for a week. The people there are so incredibly industrious and grateful. I was very touched by their invitation to spend a night in their home with their family of five girls. They treated me like a king. Even though they owned only one fork they offered it to me at dinner. See my El Milagro Page for more details on the project and the people.
Favorite thing: I am always cautious about roadsite food booths but here was one that apparently was okay because I didn't get sick! I didn't try the oyster cocktail but the pupusas and ice cold beer were great and generally safe. I wouldn't eat uncooked foods at vendor booths. This booth was just outside the entrance to the Pacific Paradise Hotel on the Costa del Sol(see travelogue of same name!)Related to:
Favorite thing: When arriving in El Salvador you will pay a $10 entrance tax when you present your passport at customs. When You leave, expect to pay $25 as an exit tax! US currency is the standard in all of El Salvador. Occasionally you will find colones used in the smaller stores or in remote areas.Related to:
El Convento de Calvario-Romero Center
Favorite thing: After the civil war 1980-1992, the convent was converted into a cultural and retreat center named El Centro de Romero, after the assassinated Archbishop, Oscar Alnulfo Romero. Much of the history of that time is commemorated inside the walls of this building. On the outside of the building is a mural in memory of not only Romero but also a local martyred priest by the name of Father Palacios who was assassinated on June 21, 1979 in Santa Tecla. He is now buried in the local church here in Suchitoto, Santa Lucia.Related to:
Ruinas de Tazumal
Favorite thing: The Maya ruins of Tazumal, considered the most important and best preserved in El Salvador, are in the town of Chalchuapa. In the Quiché language the name Tazumal means 'pyramid where the victims were burned.' The excavated ruins on display here are only one part of a zone covering 10 sq km (4 sq mi), much of it buried under the town. Archaeologists estimate that the first settlements in the area were around 5000 BC. The excavated structures date from a period spanning over 1000 years. The artifacts found at Tazumal provide evidence of ancient and active trade between Tazumal and places as far away as Panama and Mexico.
Chalchuapa is 76km (47mi) northwest of San Salvador, about a two hour ride by bus, usually via the town of Santa Ana.
Montecristo Cloud Forest
Favorite thing: The area where the borders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala converge receives 200cm (80in) of annual precipitation, experiences 100% humidity and rises to an elevation of 2400m (7900ft) - ideal conditions for a cloud forest. In the Montecristo cloud forest, oak and laurel trees grow to 30m (98ft), and their leaves form a canopy impenetrable to sunlight. Ferns, orchids, mushrooms and mosses coat the forest floor, and the local wildlife includes rare and protected spider monkeys, two-fingered anteaters, pumas, agoutis, toucans and striped owls.
The cloud forest is in the Parque Nacional Montecristo-El Trifinio, northeast of sleepy Metapán and a four hour bus ride due north of San Salvador.
Favorite thing: This is a 'been there done that' surfer destination with some of the best waves rolled out by the Pacific Ocean. If you don't surf, there's not much else to do in this small seaside town full of dried, diced and just plain dead fish - all emitting a pungent, salty smell. The closest beach to the capital, La Libertad swells with city folk on weekends. If the crowds get to be too much, head to one of the many beaches along La Costa del Bálsamo, 75km (46mi) of surfable coast stretching west from La Libertad to Acajutla.
La Libertad is 37km (23mi) south of San Salvador, about an hour-long trip by bus.
Favorite thing: El Salvador's capital and largest city lies in a valley at the foot of the large San Salvador volcano. It's not the prettiest place in the world since the valley is a pollution trap which perfectly captures the city's horrendous traffic effluvium. The rural migration and the declining economy during the war expanded the urban poor, and unemployment is still around 50%. Shanty towns abound and the streets are lined with people selling everything from bruised fruit to Velcro gun holsters just to get by.
San Salvador was founded at its present site in 1546 and has been the capital of El Salvador since 1839. Despite its long history, there are no old buildings to see since the accident-prone city has been destroyed many times - by earthquakes in 1854 and 1873, by the most recent eruption of the San Salvador volcano in 1917 and by floods in 1934. An earthquake in 1986 caused considerable damage, and reconstruction is still going on.
The city's central landmark is the domed Catedral Metropolitana, where Archbishop Oscar Romero is buried. The cathedral faces onto the principal plaza, the Plaza Barrios. Nearby, the red-velvet opulence of the Teatro Nacional dates from 1917. Its sensuous ceiling mural is continued into the nearby Teatro Cafe. The city has two markets, the Mercado Ex-Cuartel for handicrafts, hand-woven textiles and ceramics, and the Mercado Central for daily needs. The Museo Nacional Davíd J Guzmán holds most of the country's notable archaeological finds, and the Jardín Botánico La Laguna is an attractive garden built on what was once a swamp at the bottom of a volcanic crater.
Accommodation is concentrated near the eastern and western bus stations, but these neighborhoods are not safe, especially at night. You can find better service and safety in a few places near the center and a whole slew of guesthouses on the city's western edge. The Zona Rosa is the ritziest and most exclusive restaurant and nightlife district.
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