As I stated in a earlier post El Salvador was a pleasant surprise. The biggest contributor to this was the people. No matter what problem I found myself in there was always some local to lend a helping hand. If I didn’t understand their Spanish (which happens 98% of the time :)) they would take time out of their day to show me where the hotel or restaurant was instead of blowing me off as a clueless backpacker like some countries I have been to. Once on the bus I asked someone where the terminal was and about everyone pointed in the directed I needed to go. The only other country I could compare this hospitality to would be northern Japan. This alone made for a very enjoyable time in El Salvador.Another contributing factor would be that El Salvador is safer than what everyone makes it out too be. Granted I didn’t spend too much time in the capital of San Salvador but even then I never felt that my security had been compromised at any point. Yes the country has some big crime/gang problems but with just basic travel skills like not going out at night in bad areas, don’t flash expensive electronics, carry small amounts of money, etc….. one can lower the risk of having an incident in El Salvador.
Lastly the geography of the country was absolutely beautiful! From volcanic mountains to black sand beaches El Salvador seemed to have it all. On the Second day I was in the country we headed up to do some hiking near a town called Juayua. In one place we could see three volcano’s Izalco ,Cerro Verde, Santa Ana. The sheer violent beauty of these giants was awe-inspiring to see in person. As for El Zonte ,the beach we stayed at, it was quickly realized that it was a hidden gem of this Central American country. With Cheap accommodation(5 days 156 dollars-room,food,drinks,etc), friendly locals, good surf, amazing views, and great food we almost didn’t leave. On a surfing stand point El Zonte is an untapped resource for endless sets of non-crowded waves and should be put on any surfer’s wish list of must do destinations.In closing one week was not enough time to spend in El Salvador and in leaving the country I felt like I really just scraped the surface of what I could have seen and done there. Hopefully someday my journeys will take me to El Salvador once more to stuff my face with pupusas, take in the beautiful sights and drink cheap beers while lying in a hammock on an almost private beach watching the surfers do their thing.