Monday, April 29, 2013

El Salvador, IS IT SAFE?!

We are currently in Nicaragua and recently met a couple of young, French surfer dudes who couldn't believe we had traveled to El Salvador. They asked if it was safe. They had heard that it was too dangerous in El Salvador, so instead, they spent their travel holiday in Nicaragua.

Similarly, we met a German/Romanian couple traveling with their 2-year old in a near-armored vehicle who completely skipped El Salvador in favor of driving through Honduras.  And yet, we skipped Honduras to avoid the "dangers" and "hassles" of traveling through the corrupt murder capital of the world. It seems no matter where you are, everyone always thinks it's more dangerous over there. 

Unfortunately for us, the naturally risk-embracing surfing world seems to know what we do: other than the scourge of clumsy, nerdy bandito boys, El Salvador is no more/less dangerous than anywhere else in Central America. For that reason, the 2 surf spots where we stayed were very crowded.



We stayed at Sunzal Point Hostal for our first 11 days in El Salvador. (Scott's last post). We parked in their mango-littered yard where we enjoyed all-you-can-eat mangos. While we were there, the waves got so big that we couldn't surf. Two people died on consecutive days during the biggest of the swell.

The deadly wave/rock at Playa El Tunco

All you can eat mangos!

While in Sunzal, we were introduced to their national food - the Pupusa.  These are dough-balls, filled with cheese, beans, and/or meat, smashed flat and cooked up on a skillet. You can buy 3 of these for a dollar! (The official currency of El Salvador is the US dollar) Each night, we would buy 6 of them and add a few of our own fixins - avocado, tomato, onion, sour cream, salsa, etc. Papusas are definitely my favorite Central American food, so far.

The magic ingredients

Deliciousness in a doughball

In Sunzal, we befriended Dafydd from New Zealand and Marius from Germany. All of us wanted to escape the crowded waves of Sunzal, so we gave them a ride 5 hours south to the well-known surf spot, called Las Flores. They stayed at the hostel, and we parked right on the beach, within reach of their wireless internet, for free!

The Las Flores crew

Las Flores is the best wave we've surfed, but unfortunately we were there during the North American spring break.  Many adults, and worse, ripping 14-year-old boys, were on holiday at the 2 resorts near the beach.  For this reason, I think I averaged only about 1 wave a day.  No bueno.

In addition to the surfing, a daily activity was rescuing stuck vehicles. Everyday, Scott pushed at least 1 stuck vehicle out of the sand. In fact, the moment we arrived, El Tigre pulled out a big truck (pic below). We eventually got worried about getting out ourselves. We lowered the air pressure in the tires and put El Tigre in 4wd Low. No problem, even with the emergency brake on - oops.



5 comments:

Brenton Shannon Cooper said...

So true..."over there" is always more dangerous! For what it's worth, we went thru Honduras via Copan, San Pedro Sula, Lago Yajoa, Tegucigalpa, and Danli...it was tranquilo and all the cops who stopped us were cool. Go figure :)

After this I've realized that all the negativity we've heard about Honduras is related to the short stretch of PanAmericana if you're trying to haul ass across in one day!

Ruined Adventures said...

So true..."over there" is always more dangerous! For what it's worth, we went thru Honduras via Copan, San Pedro Sula, Lago Yajoa, Tegucigalpa, and Danli...it was tranquilo and all the cops who stopped us were cool. Go figure :)

After this I've realized that all the negativity we've heard about Honduras is related to the short stretch of PanAmericana if you're trying to haul ass across in one day!

Heather and Scott said...

Ruined Adventures, Yes! Your blog post about Honduras definitely will inspire our next pass through Honduras. If for nothing other than the brewery. -Heather

Kevin and Ruth said...

When we were in Las Vegas, we met a family who were from Nicaragua. They were surprised that we could speak some Spanish, and asked where we learned. When we explained we had spent five winters touring Mexico in our motorhome, they said "you went to Mexico? Isn't that dangerous??!!"

Too funny.

www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

Patricia Edgar said...

We joke that Canadians are scared to go to the US, US is scared of Mexico, Mexico of Guatemala! We were told in Guatemala Honduras was fine but not El Salvador (and vice versa). Next stop is El Salvador we leave Guatemala tomorrow morning!