El Salvador, Land of Pupusas

Trip Start Jul 04, 2010
Trip End May 10, 2011

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Flag of El Salvador  , La Libertad,
Friday, March 4, 2011

Cara Sucia to 4km before Playa Mizata ---60km---

Temp 38 C / 100.4 F

Trip Alt 201 m
Max Alt 173 m
Avg Climb 1%
Max Climb 7%

The first thing that strikes us different about El Salvador is that the tortillas are thicker and the machetes longer. And oxen pulling carts are common. The palapa (palm thatch) roofs have all but disappeared and are replaced by corrugated metal roofs. We also see more red brick homes which is a nice change from the plethora of ugly grey cement blocks we saw so much of in Guatemala and Mexico. The people are extremely friendly and put their hearts in their greetings: big smiles and "hello gringos" and “welcome to El Salvador”, "Buen Viaje!” and a lot just shout "bye". Rather than hiding their English skills, they shout them out good or bad, right or wrong. “hello – goodbye'. ”'what’s up”  and one cute school girl shouted “hello, kiss the boys” at us. We love how polite the kids are too.
Perhaps it is the fact that they use US dollars, but they are definitely more American friendly here. A small water melon for a dollar??  How much it El Salvador money?. A dollar?  It is a bit of a shock that they use US money here at first and I find myself converting prices to pesos or quetzales. And we get change in nickels, dimes and pennies. Por que?  The hombres try to look tough and the chicas try to look pretty. No more Mayan or other ethnic dress. But there are low crown wide brim straw hats some of the old grey haired gents wear. And some older ladies wear flower pattern dresses, always with short aprons, preferably lacy or ruffled. The vibe is again different in El Salvador.



Another thing we notice is that the ample road’s shoulder is not used by the car traffic as an extra lane.. , unlike the slow moving trucks in Mexico, or the crazily aggressive chicken bus drivers in Guatemala who think they own the entire road. We actually feel safe riding the shoulder. 

Today we planned a relatively easy day and we found mostly flat roads and, at times, hefty cool headwind. It was enjoyable riding. Different bird’s songs serenaded us most of the way and we kept our eyes peeled for the Turquoise-browed Motmot, the national bird of El Salvador, a medium sized bird with a couple of long tail feathers.



At 7:30 am, we stopped at Comedor y Pupuseria for a quick breakfast in a vibrant town of Metalio. Several ladies were busy making the popular El Salvadoran quick meal choice, the pupuses. Basically they are corn or rice tortillas stuffed with cheese, frijoles, chicken, sausage or combination. They are fried on the comal or grill plate and, if not too oily, are delicious. They are served with fermented cabbage/carrot salad and salsa. The people-watching at this tiny eatery was fantastic. But alas, the day was only getting warmer so we couldn't linger too long. 
Passing fields and fields of sugarcane and banana plantations, large trucks loaded with cane went by and left a trail of exhaust mixed with the sweet aroma of sugar cane in their wake. Still the road sides are littered with ripe mangoes that fall from the trees. We pressed on beyond a cross-roads with hotels because it seemed way too early to stop. We turned on to the coast road toward La Libertad. We rode for an hour without passing a store or any place that looked like a town. About 10:30, we took a long break along the side of the road before continuing to Apancoyo, a really small village, but the only town on the map for miles. We found a lady selling refreshments and pastries near the side of the road and we stopped for a break. She told us the next hotel was on the beach about 7 km ahead. That was welcome news!

The heat was getting to us by now and we were happy to arrive at Beach Hotel Dorado which is only a km off the paved road. Rooms are spartan and way overpriced at $25. And the young lady in charge wanted $15 extra if we went in the room before 5PM. And then she wanted an extra $2 to swim in the murky pool or walk on the beach. We relaxed for the rest of the day on the breezy deck overlooking the sand and taking in great ocean views.  
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Brooke from Monterrico on


I'm so glad to hear that you guys are still doing well! Good luck as you continue on your journeys!

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