We enter El Salvador at San Cristobal, spend the night in Santa Ana and from there head to the beach town of Sunzal. We discover a hidden gem of a campground on the Ruta de las Flores and go to San Salvador for a few days before heading to the border of Honduras.
Below you’ll find updates of places we’re visiting and what's happening. We’ll try to add useful information about our budget, accommodations and internet availability.
This article is part of our Internet and Phone Report series.
General Availability: Medium-High
Quality of Bandwidth: In cities, excellent. Everywhere else, good luck.
Frequency of internet in hotels: Medium. Always in hostels and mid to high end hotels. Not likely in small guesthouses.
Frequency of internet in campgrounds: Low. Only expect internet if the campground is attached to a restaurant or a hotel.
Areas visited: We spent just under two weeks in El Salvador. A night in Santa Ana, a few days camping on the Ruta de las Flores, and a few more on the beach at Playa Sunzal. Plus a good three nights at a hostel in San Salvador before heading out to San Miguel for one night before a long haul to Nicaragua.
This article is part of our Budget and Money Report series.
Our per diem expenses cover food, lodging, gas and other supplies and travel costs for three people. We travel in a 1997 Toyota 4Runner, tent camp in paid facilities roughly 70% of our nights and eat less than 10% of our meals in restaurants. This budget does not reflect personal spending money, which is mostly used to buy souvenirs and booze. We don't track this money, but we do know we have not come close to spending our budgeted amount of $10 per person per day.
Yeah, I know, it's only been a two weeks since my last budget update. How much more of this can you take? The good news is that after our next country (Nicaragua) you won't have to endure two budget updates in the same month ever again. We're zipping our way through the smaller Central American countries, partly because we don't have much time left on a three-month CA-4 visa and partly because we have places to be and people to meet up with in Costa Rica.
We spent 11 days in El Salvador, the same time amount of time we spent in Belize, where we were over budget by nearly $200. Fresh off the $900 we were over in Guatemala, repairing on damaged budget became a high priority. The good news? We were $200 under budget in El Salvador, and we still managed to spend a bit of money having fun.
Nothing like travel to teach you to appreciate home. My Weber Smokey Mountain smoker is one of those things I've "had" to live without the past six months, as well as any kind of proper America BBQ.
Chances are that friends and family out there have tried my cooking, and equally as likely that they've had my ribs. Those closest to me know that I'll gladly wake up at 6am, hungover or not, to fire up my Weber and load it full of USDA choice pork spare ribs. I can't say much else in this world will get me out of bed at that hour. It's a passion. A passion of the pork.
This past week in El Salvador we hit a grocery store - a very nicely stocked grocery store - and when Kobus presented the idea of grilling up some ribs, I was all over it, regardless of the $14 price tag. What follows is the tale of one afternoon spent in a campsite in the mountains of El Salvador attempting to recreate my porky masterpiece.
Start: March 25, Santa Ana
Finish: April 5, San Salvador
Plates of Street Food Consumed: 3
Hours Riding Horses Through Coffee Farm: 2
Wheelbarrows of Wood Burned: 4
El Salvador wasn't a country we had originally planned to visit. In fact, up until about a month ago we had little idea what there was to do or see here. In many ways our initial choice was a decision between the lesser of two evils.
Having heard few good things about Honduras, aside from diving on the Caribbean coast (not our cup o' tea) and the Mayan ruins at Copán (which we visited several weeks ago), we re-routed our itinerary and decided to spend two weeks in El Salvador.
Our first day and a half in El Salvador wasn't great, but it's gotten progressively better ever since. Not only have the people been very friendly, but we managed to find a hidden-gem of a campsite that may top my all-time list.
This article is part of our Border Crossing Report series.
Border name: San Cristóbal
Closest major cities: El Progreso, Guatemala and Santa Ana, El Salvador
Cost for visas: $0.
Cost for vehicle: $0. ($.60 for copies)
Total time: 1 hour 45 minutes