El Salvador is a tiny country in Central American with a reputation for having a high crime rate. It´s got the 4th highest murder rate in the world and virtually every business has an armed security guard.
Immediately when we crossed the border into El Salvador we could see the difference to Guatemala. Almost every shop, bar, hotel etc. was behind bars. There were armed guards everywhere, not police officers or military, but private hired guards. There were also ridiculous solid fences everywhere, especially in San Salvador. Very often there were double lines of fences or heavy gates and on top of that barbed wire… never seen anything like that before. However, though all fences, weapons, we only came across friendly smiling people and that included the guards too.
The border crossing went quite smooth and as usual, when arriving to a new country, we didn’t have a clue of where we were heading…. when are we going to learn…? Anyway when checking the not very detailed map, yes we actually had a map, we realised that though it was afternoon already, we could actually easily ride anywhere in the country before it got dark… it is really a tiny little country.
We quickly decided to head south for a refreshing swim in the ocean. We took the road Ruta Del La Flores, which is supposed to be a beautiful road. There was nothing wrong with it and it was in a good condition, but we have been on many other roads that have been much more scenic…. we are starting to get really spoilt with nice sceneries.
On the way south we got caught by the police when not only speeding but also overtaking two cars on a two solid lines road… I was just thinking ‘shit, this is going to be expensive…’. I could see Anders in front of me quickly take off his helmet and shake the police officers’ hands and then started a kind of ‘body language conversation’ with them. First they looked very serious but soon they began to smile and even laugh out loud. After about ten minutes they waved us through…not sure what Anders did but whatever it was the police thought it was funny and we saved some money.
The nearer we came to the ocean the hotter it became and the humidity was just ridiculously high, I guess little bit more humidity and we would have drowned.
We found a hotel in El Zonte that let us pitch the tent in their garden. The beach was a proper surf beach, and it was quite dodgy. Anyway, we couldn’t go for a swim as the waves were far too high so it had to be a ‘cold’ shower… which wasn’t cold it was not even tepid, it was warm. We took the opportunity to wash our very smelly motorcycle gear in the shower and actually we ended up washing up everything as it dried so quickly in the sun.
We only stayed one night as it was far too hot to sleep in the tent. Before we left, the next morning, we did a well-needed oil change on both bikes. When that was done we rode the short 30 km to San Salvador. When riding into San Salvador it felt like riding into a city in the USA with all these fast food restaurants. We didn’t expect that at all. That first day we had a McDonalds for lunch and a pizza for dinner…. an overdose of vitamins hehe.
After a few days in San Salvador we headed to a little colourful, arty town called La Palma. Anders managed to bargain the price for a hotel from 36 USD to 20 USD. It was a really nice place with lots of painted graffiti on the walls. We thought it was too expensive to eat in the restaurant so we cooked pasta and mushrooms inside the room… naughty naughty…
After only one week in El Salvador it was time to leave. Mostly we are trying to stay at least one month in each country as, we feel, that with less time it’s difficult to get a fair portrayal of a country.
Next up is Honduras, which is a country that seems to scare so many people. Let’s see what that country has to offer except for all the homicides.
This is one of the colourful cemetery we saw in El Salvador.
This big iguana was the most tired iguana we’ve seen… it did´t move one ‘finger’ while we were there….
No problem to find secure parking in El Salvador
Lots of colours in La Palma