When we first started this trip, I envisioned sipping cold beers on the beaches of Mexico, then sailing to Costa Rica for eco-everything, anchoring off a remote island or two, going through the Panama Canal and finally to the holy grail of clear waters – the Caribbean. But there are four, yes, four other countries between Mexico and Costa Rica. The “forgotten middle” as some call it.
Neko heading to El Salvador
And I’ll admit it, El Salvador was not at the top or even on my list of must-see countries. There are a lot of reasons boaters don’t stop places; too much crime, too expensive, too big a headache to check in, too few places to stop and on and on. El Salvador’s main strike against it with boaters is that its entry is too “scary”. (See crossing sand bar post) But after hearing others (that’s you Torben and Judy) say it was no big deal and that the El Salvador Rally was worth checking out, we decided to take the chance, put on our big boy pants, cross the bar and see what “the savior” had to offer. And indeed, unlikely as it sounds, Neko was “saved” with fixes to our hydraulic steering and generator by helpful craftsmen in El Salvador. And we were saved from missing out on a fascinating country. Outdoor fun, indoor fun, city life, country life and sea life, what a mix.
Boquerón, one of El Salvador’s 22 volcanoes
Joya de Cerén, is an archaeological site of a Maya farming village preserved remarkably intact under layers of volcanic ash. The “Pompeii of the Americas”
The El Salvadorian ladies love their frilly aprons and can balance anything on their heads.
Fish market in Libertad
Iglesia el Rosario, looks like a cement airplane hanger on the outside, but inside…
Iglesia el Rosario interior. The sunlight coming through the windows changes throughout the day creating a stunning natural light show. It has been a zillion years since Peter’s last confession, but he broke into this church so we could see the inside. It was well worth it and I’ll have him say 5 Hail Marys.
We spent a month meeting fantastic new friends,
Sweet Jan. Lucy’s best new pal!
learning that El Salvador is a proud country that is moving beyond their civil war (that was 20 years ago folks)
Crazy night at Che bar. The bartender and his friend are both children of Guerrilla fighters, both their dads and moms.
and enjoyed exploring both El Salvador and neighboring Guatemala (see Guatemala post). Because of their close proximity to each other and the fact you get a four country visa, land travel between Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua is relatively easy.
Indigenous ladies of Guatemala
To all you fellow boaters out there thinking of doing the El Salvador Rally – give it a shot. It is VERY informal and chill. No need for morning nets, just wander up to the bar or pool and see what’s what. I liked the fact there were only about 20 boats at any given time, allowing you to actually know everyone.
With Mike and Holly in the colonial town of Suchitoto
El Salvadorian artist, Fernando Llort’s gallery.
I jumped in a fountain to save a dog!
Learning about indigo tie dying from women’s artist coop
Indigo tie dying with Rose
Cooling off the pool with ice blocks. You’d think we were kids in a candy store.
Dinghy raft up
Rally crew in Suchitoto
Peter getting neck massage. Wait! What???
Funky tree house room we stayed in during trip to Juayua. It was a great place and especially enjoyed the cool weather up in the mountains.
Juayua food festival
The laid back attitude of Bill and Jean (rally organizers) created a no pressure atmosphere for participating as much or as little as you desire. We did both planned activities and explored on our own. For god sake, if anything go for the $1 beer 😉
Bye to all our Rally pals
Costa Rica, here we come.