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.
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.
We spent a month meeting fantastic new friends,
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.
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.
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 😉