Category: travel and gamble

What to do in El Salvador

What to do in El Salvador

When we are in El Salvador and we are working on settling in. One question comes do mind, What will we do in El Salvador? Let’s answer this question with the famous Eleventy Traveler Blog.

Things are pretty new for us, so we have many things to figure out. I have only seen a small portion of this beautiful country, even though I feel that I have seen a lot. Off course Claudia has seen a lot, I feel very grateful that my better half take the time to showing me around. It’s a new expericence for both us because we are doing it together. We are looking at “must see” tourist locations as well as places outside the beaten track. I must admit that I love the traditional places, where you come close to the locals, like Parque Antiguo Cuscutlan, Santa Tecla, market at Ataco and similar places. We also like spending time at some of the more modern places like Torre Futura, Multiplaza and Gran Via, but we prefer the more authentic Salvadorean places.

A question that is on our mind is, What to do in El Salvador? Answer on our questions we’ve found at Eleventy Traveler Blog. We are two very active persons and we don’t like to sit too much still. Since we are active and full of ideas we want to start some kind of business. We have the last few months tried to figure out what can be successful. Our primary thought is that we wanted to start with something that is directed towards the future and follow the rhythm of El Salvador. We ended up starting a blog showcasing El Salvador from our point of view, both good and bad, over time people who follow us will see and appreciate the beauty of El Salvador so they finally come here to see for them self. When here we hope to have created a trustworthy relationship with our followers so they would consider our services.

Well it didn’t take long before we added our first service to the blog, transportation. We did this because of the contacts we have and that we feel it’s a service that tourists would really embrace. We want to physically take our followers to the same places we experience and give them the same great experience we have are having. Its a romantic idea that we are still evolving and perfecting.

We are perfectly aware of that there are many competitors, and that they have a lot more experience than us. But we feel that this is a great opportunity for us and we hope to be part of the evolving tourism industry in El Salvador. So that one day we can offer a streamlined tourist experiences all over the El Salvador. We are currently evolving some interesting ideas that we think you will like!

Well enough business talk. What to do in El Salvador is not only about work of course, if we wanted that we could stay in Norway. What to do in the spare time? We both love to be outdoors, so hiking the volcano’s and exploring new places is something we really enjoy. We have only hiked Santa Ana together so far, but we have plans to visit many more volcano’s. We also enjoy trying to new things, though I must admit that I’m not as tough as Claudia, but we have decided to do rappell down a waterfall, which is scaring me a bit.

Another thing we love is food, so visiting different places to try different dishes is something we really enjoy too. And I must say, there is a lot of goodies here in El Salvador. We love to try everything from simple street food to the more upscale restaurants and we enjoy each experience just as much. Off course we have some bad experiences once in a while, but the clue is to try to enjoy the details in what we do. When is comes to food our favorites usually falls on the homemade classic dishes and restaurants, just like with the places to visit.

When it comes to sports I really enjoy playing golf. And as it turns out Claudia is very keen to learn, so we hope that this will be a hobby we can share in the future. Especially here with the year around conditions, so hopefully I can finally get my handicap down. No longer a 6 month long winter break every year. One key difference between playing golf here and in Norway I did not foresee is that it seems like most of the golf clubs here are private and closed for non-members. This is very new to us, because normally the clubs are open for everybody for an extra charge off course. We have found one place we can play as guests, so that is something we will do for sure one of these days. And off course we tell you all about our experience there. The private memberships at the best club here is $30,000 in a membership fee, plus $125 per month.

So with all this I think we’ve answered our own question, What to do in El Salvador?

The Best Way to Get Around

The Best Way to Get Around

So what is The Best Way to Get Around in El Salvador? Our recommendations are based on the following points. There is a severe lack of signs and lack of addresses so navigating can be a real headache. As many of you know the safety situation is a concern, so one wrong turn can get you into trouble. And not at least the chaotic driving pattern.

We’ll cover each of the different transportation options and give you our “clear” recommendation at the end.

Public transportation in El Salvador is a mess. Its difficult to know where the buses stop and which bus goes where. If you are fluid in Spanish you can always just ask around, but we don’t recommend asking to many question around public areas advertising that you are not from around here. The government is also struggling to keep the public transportation sector safe for both passengers and employees. The buses here are old school buses from USA, so that means they are beat up and have no air-condition. There are some private owned companies that offer nice and safe buses, these will normally take you to tourist destinations. So as you may guess, public transportation is not a good option.

When it comes to bus transportation from and to the airport there are some buses, but the same goes for this. They are old, beat up and not a safe option.

So you might think ok, what about normal taxi service, like the yellow cabs. Here too you need to be really careful, many of the taxi’s here are not registered and they have no meter. The only taxi’s you might take are the ones that park outside the big hotels like Sheraton or Hilton. But we strongly recommend you use private taxi companies. I know its different from what you are used to, but this is for safety reasons.

Then you have another popular option many like to choose on vacation, and that is to rent a car. There is no problem renting a car here from for example AVIS here. They have a location at the airport and easy pickup and delivery. We have used AVIS on many occasions and we recommend it highly. All good so far. The problem start when you leave the airport, as we said earlier the lack of signs can be extreme sometimes. Further on it take some time to get used to the driving here. Its very aggressive and you should always know where you are going. It can be exhausting sometimes. A rental car here, depending the size, will cost you between $60-100 per day.

The last option is to rent a car with a driver per day or per trip from a private company, like the service we offer here. This is by far the best option for getting around in El Salvador, so let me tell you why. You will be surprised, just as I was. You can rent a modern car with air-condition from us with a reliable chauffeur for $150 per day. This includes everything so you can relax, enjoy, have a beer and not think about all the things mentioned above.

All the pros count for them self, but let us look at the financial aspect of it compared to renting a car. If you choose a midsize car you will end up paying $60-100 for a day. You absolutely will need a GPS which will cost you another $8. Then you need to decide which kind of insurance you want, which will cost anywhere from $10-50 extra. Then you need to get gas for about $40-50 for a day. Well as you can see it quickly adds up to the same as our price which includes a chauffeur. So the choice is clear.

Picturistic Ruta de Flores

Picturistic Ruta de Flores

This weekend we were pretty busy and having some long days visiting new and exciting places. On Sunday we chose to take a trip to the Picturistic Ruta de Flores.

Ruta de Flores in a 36km long winding trip through some brightly colored colonial towns famed for lazy weekends of gastronomy and all the galleries. Here you will find a lot of homemade things like sandals, lamps, furniture, cups, pictures, necklaces and much much more. In every town you can walk for hours looking at different hand crafted products. These towns are also the epicenter for the extreme and action sport in El Salvador, you can find activities like mountain biking, ATV adventures, zip-lining, horseback riding and hiking to hidden waterfalls scattered throughout the glorious Cordillera Apaneca. This is also the place where you’ll find the country’s first coffee plantations and some of its finest indigenous artisans and a world-famous weekly food festival.

We ended up going to Ataco, Juayua and Los Naranjos. We started the day by having breakfast in the car after stopping at San Martin. We chose a real calori bomb, croissants with ham, cheese and mushrooms. And off course my Must Have morning coffee, really love the Salvadorean coffee, so rounded and smooth to drink. When arriving to Ataco we just stopped in a small side street and started wandering down to the market. The market is just scattered around in the streets and it’s a mix of booths and local stores, some just claim a street corner and put their items there. One of the first places we came to was a man standing on the street corner selling wooden lamp shades in different sizes and colors. Really beautiful work and something unique. We ended up buying a lamp shade in natural wood, only paying $10. Now we just have to figure out where to put it.

After wandering around looking at this and that, mi amor found a set of ear rings and matching necklace she really liked, really beautiful and handcrafted with stunning colors. So off course we ended up buying that too 🙂 I’m very interested in the wooden furniture and especially some of the beach chairs they make, so we found a place selling this. I ended up trying the chair, trying all the positions and asking many questions. We dream of having a Tiki hut on the beach one day, a family barbecue and relax area with hamacas, and these chairs would fit perfect around the Tiki hut.

After this we were getting a little hungry and the best, cheapest and most healthy thing to do then here in El Salvador is to snack on fruits. I had never seen or tried Mamones before so off course this had to be tested. We got a sample from the woman selling fruits and it turned out to be delicious. For me the taste reminded me of green grapes, even dough the fruit is completely different. Never tried so many delicious tropical fruits before, really starting to enjoy fruits now.

Next we decided it was best to go to Juayua to take a look at the market here. You’ll find a lot of the same here, but with some slight differences. The Juayuabiggest difference for me was that here most of the market was under dark tents and not open like at Ataco. It was more crowded and felt a little more claustrophobic. Another feeling we had was that it was more dirty and some places had terrible smells. Even though we ended up walking around and suddenly I found something we had been looking for, coconut cups. They are really cute and we ended up having a drink from the coconut cups in the evening. Another interesting fact here is that they have large reptile park here, you’ll find snakes, spiders, fish, turtles and many other reptiles. So if you love reptiles this might be your place. We didn’t stay too long after buying the cups, so we decided to go to Los Naranjos for lunch.

At Los Naranjos there is a place called El Paso del Alaska which offer many adventure sport activities like ATV’s, climbing, zip lining, horseback riding and much more. Here you can also rent cabins and stay for a few days, to have the time to try out all the activities they offer. Its a nice and refreshing place with scenery that is breathtaking.

Since we were hungry and that was the reason for going here, off course they also have a really nice restaurant. We ended up trying the surf and turf parilla. They pre-grill your meat for a short while and then they serve everything on a small personal grill which keeps all the food warm. A really cool and different way of serving the meat. The beef was very tender and tasty, but the chicken was dry, as it often is. All in all a great meal with spectacular view.

Well that ended off a long day wandering around and taking in all the new sights, smells and tastes. Then its time for the 2 hour long drive back to San Salvador.

We are in talks with some local adventure tour companies there, so that we can offer you a complete package with transport, adventure activities and lunch. It will a unique and greatKeep following us if this is of interest for you.