Monday, November 19, 2007

El Salvador - El Pulgarcito de Centroamerica

El Salvador is the smallest country in Central America, how small? It has almost the same size as the state of Massachusetts. I could go on and start talking about the statistics, why there was a civil war, and why today the official currency is the American dollar, but I’ll save from those details, instead I’ll tell a bit about my trip to this tiny country back in December 2006.

Started to write about El Salvador last January, then a computer crash erased everything I had written, and here I’m a couple of months later trying to give you some words about this little place one day I called home.

If you want to go to a place where you want to have a rough adventure, where you want to climb a volcano - 25 of them - or swim in one of the few lakes, or walk around beaches which I consider to be the most beautiful in the region (don’t all countries claim the same thing?), then El Salvador is the place to go.

Said that, don’t expect to find tourist information booths everywhere you go, or the majestic all inclusive resorts as they have in the Caribbean, Mexico and other places.

Between you and me, I believe El Salvador should invest money and promote this type of tourism, the savage and wild one. I would hate to see 5 star hotels and resorts popping out everywhere along the Pacific Coast, as the Japanese had planed back in the 70’s.

Instead, the country should develop more areas such as the one I visited, located very close to where the Lempa river and the Pacific Ocean meet, called la Pita. Until then I had no idea El Salvador had such a magnificent display of wild life so close to the major urban centers.

Remember, El Salvador has a population almost as the same size as the Province of Quebec. Imagine hosting close to 7 million people in such a small area? No wonder why it is believed almost 20% of the Salvadoran population lives abroad.

You can easily go from one side of the country to the other in less than 4 hours, nevertheless I guarantee you this is not going to be enough to appreciate all the beautiful things this country has to offer.

Surfers were the first to start arriving after the end of the civil war in 1991, then probably by word of mouth, more and more people had started to arrive searching for this wild place they heard about.

Personally I don’t like the beaches from the Easter side of the country, perhaps I’m bias because my parents own a small rancho in the beach of El Espino, located in the Western side. I find those beaches to be more calm compared to the other side of the country.

The majority of travelers to El Salvador are Salvadorans living abroad, and it doesn’t matter you are flying from, the flights are always full. What makes me mad is that even though San Salvador is only 5 hours flight away from Montreal, it costs me almost the same as if I were traveling to São Paulo, which is almost 12 hours flight away.

If someone tells you San Salvador is a must in your traveling itinerary, I would think twice about that statement. Unless you want to see another big city with horrible traffic and pollution, I would search for the small cities around the country, and the beaches as soon as you land at the Comalapa airport.

Actually, San Salvador is a super Americanized city, full of shopping centers, super markets, and fast food restaurants. You can have a lot of fun if you want to, but if you came all the way to El Salvador to see that, then why not just stay home eh?

I could keep writing for hours about El Salvador, and I might add more details later on, but until then, if you are one of those explorer travelers, looking for a challenge, and ready for something new, I would recommend this country.

If you are one of those that expects everything to be perfect and neat, please do yourself a favour and pick one of those fabulous resorts in Cuba or somewhere else. El Salvador will be good for you if you want to have adventures in a not so tourist crowded place.

Although I was born in El Salvador, most of my time was spent in other countries. Nevertheless, I feel equally Salvadoran as I feel Brazilian and Canadian.

The most important part of my trip was to see my family again, it is not very often we have the chance to gather all together in one place, such a logistic nightmare when your family is spread out around the globe.

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been away from home, there is no volcano in the world that will make me feel as I do when I go the chance to hug and kiss my mother again.

The country can be small, but it feels really big having my father beside me, the person that protected me while growing up, and sometimes he almost forget I'm no longer a child.

The sunrise and sunset are wonderful, but nothing like being able to sit down in a table and laugh with your brothers and cousins.

Pupusas are the most popular dish in this country, but its taste pale by comparison when you feel the love of your family.

Enough about my trip, have many more pictures to post, but with the few you have seen, it gives you a small taste of what the country looks like.

El Salvador, el pulgarcito de Centroamerica.

Pictures by myself, my brother from Los Angeles, my brother from San Salvador, my cousin from Guatemala City and my extended family from the Czech Republic.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi,my name is lc iam from el salvador,i really like everthing that you wrote, and your pictures they are beutyfull. know iam livin in houston tx,i got here at my age 13, i never been there since 1992,my sister been there 3 times now that a see your picture i really want to go,, thanks you alot!!!!

liljanett12 said...

hi i was born in houston but my family is from el salvador, i just came back yesterday from visiting el salvador (only stayed 10 days) im really sad because i wish i could live there. i really dont like the u.s. i feel like i dont belong here, the people in el salvador are so loving and friendly.thank you so much for writing about el salvador, it truly is a beautiful and glorious place.

Anonymous said...

hi, i'm from el salvador and i live here stil haha.. but we're thinking about moving to canada because of economy and overpopulation.. i'd really hate if we had to leave since i LOVE my country but things are getting tough.. anyways can you please tell me how different things are in canada from el salvador.. if you can obviously. here's my email:soflor16@hotmail.com

MAMACAKESS said...

hi & thank you for posting these beautiful pictures of el salvador. im from el salvador & had never got the chance to experience what you did. instead i went to the ghetto where you arent allowed to go out at night. i'd really appericate it if you were to give me a list of locations where i'd be able to go to experience and explore el salvador without fear. maybe the tourist attractions.

thanks in advance

claudia said...

hi im claudia, iwas born in a small town in El Salvador called Jocoro, the last time i went there was 13 years ago, i live in Toronto Canada but your pictures really makes me go back,thanks for the pictures they are beautifull.

mel said...

very nice, i am in vancouver canada, tengo mucho frio!

mel said...

very nice

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Anonymous said...

I live in massachusetts and i have never been to El salvador but thts my mationality i llove the pics. And your cool fun writing i hope to see what i saw today when i go this break....!!""!

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