Read more about the article San Miguel – El Salvador
San Miguel - El Salvador

San Miguel – El Salvador

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San Miguel de la Frontera

Our last day in El Salvador, and as planned some months ago, it would be for visiting the city of San Miguel in the east of the country, not far from the border with Nicaragua. Although being the 4th largest city in the country, it was the most difficult to find accurate information over the internet, or good pictures to make a judgement prior our planned trip. After our visit, I no longer wonder why the lack of proper information, or why not even a realistic map of the city. Well, there is nothing, NOTHING to make this trip worth it at all. It was completely a waste of time and entire day. Spending almost 3 hours on the most annoying ever bus ride to get there, and the same to return was a killer for just arrive there and see everything is a complete disaster, ugly and not worth it at all.

Yes it is true the city follows the very same plan as any Central American city or specially how the cities in El Salvador are planned, with a central square where the Cathedral and theatre is, and then 3 primary churches completing an alignment with the Cathedral as a cross and clearly marking north/south, east/west. That, is all there. And even though the Cathedral is a much newer reincarnation after the original was severely damaged on an earthquake, still a nice building. But all the hassle for only 4 religious buildings and a theatre does not make any sense whatsoever and if you have the chance now that you are reading this, do not waste your time and plan something else instead.

If I was somewhat disappointed when visiting San Salvador, unfortunately San Miguel topped it all. Every street is kind of a mess of non valuable buildings. Do not expect to see here colonial architecture since that is long time gone after many earthquakes and volcano eruptions. A very unfortunate location for a city right through the Ring of Fire. Don’t take me wrong but majority of the Central American large and/or important cities have suffered the same fate, but knew how to rebuild themselves and how to protect them in many cases like Antigua in Guatemala, Leon or Granada in Nicaragua, Panama City and many others. (more…)

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Read more about the article Santa Ana – El Salvador
Santa Ana - El Salvador

Santa Ana – El Salvador

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Sihuatehuacan: Place of Priestesses

Santa Ana is the third largest city in El Salvador, and without any doubt the most beautiful in the entire country that we visited, for the amount of well preserved colonial architecture and great shape and care of everything, even if the refurbishment and restoration of many buildings is still ongoing. Important to add here is that after the extreme disappointment of the disastrous capital city San Salvador, and overall the entire country, it is this area on the west where you can find really pretty villages and charming little cities right in the middle of unspoiled nature. While we decided to do the Maya Route, you can also do what is called the Route of the Flowers which for sure you won’t be disappointing, to the point you will actually keep a great memory of your trip to El Salvador.

For us, unfortunately, time was on our back all the time, and I did not even heard about the Route of the Flowers until after our Maya Tour and Santa Ana. This meant leaving us without any possible change of plans around to get onto that tour.

Santa Ana for us was one of the highlights in the Maya Route. So right after visiting Joya de Ceren and San Andres, our guide took us to Santa Ana where we had time to explore this beautiful city and enjoy lunch on what was another splendid sunny and hot day. It is true we would have welcomed to spend a bit more time in this city, but the overall tour was already long and busy enough therefore it just hit the spot. It was perhaps some 3 hours no more until returning to the transit and move on to the last site of this tour, the ruins of El Tazumal, nearby. (more…)

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Read more about the article Joya de Ceren, San Andres, Tazumal – El Salvador
Joya de Ceren, San Andres & Tazumal - El Salvador

Joya de Ceren, San Andres, Tazumal – El Salvador

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Pompeii of the Americas

Continuing our tour in El Salvador, we spared today for doing what is known as the Maya Route. Although within the country there are many hundreds of known Maya places, the majority of them remain unexcavated, with only 8 sites out of 11 in total currently open to the public (as of January 2016). 3 of them are the ones offered in this route, which also are the best ones and unique not only to El Salvador but across the entire former Maya civilisation area. The good side is that all of them are within easy reach from the capital, hence another reason why to have your base in San Salvador would work perfectly as we did.

Joya de Ceren, nicknamed as the Mayan Pompeii or Pompeii of the Americas, is not for coincidence. The fate of this ancient city was the very same as that of the Roman city in Italy. The volcano next door once abruptly erupted and buried the city well deep in hot ash and pyroclastic flow, 10 layers to be precise, meaning the level of conservation is quite immaculate and to this date, the only one example of Maya city where one can see how the people really lived 1400 years ago, with their houses, their utensils, cultivated land and even food. That’s right, it was dinner time when the eruption occurred and while the people had enough time to flee for their lives, they left absolutely everything behind. A proper time capsule like no other that brought to live many of the unknown facts of the daily lives of the Maya. No corpse whatsoever have ever been found in the site, another indication that proves they could escape prior to the destruction.

Although it is known to be there at least 40 structures, only 10 have been entirely excavated and put on display at great care. The reason why they cannot continue excavations is that once open and exposed again to the air after that many hundreds of years, they cannot stop nor control them from deteriorating. Nevertheless, the ones you can see today are an amazing example to give you an idea. (more…)

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Read more about the article Suchitoto – El Salvador
Suchitoto - El Salvador

Suchitoto – El Salvador

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Kingdom of Birds and Flowers

Our first day trip while in El Salvador after visiting the capital city, San Salvador, the day before, was for doing this rather quiet and relaxing visit to this small town. Located to the north of the capital, at only 50 kilometres, is a really nice and charming place if what you are looking is to have bygone colonial feel. The luck of this town having survived most earthquakes and eruptions from the nearby volcanoes is something that San Salvador did not have; and as such, it is no surprise now you see in travel books Suchitoto is in the colonial route in the country.

The town lies less than 2 kilometres inland from the Suchitlan Lake, which is in fact a man-made lake created by the dam. The nature surrounding the place is really nice, with also many small islands, all of which you can see if taking boat from the pier located at the Malecon. Negotiate the price and try to lower it down since you will be quoted way over the average, especially if you are a non Spanish speaking.

Other than this, and because of the very small size of the town, there is nothing else I can really tell you about in this introduction. Remember not to wake up too early to get here, as you will have plenty of time. As I mentioned before, this is a great excursion to break in between other heavier tours. It is always good to have in between an already crazy non-stop trip through Central America as we were doing some other days with more relaxed and easy tours


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Read more about the article San Salvador – El Salvador
San Salvador - El Salvador

San Salvador – El Salvador

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El Valle de Las Hamacas: The Valley of Hammocks

Continuing southeast on our Central America trip after Guatemala and Honduras, we arrive to San Salvador, the capital city of the next country in our list. Country visited number 75 to this date! That’s a whopping number already, and for the many more to come year after year, fingers crossed. And what a day to arrive here, New Year’s Eve. This is not the first time we are at some random destination and/or trip for this date. I can still remember Mexico City 2 years ago, Hong Kong 3 or Varanasi already 4 years ago. I do not need to have a party at all on this day, I rather prefer travel anywhere, and even if I have to eat for dinner a take away, I would be very happy to do so, as long I am somewhere in the world. We had in any case a really nice dinner and party at the hotel.

El Salvador, likewise any other Central American country, lies in the extremely active Ring of Fire, with many active volcanoes everywhere. You do not need to look any far from the city, and you will clearly see San Salvador Volcano (or Quetzaltepec). Volcano eruptions and earthquakes are responsible for the destruction of majority of the original historical buildings from the Spanish colonial times. The current reincarnation is a modern city with quite poor and decaying infrastructure that will barely coop with a possible strong earthquake. No wonder why the Spanish nicknamed it “El Valle de las Hamacas (The Valley of Hammocks)” in allusion to the need for beds that would sway with the earth’s movements during an earthquake.

Classical, ne-Gothic, art-deco and modernist architecture now fills the streets, with an ongoing frenetic construction round the clock in the new outskirt areas around the wealthier neighbourhoods. Still, if you are having in mind visiting the city, you will be certainly disappointed. Really few buildings are worth, while the rest of the city centre is an eyesore of chaotic and dirty rundown streets among an uncertainty of safety concerns. I can honestly say that walking around San Salvador has given me the feeling of one of the most unsafe place I’ve ever been to, however and very important to mention here, it was also one with such a thriving nightlife and amount of bars and discos full of great people, that somewhat it really confused me when having this points in a balance.


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