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Central America – Guatemala and El Salvador

From Miami we headed to Central America. Guatemala was our first stop although in hind sight we should have probably gone to Costa Rica first and then made our way north, it would have been logistically easier. We didn’t know too much about Guatemala and people we met along the way said it wasn’t really a place to check out and to go straight to Antigua which is exactly what we did. A bus from Guatemala Airport to Antigua takes about 1.5 hours depending on traffic. N.B. Its best to take the bus from the airport as any hotel transfer will take you back to the airport on the way to Antigua anyway.

Antigua is a very old colonial city that has really unique look about it.  You only need a day here to wander around and check out nice cobbled streets, shops, restaurants and markets. We then suggest climbing an active volcano, called Pacaya and be sure to take a bag of marshmallows with you as you can toast these once you get to the top. The lava did not flow for us (and had not for the last few weeks) however the conditions up there are constantly changing. The walk to the top takes about 3 hours and if you understand spanish then you will enjoy the guided tour to the top. If not, there might be someone who can translate or you can just enjoy the changing scenery. To assist you on the walk there are lots (and lots) of kids that are willing to lend you a stick (for a price) but the walk is not too tough so we didn’t get one.

From Antigua we caught a bus to a country which was not on our radar but one we were stoked to go to. Its a tiny Central American country called El Salvador located on the west coast. It is becoming really popular particularly for Brazilians because it is cheap and is renowned for really good surf. We stayed at one of the most popular hotels –  Roca Sunzal in El Tunco Beach, right on the water in front of the crashing surf. Unusual for us was the fact that the beach has black sand (which actually exists all the way down to Northern California we later find out). The weather was stifling hot so our hotel pool and beach access came in very handy. Most of the hotels in El Tunco Beach, have there own restaurant (which anyone can use) and their own bar. So you really do not need to leave the hotel if you don’t want to. Bring a lot of US dollars with you as there is no ATM in the area and the mission to a bigger town involved hot buses and a stifling walk. Other than that, hiring a surfboard and even doing some shopping is possible within the area. The capital of El Salvador is called San Salvador. This city is nowhere near the coast and doesn’t offer much to do so we only went there to catch the bus to Costa Rica.

Photo Gallery of Guatemala and El Salvador

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