We were stranded in Houston, missing our plane due to Denver's first snowstorm of the year (which they were wildly unprepared for). This is how our trip began, and for two travelers missing half a day of precious beach time, we remained upbeat. After an uneventful night in Houston, we arrived at the airport again to board our flight for San Salvador. And this is where our luck turned - we were upgraded to first class! First freakin' class, complete with hot towels, a warm breakfast and a couple of bloody Mary's. We were the obvious newbies of first class, giddy at every new (and free) amenity they brought us. I am taking this bump as a very good omen for our trip.
So why did we choose El Salvador? Not only was it the cheapest flight to Central America (around $650), but Dusty had twice visited a little surf town here named El Tunco and had since wanted to come back and see more of the country. Looking into it more, ES has it all - beautiful beaches for surfing, scuba diving, mountains, waterfalls, volcanos and relaxed artisanal and colonial towns. And the best part? Everything is so close together. ES is only about the size of Massachusetts, so most of our commutes will be an hour or less at a time. And yes, you've probably heard about how dangerous ES is, but upon further research it isn't any more so than other countries in Central America. There's always a risk when you travel in this region, but if you pick laid-back areas and travel safely, all should be well. There is gang violence, but the violence typically involves gang members, and is concentrated to specific areas.
We've decided to begin our stay in El Tunco, a tiny surfing village on the Pacific highly suggested by Dusty who has already visited twice. And man was he right.. This place is as relaxed, friendly and colorful as can be. Unlike other surf towns I've visited on Central America, El Tunco isn't swarming with bros and people just looking to party. It definitely has a tourist feel, but in a much more subtle way. It'd be easy to want to stay here for the whole trip.
The first place we're staying is at the Tortuga Surf Lodge.. Aka Paradise. This place has beautiful, clean rooms that open up to the ocean (right on the beach), a pool, plenty of hammocks, and a lovely ES family with two adorable girls helping their mom run the place. Besides us, there's only one room of with three long term girl residents, so the vibe is very laid back. Oh, and there just happens to be a resident puppy, a kitten and a talking parrot who will randomly spout Spanish and whistle as you walk under his tree. This place couldn't be more amazing.
Today will be the first full day here, which will hopefully be filled with some surfing, food, reading, and hammock-ing. I have only stood up on a wave once, so I'm excited to get back in the water and give it another try. Wish me luck!
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