Monday, February 20, 2012

You like this kid? … Take him to America!

Since our last post, we’ve been back on the bikes working out the kinks from six weeks of inactivity.  Things are feeling a little rusty for both of us and we had two very avoidable crashes in the first two days!  One was caused by the ever frequent distraction of cows on the roadside.  Hopefully we’ll be quick to get back in the swing of things.

Crossing the lake with the bikes in a lancha.

Jenn and her bike crammed in the boat across Lago Atitlan.

Woohoo, excessive downhill.

The descent from Lago Atitlan was steep and fast.  We were followed by police trucks three different times during the descent.  They claimed to be escorting us for our safety.  But the way it was carried out was a little fishy and it seemed they were in it for some other reason …

  Welcome to El Salvador!

Entering El Salvador. Note the killer bike teepee.

Shortly after leaving Lago Atitlan we entered wonderful El Salvador.  To most North Americans, this country is known only for violence and civil war.  But the war is long over, the economy is recovering, and El Salvador is starting to make a name for itself as a tourist destination.  Here are our top three reasons to visit El Salvador on your next vacation:

1. Friendly People

In El Salvador we have encountered some of the friendliest people of our trip so far.  We were expecting a lot of anti-North American sentiment (due to the fact that the United States gave a whopping $6 billion to and trained the unpopular Salvadoran military during the civil war) but we didn’t find a trace.  In fact, every day people wanted to talk to us about the United States and Canada.

It turns out that many Salvadorans have lived or worked in North America.  And the United States is definitely seen as the land of opportunity.  One person we met slapped his son on the back, pushing him forward and said: “Hey, you like this kid?  Take him to America!”.

2. Beautiful Beaches

Shortly after entering El Salvador we reached the Pacific Ocean for the first time since San Francisco!  We both felt a little homesick the first time we smelled the salty breeze.  This breeze was also a welcome reprieve from the 40+C temperatures in the Pacific lowlands.

First view of the Pacific Coast in El Salvador

Our first view of the Pacific Coast in El Salvador.

The Pacific Coast of El Salvador has been making a name for itself as a surf destination. The breaks are beautiful, the water is warm, and renting a surfboard will only cost you $5 a day. We took some time off in El Tunco to sharpen our skills.

Sunset in El Tunco, El Salvador

Sunset in El Tunco, El Salvador.


Someone much better than us surfing in El Tunco, El Salvador.

3. Pupusas

Delicious bean and cheese filled tortillas.  Need I say more?  In our first sitting we ate twelve!

One thing that did take time to get used to is that El Salvador is still heavily militarized.  Every gas station or store sports at least one armed guard usually carrying a handgun and an impractically large shotgun or rifle for show.  And in Guatemala and Mexico people carry their machetes blade down (like your mother told you to carry scissors), but in El Salvador people carry their machetes blade in front. (like you actually carried the scissors).  This way it’s ready to trim grass, peel the kernels off a cob of corn, cut down an 18 inch diameter tree, or scare the heck out of a couple of gringos who think it’s a threatening posture.

San Miguel, El Salvador

We hope everything is well.  We love reading your comments, so please keep ‘em coming!

Well, it’s time to eat some more pupusas …

Vayan bien amigos!


  1. What a beautiful coastline! I'm glad you guys got to take a break and do some surfing. Missing you guys!

  2. Jen, Dave.. it is amazing that you are already at El Salvador.. what an adventure.. you are so brave! I love that you have no prejudices and that you are so FREE!!!!! keep enjoying and take care... remember, dont trust police in latinamerica.. sad, but true:(
    muchos saludos amigos:)

  3. Aw, love it! Especially the bike in the lancha! haha. El Salvador looks beauuuuutiful! Glad you are enjoying the in's and out's of Salvadorian life! Much love!!

  4. Hi Folks, Looks great and from the sound of things the couple crashes were not too serious. The beaches do look great, especially from land locked Arizona, (50F today with the usual springtime for running .... mud, snow and sun). Have a blast and we're thinking of you! JPP &Vicki

  5. @Viviana: Very true, although we've only had positive experiences with the police, some of our friends have gotten screwed. The escorting was weird; I've never seen or heard of police here so eager to help out. And they made us record our names in their book to prove that they escorted us. Must have been getting some sort of kickback...

    @John: Fortunately the crashes weren't bad. One was caused by Jenn's pannier getting hit by a stray stick, and the other was caused by me riding off the road while looking at some unusual cows. I was fine, but unfortunately Jenn (who was drafting) crashed into my bike and got the worst of it :(

    @Rainbow: The bikes barely fit. We checked the previous day when the large lancha went, but sure enough when we showed up ... small lancha. Had you been with us, your smaller bike would have fit perfectly :)

    @Ashley: Thanks, we were thinking of you in the waves!

  6. Hey Dave & Jenn... now that you are moving again, be sure to look up my sis-in-law Sharon if you are in Domincal, Costa Rica. I sent you an email with her contact info before you left, let me know if you need more info.

    Rob I.