22/01/2015 I will probably have no internet tomorrow since I am going to climb Volcán Concepción on Ometepe in Nicaragua tonight starting at 4AM and afterwards will make my way to Tamarindo in Costa Rica to hopefully see some Leatherback Sea Turtles! Changing countries is also the theme of this live update, reporting “live” from El Salvador from the first time. Roughly a week before Christmas, I started my trip in Santa Ana, climbed Volcán Izalco and stayed with a pretty cool Couchsurfing host and radio moderator in Chalchuapa!
El Salvador is one of those countries that does not receive a lot of tourists compared to Central American standards. Maybe that was one of the reasons why I liked it! Especially getting into the El Imposible National Park was a great experience, but more on that in the upcoming updates 🙂 Since I only had limited time in the country, I decided to concentrate on the west part and started in Santa Ana. Crossing the border took a while since I was part of a big bus (120Q) and had to wait until everyone was done with immigration. Arriving late in the night and with a two hour delay, I got dropped off with only one other passenger while the rest continued onwards to the capital. The guy told me that I should not walk alone in this part of the town late in the evening. I knew El Salvador had some areas you better avoid, so I was happy to hear him offer his companionship – at least to the point when he suddenly turned right and told me that I have to keep on going straight 🙂
One of the things I wanted to do was climbing Volcan Santa Ana and luckily, my Couchsurfing host Alexis joined me for that! The way it works is that you show up at the entry point and get a local police escort there, otherwise you are not allowed to get in. When we arrived, there was a big group already but all of them wanted to climb Volcan Izalco, located just next to Volcan Santa Ana. No police men were left and we were “forced” to join them as well, since no one else wanted to join us.
In the end, I actually enjoyed Volcan Izalco quiet a lot! It is steaming all over the place and has some really hot spots, also hiking up in the black lava stone field was pretty cool too. We enjoyed the nice view on Volcan Santa Ana and other peaks around us and only had a hard time walking up to the entrance again. Unfortunately, I was not able to compare it to Santa Ana (which has a lagoon in the crater) now but maybe you have the chance to do both when you are around 🙂
After the hike, we drove back to Alexis’ hometown of Chalchuapa. I really enjoyed this place and its very quiet atmosphere, it even has a small set of Maya ruins in the middle of the town! We had some great local food and beer in the evening and thanks to Alexis, I had a perfect start in El Salvador!