EL SALVADOR

 

DAY 461 KM139 GUATEMALA- LA PERLA EL SALVADOR

START 06:25 FINISH 17:30

DISTANCE 120KM RIDE TIME 7H57

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It is said El Salvador is one of the most dangrous countries in the world. For many years it was torn apart by cival war. A lot of cyclist won’t cycle El Salvador or hondurous becouse they are not comfortible and instead catch a bus throught to Leon in Nicaraguar. The other side is I have spoken to cyclists who have cycled El Salvador with out a problem. El Salvador uses Us$

I was offered a coffee from my hosts. Declined becouse I knew it was going to be a long day. So after a penutbutter sanwich and a apple. I was on my way. I made good time reaching the border by 8:30am changed up the last of my Guatermalan Quetzial back in to Us$. The road up to the border was lined with houndreds and houndreds of trucks

Crossing the border was remarkible easy and straight forward.

 

I didn’t know what to expect when I came out the otherside of the border. Evertthing on the El Salvador side looked very normal. As border towns go it wasn’t that bad.

In my first day I didn’t see many guns, little police, less cell phone. But more Ox and carts. There were lots of modern shops and gas staions along with the normal markets.

I again struggled with the humity and found it hard to eat.I did drink a lot of water which was causin g a bit of imbalance with my stomack leaving me with a sickly feeling.

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By 2:30pm I reached the Paciffic coast. Which was a beautiful site. The ocean was crashing into the clifs below. The next 3 hours was tough going the last 30km to my warmshowers host. It was mountianious, with continious steep climbs followed by a steep decent. It was touch and go if I was going to make it by dark or not. I was overheating. So I was having to push my bike up the hills. It was a beautiful road tho. We had two 100 meter tunnels to cycle through.

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After the last steep climb it was with great relief when I was overlooking La Perla and I knew the hills were done for today. I crusied down into the small village and had a little difficulti finds Casa Valeria. My pronouncation doesn’t help. Casa Valeria is a Hostel owned by a Canadian. It is currently closed. I was recived by the Caretakers Lewis and Maria.

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They have given me a great spot to camp on the upper level of a open deck over looking the beach and out into the Pacific ocean. To my surprise there was another cyclist here. Robert from the US and cycling to Panama.

It didn’t rain last night. But we did get to watch two thunder and lightting storms far off in the distance.

DAY 462 LA PERLA REST DAY

I was exhousted from the last two days of cycling. So I was keen to just chill out and enjoy the view. I woke up at 8am which is a huge sleep in for me. So I must have been tired. Out in front was a half dozen guys surfing and a number of small fishing boats coming in.

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They would take a run at the beach before pulling the boat further out of the water with the help of rollers and a dozen people. I went for a walk in the late afternoon along the beach. The town looks like it was once thriving. Now everything is run down to nothing. I went past the lagoon. Locals were there washing.

DAY 463 LA PERLA – EL TUNCO

START 9:00 FINISH 12:00 ( (09/06/16)

DISTANCE 26KM RIDE TIME 1H58

A pretty short easy day to relocate just 26km further down the coast. El Tunco is a surfing hotspot and a bit of a tourist hub. Again at this time of year things were very quite. We found a nice room in a hostel for $5 each a few block back from the beach. Suited us becouse it was nice and quite and they had a comman area with a tv and hammock’s.

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Walked to the beach for a look. It was pretty average and all the hype surounding El Tunco was a bit excisive. For me it was a pretty average town.

I was quite happy just to have some hamack time back at the hostel.

DAY 464 EL TUNCO REST DAY

Made the mistake of paying for two nights before having a look at the town. The town itself was pretty booring so it was

a good day to do nothing. I got up in the middle of the night (1:30am) to listen to the All Blacks v Wales game on the intenet

DAY 465 EL TUNCO – ZACATECOLUCA

START 9:00 FINISH 16:00 (11/06/16)

DISTANCE 62KM RIDE TIME 3H59

I will continue cycling with Robert till at least the border with Hondurous, which is only about 240km away. This morning we only cycled 9km to La Libertad. Which is a much bigger tourist town. Saying that. Summer is the off season and the coast is very quite. La Libertad was El Salvador’s first port town. We walked along the very modern Melecon and then out onto the Pier.

There was a Fish market in process and a lot of fish to be sold. At the end of the peir there is a hoist that lift the small fishing boats out of te water when they come back. In one of the boats was a huge fish. I never seen anything like it.

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The first 30km of the day was pretty flat then the remaining 30km was a bit more up and down. When we arrived in Zacatecoluca we went and asked for a place to camp at our first El Saladorian Bomberios. It was no problem and they were very welcoming. We start with our tents on the back lawn and ended up in a empty bay of the fire station. While we were in the centre of Zacatecoluca shopping and havimg a look. A huge storm passed over top. The rain was so strong. It flouded the suppermarket. When I got back to the fire station there was water everywhere. Even tho my tent was dry. Which I was very pleased. Becouse I was wondering how I was going to fear if I am eventualy caught out in another storm. Bomberios kindly invited us to come into the station to camp. Earlier in the day we read in a local newspaper that there had been two shooting outside the policestation in the last 24 hours.

DAY 466 ZACATECOLUCA- SAN JOSE GUALOSO

START 7:00 FINISH 16:15 (12/06/16)

DISTANCE 106KM RIDE TIME 6H39

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It was a pretty easy morning cycling along the flat. We passed two volcanos along the way. One of them was active. Its last major eruption 3 years ago. We stopped in Usulutan for lunch before cycling on. The last 20km was the hardest with a long steep 8km climb. Coming down the other side was fantastic and much needed.

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I arrived at my warmshowers host Jose and his family exhursted. We were welcomed with a cold beer. Jose has started building his castle. When its finnished it might be a hostel of hotel. We camped on the secound flour. There was a roff. The walls were open.

After setting up I went for a drive with Jose to visit his two Teinders in nabouring villages back over the hill. He told me nither village has a gang problem becouse as soon as someone says they are acosited with a gang. The village kills them.

DAY 467 SAN JOSE GUALOSO REST DAY

We stayed another day so we could go into San Miguel with Jose for the day to pick up surplies for his shops. We stopped on top of the hill to take photos of the Volcano which was looking a lot clearer today.

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San Miguel is El Saladors 2nd largest city. I was surprised to see how Americanised it was. On our arrival we were greated by Mc Donalds, Burger King, Wendys, PizzaHutt, Papa Joes…………..And WallMart.

In the centre was the tridianal market with also everything you might need. On the way home we had to drop everthing off at the Teinders. Close by to one was a small roadsise stall selling two chicken filled Emanadas for 25 cents. I have noticed they count in quarters. Something is one quarter or two quarters. Not 25 cents or fifity cents.

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DAY 468 SAN JOSE GUALOSO – LA UNION

START 7:30 FINISH 10:00 (14/06/16)

DISTANCE 42KM RIDE TIME 2H20

we thought we would cheek out one more town in El Sa;vador before crossing over the border into Honduras tomorrow. We had knocked off the 42km to Ka Union by 10 am. When we arrived it wasn’t what we expexted. There were no tourists at all and it was just a Port town. We went straight to the Bomberios and they found us a good camping spot out the back. Had the whole afternoon to exploure. There was one modern family park on the waters edge. The water wasn’t very inviting. When I walked pass the school. I had kids asking me for a dollar. Walking through the town.

 

 

I had quite a few people come up and talk to me in English.They spoke good English becouse most of them had lived in the United States. Some had come back by choice after securing a Passport and other had been kicked out after entering illegally. These ones seemed a bit bitter or unhappy to no longer have a life in the United States. El Salvador is a very poor country. There arew a lot of expencive things in the shops. Suppermarkets are not cheep. A lot of familys are surported by relatives on the United States and don’t even have to work. I meet a guy who owns a number of servicestation in town. He was living in the United States and came back to buy his first gas station for $12 000. The next one was $37 000 been a bit closer to the centre of town.

I ended up in a Chinise resturant for lunch. The guy there had lived in the States and spoke good English. I hung out there for the rtest of the afternoon using the free Wifi.

It was just as well I stopped in for Chinise becouse it lead to a Awesome opertunity for tomorrow.

DAY 469 & 470 LA UNION REST DAY

Yesterday in the Chinese Resturant I meet the owner Lewis just before I was leaving.

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He has a property he has been devaloping for the last 18 months on top of a 1200 meter Volcano with Panaramic views over looking El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaraugar and some of the nearby 37 islands. We are very luckey Lewis has invited us to come and camp for a night. So this morning we left our bikes at the Restaurant and Lewis drove us up. He has to go up everyday to see the workers.

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He is building a restaurant, Boardwalks and nature trails and eventually wants accommodation for backpackers. Previously coffee was grown all around the volcano. With war that all came to a stop. Lewis site use to be a Gurlliar base until the army bombed the gurrilers out and took over.

When we got up to the top after a 45 min drive on a cobblestone road, the view was more impressive then I could imagine. I am looking forward to tonight and seeing all the lights from the towns below and to morrow for what I hope will be a good sunrise.

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We are camping in the pine forest. After a walk around some of the 25 acres. It was nice to relax for the rest of the afternoon.

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We hadn’t planned on staying another night in La Union. But our ride off the Volcano didn’t turn up until 4pm. So we arranged to spend the night in the Restaurant car park back in town. It meant we had another day on top.

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We started by enjoying a nice sunrise and then the view of the islands was a lot more clearer today so we made the most of it.

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