15.12.2013

El Salvador - "Don't go there!"

Every backpacker we met from Mexico to Guatemala told us, don't go to El Salvador, it's not safe. The US put out a travel warning in August because El Salvador had one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world: 69 per 100,000 people. But, we wanted to visit ALL the countries of Central-America, so we went to El Salvador!



We were greated by the friendliest people ever, they seem to long for prosperity and tourism. That's very understandable after 13 years with civil war (which ended in 1992, but still a lot of gang wars and street violence). We headed for the surfing spot and laid back village El Tunco. All the places we went is safe tourist spots, but the strange thing was that when the sun went down and darkness filled the streets, everyone went inside, locals and tourists. Also many restaurants closed early, around 7pm, so we had difficulties some nights eating out. 

El Tunco consists of world famous surfing spots. We surfed for around 1 hour before we were dead, long time since last time! 

Our hostel was perfect. 5 minute walk to the surf breaks, pool in the garden, hammocks on the terrace and TV on 2nd floor. 

Beautiful sunsets on the Pacific side of Central-America

Volcanic sand, palms and sunset!


After the surfing hub Tunco we went to El Cuco who is also a surfing spot and close to the world famous surf break Las Flores. Here we found a cute "resort" called El Tortuga Verde. It's far away from any centrum and supermarkets so all you need you get there. Food, swimming pool, hammocks, beer, surfboard, yoga and turtle hatchery. 


We had some really great food on that beach.


Crabs everywhere on the beach, they dig a hole to stay inside and one of their claws are bigger than the other one. One of them even bit a surfer! Another German surfer was bitten by a stingray, she stepped on it and was stung. I helped her clean and identify her wound before we sent her to the doctor to get two shots, one for pain and one for antivenom. 


The whole resort is lit with red lights so the turtles won't misnavigate at same time people can see in he dark. Turtles don't see red light.


One of the nights a traveling gipsy jazz band slept over and gave us some unforgettably entertainment. Everything from old Russian ballads to cherry Romanian folklore. Imagine traveling with that big instrument!


The resort also helps pelicans who broke their wing. Sometimes they're so weak they need help feeding.


Turtles are incredibly small when hatched, it's a true pleasure helping them out to life!


Fresh red tuna meat for dinner! 


Natural fresh water pool in the middle of the forest with skin eating fish! Natural spa, Colgate no thank you!


Pedicure for the ladies.


Need to work on my diving style!


We went on an open sea boat safari in the gulf of Fonseca. On the way we met some fishermen who sold us our lunch. Fresh fish!


On the open sea in 36C it's also important to bargain.


We also joined a local shrimp trawler to film heir business.


The boat stinks of dead bycatch, pelican poop and shrimps. Within the time they have picked out the shrimps and departed their head, the bycatch is unfortunately dead..


Working on a trawler is tough business. It stinks, the boat rocks, it's steaming hot, the birds shit at you, salary is shit, lunch is seafood, you have to go fast, you stay for 6 weeks and yeah.. For some of the other tourists it was unbearable, they had to leave the vessel. A trawler is in general not much liked in a sustainable fishing world, the ocean floor is swiped clean, bycatched is killed and shrimps are overfished and kilo price goes up.. In Oslo you can buy shrimps for $20 a kilo in summer!


My KonTiki beard at its best, in the ocean where it belongs.


Cleaning our fresh fish and lobsters for lunch.


Maria Magdalena visits El Salvador, it's a beautiful day. La Vida Bella.


Tom, the owner of the resort, finds another pelican with broken wing. Around in the water we also found a breeding place for eagle rays, few of them jumped 1 m in the air!


Interviewing Tom the turtle father for our turtle documentary.

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