Thursday, February 18, 2010

El Salvador

After leaving Nicaragua and spending one night in Honduras we are now taking a break in El Salvador. We feel pretty confident now about the border crossings and don't use any 'helpers' unless we want to get to the front of a line.

When entering Honduras there was a bus load of travellers than were all using a helper, this guy had a stack of passports 4 inches thick. Trouble is he was ahead of me in line. Just when I thought I should settle in for a long stand a second window opened up. Some official guy came running in saying our bikes were in the wrong parking spot. Wrong spot? It is a free - for -all out there so how can one spot be wrong? Anyway 'no problemo', I got my passport stamped while Pete moved the bikes.

Of all the entry/exits Honduras is the worst. It is the most expensive, slowest, and you never really know what you are paying for and where the money really goes. Of course that is by design by those working the border.

We rode into a seaside town ( see the route maps, I can't spell) and searched around for a place. Seems we are white. Seems that doubles the price. There weren't too many options but we did find a decent place on the ocean. I had my doubts though, we rode around the washed out bridge and down a single lane dirt road c/w chickens and dogs and barefoot kids before finding a nearly empty 'resort'. It was quite acceptable. We went into a little town up the beach for dinner, where young men ran out to us and told us of their fantastic menu. All the places were empty so we were it for business opportunities. Hmmmmm, ever wonder what others might know if you are the only guys staying in a hotel and eating in a small town??

The road into the ocean town was 20km or so of downhill twisty road. It was banked well, full of potholes, loaded with trucks and sometimes cattle.

We entered El Salvador two nights ago and headed for a place called Costa del Sol. We heard it was nice and in a good spot for our day plan. Unfortunately it was not in a great spot ( hard to find) and we ended up getting there late. I think it was our first night riding into a town well after dark. We did find a place that was fine, good food and a spot to stash the bikes. There were kids in the streets working for the two local hotels and swarmed us when we stopped the bikes. We choose a place, but when we got to the front 'desk' it turned out the price would be double as the rooms had only one bed. Now Pete is a good guy, but...... . Rather than loose our business we got two rooms for the price of one.

Pete's A/C worked. Pete's door closed and latched. Mine...not so much. But I did have a free pet in the room. I felt a bit of a tickle on my chest in the middle of the night. Half awake I grabbed a cricket-like crawler off of me and tossed it to the corner. (I assume it was nesting in my manly chest hair). I just hope it was a female.

The town of Costa del Sol was really neat, but not a touristy type of place. It is a working beach, we watched men land their netted catch from their small inshore boats at breakfast. Fish dried in the sun in the narrow, dusty streets. Men fixed fish nets and chicks, roosters and ducks roamed free. Parts of the town looked like they were used as a backdrop for an El salvador civil war movie. They people were really nice as I walked around, glowing brightly in the sun. An old man told me his life story, none of which I understood.

We moved on up the coast through La Libertad and to a funky little surfing town called Tusco Beach. It is one of the best surfing spots in CA, and has some development but is low key. The streets are dirt and there are surf shops and places to eat and stay. We took a cabana on the ocean for $25.

The reason the surfing is so good here is because there is a 'point break' meaning that the big waves break on a point and curl along the beach instead of just crashing all at once. I now know this, and all the surf terms, 'cause decided that we had to try surfing and we are super cool guys. We each got an instructor and a board for $15 an hour.

My guy spoke no english at all. There were no insurance forms, very little beach training, no starting on small waves, just out to sea with a 15 year old kid that could surf on a popcicle stick. Rookies like us get 'big boards', harder to twist and do all the cool things but easier to get up on. I was spent from carrying this thing to the water. Good surfers are good swimmers, have narrow waists and broad shoulders and guns for arms. Hmmmm, No, no, no and nope.

After paddling out my guy got all excited all of a sudden and pushed my along a wave while screaming spanish. He might have said "this is for what happened to my sister", I dunno. I paddled like a freak and tried to remember any Beach Boy video. The Hawaii 5-O theme song was playing in my head. I push up to stand and flew off the board with arms and legs all over the place. I got pounded. I resurfaced happy to be alive. Then I learned that when the waves crash they usually come several at a time. Another wave rocked my world, more white water. It was brutal.

A few crashes later I realized that my guy was trying to tell me to not stand up, ride a wave in for 20 seconds on my belly, then kneel until the wave ends. So I did, man it was great. I harnessed that bad boy all the way to the beach. Which is a mistake. I guess you are supposed to jump off before the beach 'cause the final wave crash throws the board around and people loose teeth and things. I didn't, luckily.

A few more rides and standing attempts followed. I met Pete and we watched guys make it look soooooo easy. We were both exhausted and hurting from the paddling and wiping out.

I did actually stand up for a bit late in the hour. Maybe three times for 6 or 8 seconds each ( it seemed like 1/2 hour but I am sure it wasn't). Maybe I should do it again today.

We have ten days to get to Texas, which should not be a problem. Maybe we will spend a night or two in Guatemala before entering Mexico on the Pacific side.


Sorry to Mrs. Robertson ( grade 10 english ) for all the spelling and typos, I kinda banged this out quickly and have no spell check.

Book`èm Danno.

Twisy mountain road in Hounduras.
Local taxi on twisty mountain road.

An Active volcano in Honduras. When riding, especially Honduras and El Salvador, volcanos just appear around the next bend all the time. It doesn`t get old.

Every country ( almost ) spray the bikes at customs. It is kind of a joke though as they half-assed spray part of the bike. I guess no nasty bugs would be on the other side of the wheel. This is the hose down entering El Salvador.

Customs made the driver and helper of this banana truck dig deep into the pile of bananas to proove, I assume, that all he was carrying was fruit. If you get a bruised banana it might have come from this truck as they were treated a little rough.

Just after opening at the market in Costa del Sol, El Salvador.

Working beach, with fishing boats and hut for living in.

This is how the locals finish off riding the big waves.

This is how I do it.

End of the day at Playa Tusca, El Salvador


  1. Tony, I hear you when it comes to getting smashed by waves. I almost died a few times on the beach in Australia. :)


  2. The surfing sounds awesome, and its great that Mrs. Robertson got a shout out.


  3. Hola caballelos de surf. Did you see any nice cocunuts? Make sure to shake the sand outta your gitch before you sit on the saddle in that jungle heat. Smooth travels.....