El Salvador, Honduras and beyond!

This weeks travels

This weeks travels

The last week we have been busy! We started with a lovely barbeque farewell in Antigua with all our fellow campers. It was a great night until the boys decided rum and tequila was a brilliant idea

Enjoying a few drinks on our last night in Antigua

Enjoying a few drinks on our last night in Antigua

Not so good the next morning when Christine found herself in the drivers seat with a less than fully functioning Dave beside her. Thank goodness we were travelling with Denis and Renee who took the lead on the road. We made it to the border crossing into El Salvador shortly after lunch and both managed to muddle our way through with all the different photo copies and documents needed.

Close to the Guatemala/El Salvador border we found our way to Parque National El Impossible. It was on the outskirts of a little town that obviously doesn’t see a whole lot of tourists, especially with RV’s. Our neighbours, Denis and Renee have a very unique, for these parts, truck camper that is constantly turning heads. The kids were so interested and loved to listen to Denis who’s spanish is excellent!

Enjoying one of Denis' stories

Enjoying one of Denis’ stories

We had a guide take us on a 5 hour hike up to the look out and explain about the area and its history.

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The view from the lookout – with our guide

It was a beautiful area and one of the best parts was cooling off in the river, sometimes with the company of half a dozen local kids.

Cooling off in the river behind our camp

Cooling off in the river behind our camp

Schooling and singing in the jungle

Schooling and singing in the jungle

 

These grow these jungle animals huge!

They grow these jungle animals huge!

Leaving El Imposible for the coast

Leaving El Imposible for the coast

We then headed towards the coast to a little surfers town called Sunzal Point. We hunkered down in the parking area of Sharky’s Restaurant and had access to their bathrooms, outdoor showers and internet, plus it was a two minute walk to the beach.

Sharkys restaurant

Sharkys restaurant

A typical view as we travel

A typical view as we travel

Our first look at the El Salvador coastline

Our first look at the El Salvador coastline

The beach here is really fine black sand and the surf is quite high with a very long right hand break (apparently??) which is why the surfers take up residence here

The beach at Sunzal Point

The beach at Sunzal Point

Dave and I enjoyed the waves and took a couple of days to try and plan our next few weeks of our trip as well as try and do some maintenance on the van. Ginger’s fridge is not working so well when it’s on gas but is perfect on electricity so Dave, with the assistance of Denis, tried to clean the orifice jet and see if it that was the problem. After a lot of sweat (literally) and work they got the fridge out and cleaned the jet and flue, but sadly there has been little improvement. Any other suggestions out there??? (It’s an ammonia fridge – very different to your fridge at home).

Working on the fridge

Working on the fridge

Our next planned destination heading south was somewhere on the beach around a little town called Costa del Sol. Would you believe that we could not find anywhere to camp?! We tried, with Denis’s excellent Spanish, at least 6 different hotels and turi-centers but no one would accommodate us and if they would it was for an extortionate amount of money. We tried one recommendation that had been previously used by other overlanders, but which closed down only 3 months before our arrival. Dave drove into the driveway and ran over what he thought was a steel water pipe. Sadly it was an aluminum irrigation pipe and the security guard decided that Dave would have to compensate him $15 USD as it would be taken out of his salary otherwise. We payed – and let me tell you Dave was not a happy camper!

The section of pipe we 'bought' in Costa del Sol

The section of pipe we ‘bought’ in Costa del Sol

After hours or trying, and not managing to find a place to stay in Costa del Sol we made our way back to a water park we had passed earlier in the day, Atlantis Aqua Park. Here we were welcomed and informed we could stay over night no problem just for the price of admission. We gladly paid the $8/per person and enjoyed the waterslides and pools all afternoon. The scariest was the huge tandem tube drop (Dave made Christine go on this!) but we even kind of liked the odd wave pool with waves going sideways.

The fantastic tandem slide at the aqua park

The fantastic tandem slide at the aqua park

A very bizare wave pool - where the waves went across the pool....

A very bizare wave pool – where the waves went across the pool….

Then at 6pm when everyone else left we plugged into their electricity and enjoyed our happy hour.

The next day we drove north to Perquin where there is the Museo de la Revolucion showing the photos and history of the not so long ago civil war. Over 100,000 people died and people came from all over to fight alongside the guerrillas.

The route our GPS - and the police! - recommend we take. No chance!

The route our GPS – and the police! – recommend we take. No chance!

That Bimbo's got to move! (not Renee...)

That Bimbo’s got to move!

When we finally got to the village at 1200m elevation, Denis informed us that our gas tank was leaking! We checked out the museum, then went in search of a mechanic. We couldn’t see any leakage on the way, and the mechanic couldn’t see any specific issue, like a cracked tank, and said everything looked ok.

Not so easy to see that gas tank

Not so easy to see that gas tank

Really getting in for a closer look

Really getting in for a closer look

Dave feels it’s more likely due to pressure and overflow as we had just filled up the tank then climbed steeply. Fingers crossed that’s it because if that gas tank needs to be lowered from the van we’ll probably never get it back up with the amount of rust under there!

Public Transport in El Salvador...

Public Transport in El Salvador…

After the gas leak excitement we needed to find a place to stay for the night, our last night with our friends Denis and Renee! We looked at a couple of spots before eventually stumbling upon the Arizona Hotel that is about 3km outside of town on a horrendous dirt road. However the camping spot was stunning with mountains, great view and excellent amenities. Too bad about the gale force winds that kept us from having a fire and really enjoying our last night together.

Ginger climbing up to our campsite

Ginger slowly climbing up to our campsite

And an amazing site it was!!

And an amazing site it was!!

Good luck to Denis and Renee (and their beautiful dog Mimi) as they now head north and eventually back home to Quebec. They were a wealth of information and experience for us first timers, and we really enjoyed spending a couple of weeks with such friendly and caring people!

Some other hazards of the road

Some other hazards of the road

Even the babies have machete's in these parts

Even the babies have machete’s in these parts

We decided to attempt to do 2 border crossings in a day – through Honduras and into Nicaragua. We got to the El Salvador/Honduras border around lunchtime today, Saturday, and had no problems exiting El Salvador but the Honduras border was a different story. The customs officer, and the random guy that had been following us unrequested throughout the whole exit/entrance process, told us that because it’s Saturday the bank was closed at noon and that we could either pay more than double the normal rate or wait until Monday. They had obviously seen on our immigration forms that we were just transiting and were doing their darndest to get as much from us as they could. But what can you do when it’s the goverment official telling you this??!! Well Christine did say a few words and even brought out some new spanish vocabulary, which included telling them that Honduras was a terrible country… All to no avail. We payed the stinkin money and set our mission to get out of Honduras ASAP.

Local boys selling Iguanas for food - very illegal - but still a common sight in Central America

Local boys selling Iguanas for food – very illegal – but still a common sight in Central America

The roads in Honduras were truly awful!

The roads in Honduras were also truly awful – some random bits were shaken off Ginger today!

This was successful a couple of hours later (and after three police checkpoints) when we exited Honduras and entered into Nicaragua.

Passing volcanoes in Nicaragua

Passing volcanoes in Nicaragua

By this time it was late afternoon and we started to look for a place to stay. We asked at the parking lot of a recreation park but we couldn’t stay over night. Next door was a hotel and they were kind enough to let us park as long as we got a room. Crazy but we did get a shower and toilet. The rooms are fairly yucky, and neither of us would dream of sleeping in the bed!

We’ll stick with Ginger thanks!

 

This weeks banner - the surf beach at Sunzal Point

This weeks banner – the surf beach at Sunzal Point

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “El Salvador, Honduras and beyond!

  1. Peter Moore

    Dave, you should stick to beer! Suggestions re fridge by email. Stay cool!

  2. Peter Moore

    Christine, well done with the driving! Specially with a hang over sitting next to you!

  3. Marg

    I am proud of you two especially ‘the bums’rush’ under Ginger . sorry that you have said farewell to Denis and Renee. They gave me an added confidence with th elanguage,etc. Florida sends its best to you! Love Marg

  4. Madeleine

    Hey Dave , that’s okay it was your turn for the hangover- rightly deserved. You two and Ginger are sure making the most of your time and energies. Sure hope Ginger holds on to her gas.
    Madeleine

  5. Bryan Irwin

    Hi Dave and Christine, Fun and informative reading your blog. We are Finally going into Belize tomorrow after touring the heck out of Mexico.

    Hey, I met a guy named Denis with a red pick-up in Pie De La Cuesta and I’m wondering if its the same guy. He had an inner tube on his cab roof to protect it from the camper if he hits a tope! I didn’t realize he was going out if Mexico. Did he have an inner tube on the roof or a story about hitting a tope real hard last year?

    Thanks. Bryan

    Sent from my iPhone

    • David Moore

      Bryan, It was definitely the same Denis. He mentioned meeting you guys near Acapulco. We had a great time with them in Antigua and through El Salvador. I hope the Belize border went well. We just spent 3+ hours crossing into Costa Rica – Not fun! We plan to cross the Darien in a couple of weeks, so I doubt we’ll bump into you on this trip. We will continue to enjoy the blogs though. Have a safe and enjoyable trip South!

      All the best, Dave & Christine

  6. A lot of thinks that I never know. Nice post
    Greetings from Romania

  7. Bryan Irwin

    Hi Dave and Christine, We found Denis and Renee on their way back North. Enjoyed a great evening with them. He is a wealth of info on Mexico. We are enjoying your blog!

    Thanks. Bryan

    Sent from my iPhone

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