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Erica's Travel Adventures

El Tunco, El Salvador

GUATEMALA | Wednesday, 16 January 2013 | Views [1591]

I can now check another country off of my list of places to go.  I spent the last weekend in El Tunco, El Salvador, and it was incredible!  I went with 2 of my roommates, Dainia and Jason, and my friends Desi and Isaac.  We left Antigua Friday morning around 8:00 on a little shuttle.  I slept most of the first part of the drive until we hit the border between Guatemala and El Salvador.  We had to get out of the shuttle and get our passports checked, but we didn’t get a stamp for El Salvador.  I was very upset.  After about 2 more hours we finally arrived in El Tunco.  The shuttle driver dropped us off in town and we got picked up by Quincho who is my host father’s son.  Quincho takes experienced surfers out to find good waves and also takes amazing surfing pictures, and he generously gave up his weekend to show us around and teach us to surf.  He brought us to our hostel, which was about a 5-minute walk to the beach. 


After we put our stuff in our room we headed down to check out the water.  El Salvador is ridiculously hot and I don’t think I was anywhere air-conditioned the entire weekend.  We were very ready to get in the water.  The beach has black sand and lots of rocks.  The water there is anything but calm, although Quincho insisted there were no big waves.  The ocean is also insanely warm there, which is nice except for that it is so hot in El Tunco that I wish the water would have been just a little bit cooler.  Either way it was amazing.  After about half an hour we wandered over to the little town area to get smoothies made with fresh fruit.  They were delicious.  We checked out a few of the shops and Desi and I also had some French fries since we didn’t have time to eat lunch earlier. 


We headed back to the hostel to rinse off and change for dinner.  Quincho drove us back into town and took us to a little burrito restaurant.  I had a beef burrito with rice and veggies and beans.  It was only $5 and was one of the best burritos I have ever had.  After dinner Quincho took us to a local bar on the beach.  We sat outside and looked out at the ocean crashing against the rocks.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  It was a nice, calm night.  We were all tired from going out the night before so we left pretty early to go back to the hostel and get some sleep. 


The next morning we woke up early to be ready at 9:00 AM for Quincho to take us surfing.  We walked down the road to grab breakfast (beans, tortillas, eggs for $2).  After waiting for him for about an hour (and taking a delightful snooze in a hammock) we decided to head to the beach on our own (Quincho mentioned he was going out that night and we figured he may have had a slight hangover).  We swam on our own for a while until Quincho found us.  We walked back to the hostel with him to grab surfboards to begin our adventure!  Jason went to try to catch some waves on his own because he had already surfed a few times but the rest of us were beginners. 


After a brief lesson on the sand, we headed out to the ocean.  Quincho started off by having us lay on the boards and riding the waves in on our stomachs.  Great, no problem.  However, if you thought fighting waves to get out farther in the ocean was difficult on your own, try doing it with a massive board.  Not as easy or glamorous as it looks.  I was clever enough to stand behind Desi and her board as a massive wave came at us and the water slammed it into my thigh, leaving of the best bruises I have ever had.  It was more than painful.  My whole upper leg was throbbing down into my bone and it hurt so badly.  After that I was sort of over it.  I rode another wave in on my belly and then attempted to stand up.  It didn’t work.  Desi and I tried one more time to stand up on a wave that was way too big for us and got thrashed around in the water.  We decided we had had enough surfing and went to grab water while Dainia and Isaac continued to try.  I have the upmost respect for surfers and have decided to let it be someone else’s hobby. 


Exhausted and sun burnt, we all went back to the hostel to get ready for our hike to the waterfall.  We grabbed lunch at a restaurant next to the hostel (I had nachos, quite delicious) and left for our trek.  It was about a 30-minute drive into the mountains where we went from sea level to an altitude of about 1600 feet.  The hike there was the easy part.  It was almost all down hill.  The only bad part was that it was extremely hot.  Luckily, we brought plenty of water and the gorgeous scenery made up for it.  It wasn’t a very long hike to the waterfalls and when we got there we did about a 15-foot jump into the water.  The water was cool and felt great after our hot hike!  Isaac, Jason, and Dainia did a few higher jumps into other falls but Desi and I opted to be the photographers.  Fifteen feet was enough for me.  The waterfall was small and beautiful and so much fun.  We spent a good amount of time hanging out in the water and enjoying the views around us.  Our hike back should have been a little bit refreshing but since it was all up hill I dried off quickly and was really hot.  It went pretty quickly but it was difficult, nonetheless.  I blame the altitude and not that fact that I haven’t worked out in 2 months.  The drive back to our hostel was nice as we watched the sunset after an exhausting, fun day. 


            Back at the hostel we rinsed off (notice, there were no real showers taken.  We had soap but it was almost useless against the sand and I didn’t wash my hair at all) and got ready for dinner.  We went to another great restaurant where I got pasta with garlic sauce (very ethnic, I know).  Then we headed back to the bar on the beach for a drink.  I was so exhausted from the day that all I wanted to do was sleep.  Luckily, Jason felt the same way (the poor guy does not have skin that is meant for the sun) and we asked Quincho to drive us back to the hostel early.  I fell asleep right away.


Sunday morning we were supposed to surf again but none of us were up for it so we walked to town to have breakfast and book our shuttle back to Antigua.  We packed up our things, went for a last swim on the beach and grabbed lunch before we had to leave.  The shuttle back was long and tedious, and I couldn’t sleep because of the curvy road and excessive travel speed.  I could not wait to be back in Antigua.  We stopped at a gas station on the way and someone on the shuttle asked if the driver would unlock the door so we could grab a snack and the driver said no and left the station without even filling up.  He was in a huge rush to get home, apparently.  We got back to our house around 8:30 PM and my host mom Patsy was so nice and had dinner waiting for us.  It was Isaac’s last night in Antigua so we went out for a quick drink before we all decided we were way too exhausted to be out. 


While we were gone, 4 new people moved into my house.  I have a new roommate named Emily who lives in my actual room with me, Amanda, and Dainia.  She is very sweet and from New Jersey.  We also got two new boys from Canada, John and Noah (Dustin left Sunday morning).  We have one other girl named Sunny in a private room downstairs.  Emily and Noah are volunteering with construction, John is taking a lot of Spanish classes, and Sunny is getting certified to teach English in foreign countries.  Our house is so full and so fun!  There are 9 of us, plus our family of 4!                

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