Title: What a nice surprise!
Location: San Salvador, El Salvador
When I first said I was going to visit El Salvador there were some strange looks, then some warnings and finally some strong suggestions to travel in a tour ( preferable with an armed guard).
I took the advice and signed up for a tour with a company called ' Amortours'. My contact ( this was done entirely by e-mail) was Ana Maria Chavez. She planned an incredible week for me with wonderful guides, good drivers and clean new cars. the hotels she selcted were wonderful.
I am now back in El Salvador in a sweet B & B.
Did you know that El Salvador has:
The best airport in Central America?
The best roads- the joke here is ' did you hear that Costa Rica is going to widen their roads? ......They are adding more holes!'
The biggest soccer stadium?
The most volcanoes- I think 26.
The largest International Fair site where businesses come from all over the world to set up displays for the rest of Central and So. America to visit and buy good from?
The most beautiful theaters- one in Santa Ana and the other in San Salvador.
A town called 'Joya de Ceren' that is known as the 'Cental Am. Pompeii' as it was completely buried under volvanic ash.
That tatoos are all but forbidden because they are a sign of being in a gang?
That old army guys have not really faded away. The gov't decided that instead of having 60,000 trained soldiers with guns roaming around the country, they would put them to work as security guards. So you see these old soldiers everywhere- in gas stations, riding hotgun on the 'Pollo Indio' trucks ( my first thought was 'who wants to steal chickens?'. I was told that the drivers collect a lot of money and that is why they need the guards.
Small towns that have festivals EVERY Sunday not just once a year.
English is taught in all schools from grade one.
I'm not going to tell you that there aren't any problems. Yes, there are gangs that stop public buses and ask for money. They have been sent back here from the USA. Their families don't want them and they can't get jobs because of their tatoos...so they resort to robbery. Answer...don't take the public buses or if you do, don't look like you have any money.
Food, restaruants , taxis and gasoline are pretty much the same price as in the USA. This is not a bargain country. Since they aren't 'tourist' savvy( yet!) they don't enter into bargaining like other places used to tourists.
Still, I urge you to come. The Spanish lessons are very effective and I am becoming more fluent each day!
So there you have it...El Salvador- the biggest and best surprise so far!