On my way through Central America I figured out that most travelers were afraid of going to El Salvador. They heard some stories that it is really dangerous there and are therefore skipping the country. But after I’ve been there I can definitely tell you that this is a mistake! As most people skip El Salvador, there are almost no tourists. Also the country offers a lot to see and to do. What I liked the most in El Salvador was the city of Santa Ana. The city itself is really authentic with an amazing market and very beautiful old buildings. Also very close there is the volcano of Santa Ana and the lake Coatepeque. And both are definetly worth a visit! There is just one problem: Doing both on the same day is not possible according to the bus schedule.
Volcán de Santa Ana
However what is possible is to take a really cheap bus to the volcano which takes about 1 hour. Actually when I was there I was really unlucky cause there were only couples going there. As we arrived there was a little market at the bottom of the volano where you can buy food and drinks. The scenery is already really beautiful before going all the way up to the top. However when the guides finally arrived, as you cannot go to the peak by yourself, we started the hike. It is not a really long nor exhausting one and also the entry isn’t expensive. And there finally I was lucky: Right when we left the street a car stopped and dropped a canadian backpacker to our tour. Finally another adventurer in my age I could talk to during the hike. Actually also for the rest of the day that was really important.
However, up on the top of the volcano there’s an amazing view and in the crater there is a small lake with perfectly turkis water. On the way back down I discussed with my Canadian friend how we could go to the lake Coatepeque as we both still had enough energy and time after the small but great hike.
Lago Coatepeque – Hitchhiking
So we decided to take some risk: We asked a couple of the group if they can take us with them. Well, the answer was yes but they didn’t go all the way to the lake, just half the way. We sayed f… it and went with the couple. So they dropped us in the middle of the street. We knew if nobody is going to take us with them we will not arrive at the lake before the night. So we tried to hitchhike and the first car passed by and the second one… Wait! Actually the second one stopped! We ran there and there was one young guy with just one seat next to him. He was like “Come on in guys!” We couldn’t believe our luck!
After 2 minutes of being on the street a car stopped for us. So we tried to fit in that one seat somehow with both our backpacks on the legs. The guy was just smiling and turned on some hardcore loud music and started to drive. We talked a little bit and actually in the end, even he didn’t plan to go there, he brought us all the way down to the lake! That was an amazing thing to do so we both were really happy. Right there we literally saw the last bus leaving back to the city while we arrived. We just said “whatever! Let’s enjoy the rest of the day! :)” So we took a swim and went for a nice bar.
We watched the sunset with many beers until we knew it was about time to start our hike back. So we bought some more beers for the long way back home and started to walk up. Suddenly we saw 2 lights coming from behind. We put out our hands but didn’t even stop walking. And already the second time of the day we couldn’t believe our eyes. The Pick Up Truck stopped right in front of us. 3 older workers were sitting in the back already. We jumped in to them and found out they were actually going to the same city: Santa Ana. We started to talk to the others and shared our beers with them. After a while one after the other jumped off the car. We enjoyed the warm wind until the driver actually stopped right in front of our hostel. We arrived that early that we could go for one more beer in the hostel.
I can definitely say that was one of the most fun days where nothing was planned but everything worked out! I tried something new, made a friend and had a lot of luck. Not every day as a traveler happens like this but anyway … it can only turn out well if you put some risk in there and you just go for it!