“I’ve never heard of anyone going to El Salvador” was the common response when Ben and I informed friends and family of our upcoming vacation. That didn’t put much confidence in our travel choice, well, that along with the travel warning received by the US government when we bought our tickets. What we did know was a friend visited a surfing hostel there and said it was a vacation of a lifetime. We were looking for the perfect mix of adventure and relaxation and now that our time in the surf has come to an end, I can say that we accomplished just that.
We flew into the small airport and were instructed to meet at the “Pizza Hut” upon arrival. Great, I’m thinking as neither of us speak much Spanish and we had no idea who was picking us up or where this pizza place was. After stepping off the plane, we where directed to customs (which is nothing like in the US). Our line was short, as we were the only non-natives, and we were in and out in less than 5 minutes. We walked out of the airport and sure enough, there were two tanned surfer-looking guys holding a sign with our names.
That evening at the hostel, we were greeted by a friendly woman named Isabel with ice cold cerveza’s in hand. She was known as the ‘hostel mom’ and showed us around before we hit the hay. As we awake the next morning, we’re able to see the beauty of where we are. The town itself “Playa el Zonte” is nothing more than a few hostels and couple of shacks and that’s exactly what we were looking for. That morning we have our first surf lesson. With our lack of Spanish and their lack of English, I feel it went pretty well. During the next few days we accomplished the perfect combination of surfing and hammock laying, as there is not much else to do in Zonte.
On the third night we met another Gringo Willi from CO, he clued us in to a trip up to “Ruta de Las Flores” which is the volcanic coffee area of the country. As it turns out this trip was simply a quick vacation for a local tour guide named Rivas, which we were lucky enough to get in on. This region is quite a bit different in elevation and climate than the coast, and we weren’t sure that we were prepared for the weather.
Our first stop was a food festival which occurs every weekend in the town of Concepcion de Ataco. We ate traditional Salvadorian food and moved on. We stayed in a town called Juayua, which has the look of an old conquistador inspired village. Our guide, Rivas, chauffeured us along to his favourite spots, which of course, were owned by friends of his. Our first stop in the morning was a coffee tour where we met a roaster named Cesar. We roasted our own batch of coffee and learned all about the different coffee types and were able to enjoy the perfectly brewed cup we prepared.
Our next stop was the natural hot springs, which was basically the essence of relaxation and rejuvenation. This was followed up with a zipline tour through the canopy before headed back to the beach. This mini trip within our vacation was amazing, and luckily the one change of clothes we brought on the trip were our Icebreaker base layers and T-shirts which worked amazingly well for both climates and all of the activities we could get ourselves into.
At Icebreaker we say “pack less, travel further” and that’s not just a tagline. Our Icebreaker gear allowed us to be agile and spontaneous since we had no restrictions based on what we did or didn’t pack.
-Ashley Stuart, Icebreaker Digital Marketing Coordinator