On the Road #20: El Salvador Surprise


As soon as I can, I’ll update you on my one year trip. I’ve decided to leave everything behind and spend real time with the people that matter the most in my life: my wife and three children. This is my story, I hope it will inspire you to create yours.

You can read my previous “on the road” articles:

  • On the road #1
  • On the road #2
  • On the road #3
  • On the road #4
  • On the road #5
  • On the road #6
  • On the road #7
  • On the road #8
  • On the road #9
  • On the road #10
  • On the road #11
  • On the road #12
  • On the road #13
  • On the road #14
  • On the road #15
  • On the road #16
  • On the road #17
  • On the road #18
  • On the road #19


Date: from March 7th to March 14th

Countries/States/Province traveled through: El Salvador


I don’t know if this is because we are gaining experience travelling, but everything seems easier this time around. I anticipated the “2 border crossings” day with a bit of nervousness. I don’t appreciate Honduras much due to its poor reputation. And this is not exaggerated. The last traveler we know who spent some time in Honduras got their car door damaged as thieves tried to break in. At 5:15am, we woke up and put our ninja border crossing gear on. After entering Honduras in less than an hour and 20 minutes, we drove in stealth mode until we were snared in a police control point. Obviously, driving in stealth mode with a 25ft white RV isn’t that easy! The police officer asked me for my vehicule titulo and mi passaporte. I show him my title with a “no a la ma?o”, which means “you can’t take it dude!”. He saw I wasn’t joking behind my ninja mask and dropped the ball, we were free to go without even showing our passports! We got to the El Salvador border right before lunch… 11:50 very bad timing! I had to wait an hour until everybody got back from lunch at 1pm and finally entered El Salvador around 1:20pm. A few more miles on the road and we hit the playa and I had a beer in my hand before Happy Hour started!

El Salvador Surprise

The first time we crossed this country, I had the feeling there was a gun pointed at my back the whole time. I didn’t like the ambience and seriously wanted to get through it as soon as possible. But this time, I wanted to stay at La Tortuga Verde, a cool place near Playa El Cuco that I had found right before leaving this country the first time. The plan? Stay here for a week and learn to surf!

The week started like a dream. Each morning, we woke up, enjoyed a nice coffee and then hit the waves with William and Amy. In the afternoon, I was working under a palapas, facing the ocean and feeling the nice breeze on my face. Seriously, this couldn’t get any better.

The three of us took a surf lesson the first day with Rory, a surfer from Montana. After about 10-15 minutes, we all took on our first white water wave. Before the hour ends, Rory let us go practice alone as we were jumping on waves quite easily. The rush of feeling the board in perfect balance and riding the wave is addictive! However, I must tell you; I’m not going to become surfer Mike tomorrow morning. While we took several white water waves (once the wave breaks, it’s easier to stand up on your board), I failed to take on waves before they break. Still, I had so much fun surfing every day of the week, it was a blessing! I clearly remember my last day surfing while I was looking at the sun shining a million flickers on the ocean, holding my board to face the wave and think: thank you life… I’m living this!

But we did a lot more than simply surf on that day. In fact, El Salvador had more surprises for us. Let’s start by the unexpected welcoming attitude from the people of the village. One of the benefit of staying more than a couple of days in the same place is that you get more smiles from locals as they recognize you as the week goes by. We even attended the 15th birthday party of a young girl where we were camping. In Central America, the 15th birthday is like the 18th in Canada, it’s a big event. In fact, it looked more like a wedding reception than anything! They were kind enough to share their meal with us during the celebration!

Then, we woke up early one day to go deep sea fishing! This was a lot of fun! We took a boat ride for about 3 hours. While we were trolling with 3 different lines, we could admire the beauty of the El Salvador coast. You can see mountains, volcanoes and a beautiful natural beach without any resorts higher than a two-storey house. I almost caught my first fish, it was darn heavy! Unfortunately, he broke the lure and got away. Then, it was William’s turn to “almost” catch one. As he was pulling it out of the water, the fish swung one last time and returned into the sea. My wife was sea sick and we had to return to land… so much for nothing… no fish for tonight, but a great adventure in our memories! We also had the opportunity to release baby turtles into the sea. Definitely, La Tortuga Verde is a great place to hang out!

Then, towards the end of the week, we met another traveling family; Jeremy and Lucie with their kids Jeanne and Gabriela. They were French, doing about the same trip as we are. They were heading toward Nicaragua, but decided to stay one more day so we can chit-chat a bit. It was another great moment with can exchanges to inspire and be inspired. I truly enjoyed their company and it was fun to discuss our adventures. At the same time, we also met Mariano & Monica, an Argentinian couple heading North. We might encounter them again during our trip and we also invited them to Quebec as they will be there next September. It will be a great chance to practice my Spanish again!

The downside of having great encounters is that you have to let your new friends go. The French family left the night before we did. They stayed an extra half hour to have a beer with us and then, it turned out to be 2 more hours, until there was no time left and the Goodbyes had to happen. At least, we can stay in contact and we might see each other again. They are already planning another trip to Asia for next year. Who knows… we may meet them in another country. The world is such a small place!

We left La Tortuga Verde with big smiles on our faces and spent the last day in El Salvador in a very cool place… Agua Termales! What about a bunch of hot springs where you can relax after crossing this country in one day? We even had the opportunity of climbing a short hike and exploring the valley. Definitely, El Salvador was a lot more than we expected!

This was only a week, but enough for us to create memories for life, plus I now have another sport to practice!

In my next on the road, I’ll tell you what happen when you cross a border and the Aduana makes a mistake with your car registration number…. Ouch!

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