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Day 82-83 El Tunco- Leon, Nicaragua

Travel days

The hostel owner dropped us to the correct bus station in the morning and we were advised to get a bus heading to San Salvador but stop at a town just outside to get a directo bus to El Tunco easy 2 buses. No not easy, we got the first bus okay and got dropped at the correct place, thanks to an English speaking bus driver. However, we soon found out that buses no longer go to El Tunco from here anymore. Good. But we managed to get a chicken bus to La Libertad and then change to an El Tunco bus. During this journey, Mel jumped off a moving bus, I was squashed next to a man holding a coconut tree and a guy with a surfboard. Eventually we arrived back at El Tunco, this time staying at a nicer hotel. We were delighted to stuff ourselves with Papusa's for lunch and went to the beach in the afternoon supping on cheap coconut drinks and I got battered by her strong waves. Evening sunset on the beach with beer and cheap burrito dinner.

The next day we set off at 8am for our 10 hour shuttle bus across the boarder into Leon Nicaragua. The driver of the shuttle did not understand a smooth ride and was constantly on and off with the accelerator. We dropped people off at El Cuco on route and then we went smoothly through the Honduras border.

Honduras appeared pretty poor and also very hot and dry with nothing really to look at. Apart from a guy on the back of a pickup truck sporting a pistol down the back of his jeans.

At the Nicaraguan border we were held up for an hour because a Chinese girl on the shuttle wasn't allowed entry unless she paid basically a bribe fee of $50. Completely unfair but she didn't have a choice He then drove a further few hours onto Leon arriving at 830pm. We stayed the night at a discounted hostel that we got as prat of the shuttle deal but it wasn't to our taste. Rubbish nights sleep due to uncomfortable bed and helicopter sounding fan.

Posted by Markandmel2016 17:45 Archived in El Salvador Comments (0)

DAY 80-81 Santa Ana

19TH/20TH MARCH

28 °C

Nursing a rum and beer hangover we got on a bus with our heavy packs towards a little town called Ataco. But we managed to get on the wrong bus and spent the next 40 minutes jammed in on a packed bus in the heat going the wrong the way. After wasted time we got on the correct bus and now we were standing up with our heavy packs in the aisle. I was not happy at this point. After another bus change we were on route to Santa Anna seated and enjoyed the countryside views of Ruta de Flores along with the locals.

Santa Anna was a very edgy, dirty town with little to see or do in itself. After getting to one of the best hostels (Green hostel) we have ever stayed in we ventured out on to the dirty streets. We mooched into some very local backstreet diner and had our fill of cheap Papusa's. Then Mel insisted we saw the Cathedral and then on to a lonely planet recommended cafe which had crap service and odd wall art.

That evening we cooked our favourite stir fry veg and noodles and got ourselves any early night.

The next morning we woke early and walked around to the bus station to get the only chicken bus to Santa Anna Volcan. We got the wrong bus stop and were whistled at by a security guard wielding a huge shotgun. We enjoyed a 2 hour scenic bus ride up to the national park where we paid a small entrance fee $3 dollars each and were able to sit at an amazing view point overlooking the town and a smaller Volcan. We waited for the free guide at 11am and began our trek up the volcan. We trekked through woodland and then onto rocky pathways up the side of the Volcan. The trek was not that tough but the heat in places made it pretty sweaty. We arrived at the top and could see a huge crater in the Volcan. The crater boasted a bogie green bubbling and steaming sulphur lake. Pretty epic!! We quickly ate our packed lunch at the top took photos and then it was time to trek back down.
The walk back up the road to the park entrance was pretty long and gruelling as we had run out of water. At 4pm, we got the bus back to Santa Anna.

Evening of cheap dinner and tea.

Posted by Markandmel2016 17:20 Archived in El Salvador Comments (0)

DAY 78-79 Juayua

28 °C

Today we woke up early and randomly waited on the side of the main road for a bus to Sansonate. However after waiting on both sides of the road and 4 buses stopping for us no one was going to the place we wanted. Fiddlesticks, Re-think. We marched back into town and asked a local tour group how we could get to our next destination. Basically we had to go back on ourselves take a bus to San Salvador then to Santacio then to Januia

After a morning of bus journeys we finally arrived at our destination JUAYUA was a tranquil little town and Mel directed us to the Hotel. The hotel was awesome, located a block from the main centre, a coffee shop as reception, a communal chill out garden area and an amazing spacious room complete with a clean, hot power shower. heaven.

After we unpacked we walked through the garden and I heard a faint voice say, "Mark, Mark" I turned around and swinging in the hammock was Phil we had met days earlier at El Tunco. The stalker returns haha!

Mel and I went for a stroll around the lush central parque and found a restaurant called R and R, Nice veggie menu but a tad on the expensive side. But we both enjoyed it. We went to the local market and supermarket and bought some supplies for dinner and breakfast.

We spent the evening chilling out made noodles and spinach for dinner and watched some films on our widescreen TV,a bit of a treat. That evening we booked on to the 7 waterfalls trip for the next day.

The next morning after our standard fruit and granola breakfast we chatted with Phil who had also booked on the same trip.

Our guide was a short, fit little fellow called. Doug. We marched through the streets of the town and down some dusty gravel tracks until we got to a gate which led into a small grouping of trees. This was Dougs home, a small rustic hut with a gorrogated metal roof and random sliced up tree as supports. His wife and two young were present. The wife was busying herself with washing clothing on the washboard sink whilst the two children were chasing the dogs and puppies around the chicken coup. We waited for a short time whilst Doug changed into his trekking gear. Shorts, t-shirt, crocs, a machete and a long rope.

We trekked through a Meriod of woodland, coffee plantations, tropical jungle and rocky pathways all down hill. At points the fauna and flora opened up into majestic 180 degree views of a canyon filled with tropical jungle and coffee plants. Really amazing.
As we descended deeper into the canyon we hit running water and followed it descending further into the gorge. As the water flow increased you could see that small waterfalls were now cascading around us and meandering through the rocks along the jungle floor. The sunlight was beaming through the openings in the jungle vegetation creating pockets of light amongst the pure clear water. Dougs dogs had followed us from his home and one of them was bathing in the small waterfalls. We walked now in the ankle deep water drenching my boots with every step. Doug then stopped and said " YOU WAIT HERE I WILL BE BACK" HMM odd we thought what is he upto. He came back minutes later beckoning us to come with him more quickly. I noticed now that we did not seem to have his rope anymore, then suddenly it clicked, we are abseiling down a waterfall yikes.

He had tied one end of the rope to a tree and the other was dangling over the edge of a 25 m high 75 degree waterfall oh I thought we really are going down that. Phil went first and appeared to descend pretty quickly with no real problems. Mel second she also went down with no problems. Then my go, I put my feet into the first foot holds and descended fairly swiftly. this looks harder than it actually is, I thought. Then I got to where the main body of water was cascading and had to drop my right foot a long way down onto a ledge. Thinking it was a strong foot hold I lept onto it but it started swaying around. Bugger, it was a stack of rocks balancing on each other. I lost my nerve and suddenly I did not feel safe and I managed to swing to my right side banging into a pertruding rock grazing my elbow in the process. Whoops anyway I managed to get the rest of the way down.

After this we saw more amazing waterfalls in amongst the jungle settings, including a picnic stop of egg and veggie rolls at one too. We had our final trek to the final waterfall which had a 2 metre deep clear pool to swim in. The water was gaspingly cold and refreshing after the sweaty trek in the jungle. We then trekked back to Dougs home where we walked back to the hotel

Later that afternoon, Phil, Mel and I went to the food market and were treated like special guests by a local man manning a stall. he made us up a table with tablecloth and asked us what we wanted to eat, one meat dish, one fish dish and one veggie, he laid on beers and ice tea for Mel and 5 minutes later we were all munching on fab local food. I had a really delicious fried local fish. Phil and I carried on the drinking back at the hostel whilst Mel did some yoga.

We then joined in with some others from the hostel as one of the workers had birthday celebrations. I stayed out and starting drinking Flores de Cana rum and trying to speak Spanish with some local guys. At midnight I felt a bit drunk so thought I best call it a night.

The next day, I paid in full for the drinking the night before. Hangover aye aye aye!!!

Posted by Markandmel2016 17:08 Archived in El Salvador Comments (0)

DAY 76-77 EL TUNCO, EL SALVADOR

33 °C

I AM 35 TODAY, We start the day by having a typical Salvadorian breakfast of rice n beans with scrambled eggs and plantain. Not too shabby. Funnily enough Phil was also eating in there too. With board shorts and bikini's ready we walked along the beach and found some softish sand to lie on. After 20 minutes in the scorching heat we were ready to hit the water. The waves were unbelievably big and the undertow was pretty extreme. We were both taken out a few times and ended up looking like drowned rats. After a few hours of tanning and being thrown around in the waves we hit a local restaurant for some 50 cents puposa's filled with refried beans accompanied by pickled chilli cabbage yummo and of course a birthday beer.
After lunch Mel was super tired so she decided to go for a nap. Meanwhile back in Marks birthday world, I slinked off and purchased a massage from a nice hotel nearby. I had an hour full body massage which was rather nice.

After waking up the walking dead we headed out to the beach front and sat on some comfy chairs on the beach at a bar called Monkey Lala where we both enjoyed a beer and a Pina colada watching in disbelief at the semi pro surfers. We both watched the most amazing sunset I have ever seen. The sun was a huge glowing disc of lava orange sinking below a pebble beach covered in palm trees. The whispy clouds around it danced in colours of oranges, reds and purples until darkness fell and the remainder of the extreme surfers were silhouettes against the shoreline.

As hunger drew in we both bimbled upto a very fancy looking cafe/restaurant called BLu overlooking the beach and sea. As it was my birthday and I had received some money I ordered a 9oz Lobster for $24 which was absolutely delicious accompanied by some red vino.

The next day we enjoyed the previous day so much we attempted a reinactment, sunbathing, thrown around by huge waves, puposa's lunch but unfortunately no massage lol. In the evening we went to a different restaurant and had a fairly Mundane dinner.

Posted by Markandmel2016 18:07 Archived in El Salvador Comments (0)

Day 76 - back to Antigua and travel to El Tunco

Not really in the original plan at all but hey lets go to EL Salvador! A shuttle from Antigua to El tunco at 12 dollars each.

A quick stop in one of our favourite towns and drinking the best coffee yet.

Early night for travel day. Up at 8am taking shuttle trip across the border which went without a hitch. We arrived in El Tunco surf resort at 2pm and were immediately confronted by a sweltering heat. We checked into our not so 'Boutique hotel', hotel Zen. Unfortunately, this hotel had a foul stench coming from the river and from the toilets. The room was unclean and the air-con did not work. Not a bad place to be for ones Birthday tomorrow.

We spent the afternoon mooching around the small beachside town and the black sand and pebble beach. We met a guy called Phil who we went out to a surfers dinner haunt where we had veggie and fish burritos. We had a fairly early night that night.

Posted by Markandmel2016 17:45 Archived in El Salvador Comments (0)

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