Category Archives: El Salvador

Crossing Borders For The Super Bowl!

I’m going to miss this little life here in El Tunco: the cheap food, the chill vibe, the cheap food, the sunsets, the hamburgers, the ice cream, the wavy ocean, and the cheap food. I’d love to stay and hangout longer but it’s Saturday, January 31st which means that tomorrow is the Super Bowl! As an American, it’s my duty to watch it and I’ve managed to keep up with all the recent games and drama the past few weeks thanks to the Monoloco bar in Antigua. “Deflategate” has made headlines all around the world. I have to get to León, Nicaragua to catch the game. It’s an eight to ten hour drive from here to there, so if all goes well (which never happens) I’ll make it there right at kickoff.

Luke left a day earlier than me to León. I stuck around an extra day to hangout with Alex and Lucinda, two volunteers who came a couple of days later from Antigua.


I also remembered to scoop a bottle of sand from the beach to take home with me and add to my slowly growing collection.


I booked a shuttle the following morning though. I wasn’t quite sure what time the Super Bowl comes on down here; the timezone is different. I said my goodbyes to Alex and Lucinda and headed to the shuttle station at 7:30am but because of delays with the border, my van didn’t arrive until damn near 11am! We gotta get a move on!


The road down through El Salvador was a long one. But at least we had air conditioning, wifi, and a movie to watch. The Dramamine I took earlier helped a lot so I was able to watch Ted along with the other traveling backpackers. There were ten of us packed in one van. Most of them from Australia, some from Canada, and one or two from the US. I had a window seat right underneath a vent so at least I was a little comfortable. I messaged Luke telling him that I was probably going to arrive around halftime. I’ll take what I could get.

In order to get to Nicaragua, we had to cross the border in Honduras and Nicaragua itself. When we finally arrived in Honduras, it took us forever and a day to get our passports stamped.


No one else seemed concerned that we were racing against a ticking-time bomb. Probably because none of them except for one was American. At this pace we were going to miss the Super Bowl. I still remained optimistic that I would at least see the fourth quarter, which is usually the most exciting anyways. I had no clue who was performing the halftime show so I couldn’t have cared less about that.

It was nine-something at night. I gave up all hopes that the game was still on. Still I held a glimmer of hope. I began to doze off before we finally arrived in León. I got out the van and as soon as I retrieved my heavy backpack, I beelined straight to the Bigfoot Hostel, my accommodation. It was only a few doors down. I stopped at the window of the hostel and saw the tv at the bar on. The score was 0-0. The game has ended and they were showing the highlights. I saw Luke sitting underneath with a beer in hand. He turned and saw me when I let out a big groan.

“I thought you were lost!” said Luke.

“No,” I replied. “We had some issues this morning.”

“You missed a good game!”

Those words poked at my nerves. People at the bar boasted about how this was one of the best Super Bowls in years. And I missed the whole thing.
At least the Patriots won. I should have left El Tunco a day earlier. I was beating myself up for that.

Still I was starving from the long ride. I went with one of the Canadian backpackers to get some street food around the corner, which was mighty good.


“Dan, are you up for volcano boarding tomorrow morning?” asked Luke.

My spirits were lifted.

“I sure am!”


The Wandering Way of Life

One of the most freeing sensations in the world is to book a one-way flight to a country you’ve never been to and not knowing where you’ll end up in the process. I don’t rely on guidebooks anymore; other travelers and locals I meet along the way give me all the advice and inspiration I need. It’s all part of the adventure! After my six-week stint teaching English to young locals in Guatemala was complete, I decided to press on further down Central America by backpacking along a random route, going wherever my curious heart saw fit. The unplanned journeys usually have the best stories to tell.

My friend Luke and I took a six-hour shuttle van filled with a group of perpetually coughing, elderly Korean passengers. If I fell ill later on, this would be the reason why. We successfully crossed the El Salvadorian border and drove to the Pacific coast, to a special place called Playa El Tunco. I heard it was one of the most charming places in this country and if so, I had to be there! We were dropped off at a hip hostel, with its perfect location, just a short walking distance to the beach. We dropped off our bags and strolled down to the beach of slate gray sand and emerald blue waves. There were international surfers carving waves as the freakishly enormous sun slowly dipped beyond the horizon. I’ve never seen the sun appear so big!


The next day, I met another wandering backpacker by the name of Jaryd who is an Australian copy of myself: his traveling style is unorthodox, doesn’t always follow the rules, and doesn’t mind getting lost in the world. A little birdie told us there were some secret waterfalls nearby and we could hire a local to take us there on the cheap. We were game and hopped in the back of his blue pickup truck. Two backpackers from England and Norway joined us for the ride. It always amazes me how we all can leave our respective countries solo, but always come across the right people and you never once feel alone.

We felt the sun beaming sun on us from the cloudless blue sky as we rode along the hills with surprisingly smooth roads. It took about an hour before we arrived in an isolated community, but it was here where we found the “yellow brick road” that led to the waterfalls, which according to our spanish speaking driver, were “hiding behind the hills”.

It was a piercing hot hike through a dry highland. Each step we took made a satisfying crunching sound from all the decaying leaves underneath our shoes. Winds blew up dust from levels beneath us into our faces. Occasionally, I’d find a spider or some other tiny critter on my leg from all the bush we combed through. The sun was relentless and I enjoyed every moment of everything!


After thirty minutes or so, we arrived to the highest of a series of cascading waterfalls with bowls of water deep enough to jump in from a great height. That was all the inspiration I need. We fearlessly leaped from a cliff of seven meters into a pool of welcoming cool. Immediately after, there was another higher waterfall to hop in. And so we did, from about ten meters up! With a few leaps and a little more trudging down steep narrow cliffs, we made it to the bottom basin where all the water collected. We were the only ones there and we could do whatever we wanted.



Back near the beach, we explored more of the small town of El Tunco. Most of the stores and restaurants here were stupid cheap. Luke, Jaryd, and I each had a hamburger, fries, and a soda; a full meal for less than four American dollars. All of the restaurants were that way. I had a cheeseburger for breakfast, lunch, and dinner that day. It’s my trip, I can wander where I want and eat what I want! Surprisingly, it wasn’t nearly as touristy as I thought it was going to be. The vibe was really chill and easy.



I stayed there for a few days playing in the ocean, climbing big rocks, and attempting to sneak into lavish hotel pools nearby with my mental clone Jaryd, pondering where I’d go next.


Nicaragua’s not too far away…