After 6 long years, we finally made it back to El Salvador. The place where my mum is from, my roots. That place so dear to my heart, the place I only share with family, a place I talk about but never shared with anyone else. I have been going to El Salvador since I’m 2 and it’s the first time I am writing about this country I feel so attracted to. My body and mind love being there, the food is comfort, the music makes me want to dance and my soul is revived.
The reason I’m deciding the write about it is because it was the first time I have let someone else enter that world. I believe in the right time and right place with the right person. But I never suspected how confronting this trip would become. Letting someone enter a part of your world, means also realising how much you have changed, realising how things haven’t changed, cultural shocks, facing truth you never realised were there, getting closer to who you want to be, letting go of believes you always thought were good and safe. In other words, seeing your world with new eyes. Nevertheless, I have loved going back and seeing the country that holds my most precious childhood memories, evolving getting better and safer was all I could ask for.
When people hear about El Salvador they only see the violence that the country went through for decades. But I can tell you, it is so much more. If you like to travel through off-beaten paths, feel the cultural shock, and experience the true lifestyle of the people, El Salvador is the country for you. The Mayan culture is almost dissapearing, the food is not out of this world, the beaches are not island beaches, the streets are not as colorful as you would imagine, the nature is not as breathtaking as in other places I have seen throughout the years, but it’s authentic, it’s untouched, and it’s real. A country barely touched by international tourism (not yet). I know I can sound contradictory, but as I mentioned above, going to a place you thought so perfect, where you have built a perfect image of it and coming back with new eyes, with someone else and after many years of seeing other countries, you start relativasing the place you have idealised. Nonetheless going to El Salvador is an adventure and to me it’s still my comfort place, I hear it calling me every single time, my body knows a part of it comes from there. So if you decide to go, let me tell you what you need to pay attention to because it’s all in the little details:
- take the time to smell the air
- check the beaches with black sand and be courageous to enter the dark oceans and enjoy the waves.
- Go to an archeological site and based on the couple of ruins left imagine how the city would have looked like.
- Eat fruit out of a bag with salt, lime and chili – the green mango is my favorite
- Stop along the road to eat grilled corn with lime and salt
- hydrate by drinking coconut water directly out of the coconut
- eat plenty of pupusas with no cultery- they are the best comfort food
- climb volcanoes so you remember how small we are against nature
- Discover all the lakes and their beautiful water
- the natural hotspings
- All the palm trees
- try a grilled chicken or fish with the best rice, salade and tortillas
- visit the little towns, with their main square and colonial churches
- try tamarindo juice or horchata
- Notice the kids
- Notice de elderly with their eyes full of wisdom
- ask for your Mayan sign
- the street art
- Enjoy the sun in the morning
- enjoy the cold of the highest point of El Salvador
- Take a ride at the back of a pick-up
- take a nap in the hammocks
- enjoy the tropical storms
- Enjoy listening to Latin music from old cumbias to reggaeton and urban.
- Drive like there is no tomorrow
- eat a snow cone with all the syrups – the tamarindo syrup is the best
- let your eyes enjoy the green of nature touching the blue of the sky.
Let yourself be transported to another world so different from the one you know – let all your senses be filled with all the triggers they will feel and explore.