El Salvador’s El Imposible National Park: Jungle Hiking

The only way into El Salvador‘s Parque Nacional El Imposible on the south side is a up a rough cobblestone road that winds its way up 14km from the coastal highway into the mountains.  There are several buses per day that make the trip but unless you are right on time, you will probably have better luck just hitching a ride in the back of a pickup.  After waiting about an hour, we were picked up by a nice couple that was also staying at our hostel, so we got super lucky.  The views of El Imposible National Park riding from the back of the truck were amazing with the green hills covered in thick jungle and the ocean far in the distance.  The first night we took it easy and planned to get up at dawn to do a 10km round-trip hike before the midday rains came in.

That night I had a fever and felt all lightheaded and in the morning I was still not feeling 100% but decided to hike anyhow.  However, upon arriving at the park and learning that we were required to hired a guide for $10 on top of our $6 each to enter, we got angry with the system and decided to just rest up instead.  While walking back to the hostel I got all lightheaded again and my fever chills came back.  “Good thing we aren’t hiking!”  I went back to bed planning to sleep all day and hopefully be ready to move on by the next day.

I woke to someone yelling “Buenas dias!”  It was the couple that gave us a ride and they wanted to know if we wanted to go hike with them and share a guide.  After sleeping for a few hours I was feeling much better, so we told them we would come along.  They filled our water bottles with “agua de coco” from freshly cracked coconuts  and pretty soon we were back in the park and ready to hike!  The guide was there and turned out to be as pointless as we thought, as the trail was easy to follow.  By this time the sky was the normal hazy mess it is almost every day recently.  Ahh, the rainy season!

El Imposible National Park

Nearing the midpoint of our hike to the top of Cerro León, we heard a yell in front of us and saw a three-foot-long brown snake slither off into the brush.  The guide said that the coffee-colored snakes are very dangerous.   A little farther ahead we heard another yell as the same guy almost stepped on a tiny stripped snake.  The guide said that this little guy was even more deadly.  Carrie and I were in our Chacos so we were pretty scared of stepping on one at this point!

El Imposible National Park

El Imposible National Park

At the top we were in the clouds so there wasn’t a view.  We had a few snacks then just as we were starting down the sky opened up and rain fell so hard that we were soaked in under a minute.  The trail turned to muddle puddles and waterfalls were forming everywhere.  We had to almost run down because there was a river that we needed to cross and the guide was worried about it swelling too much before we got there.  Thankfully we were able to cross but the water did go up to my knees.  The rain never really gave us a break and once finally back at the starting point we weren’t sure if we had a good time or not.  However, it was a crazy adventure and we both had goofy smiles on our faces for some reason. El Imposible National Park was quite the adventure.

El Imposible National Park

Check back later for the story of the jungle rash some plant gave me!

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