The Final Superlatives

We’re still working on a big, cleverly and intelligently written sum-up of the whole darn adventure.  It’s hard though!  It is coming soon, but for now enjoy the final edition of our La Aventura Project superlatives!

Days in South and Central America: 217

Dollars Spent: $10,586.14

Average Dollars per day: $70.45

Countries Visited: 10

Books Read: 22 (Carrie), lost track (Zach)

Doctor visits: 1 (Zach), 0 (Carrie)

Things We Lost: More random stuff than we remember

Favorite Food: ceviche (Zach), pupusas (Carrie)

Favorite Beverage: Colombian coffee, Campos de Solana vino tinto from Tarija, Bolivia, and Flor de Caña rum from Nicaragua

Best Wildlife Sighting: dolphins on the cruise from Panamá to Colombia

Nicest People: Colombians and Salvadorans

Most Touristy Countries: Perú and Guatemala

Most American Retirees: Panamá

Scariest/Coolest Experience: the eruption of Tungurahua Volcano

Most Liver Damage: Loki Hostel

Biggest Personal Changes: dreadlocks and eating meat (Carrie), actually speaking a second language (Zach)

Longest Bus Marathon: 3 days almost-straight, Trinidad, Bolivia to Arequipa, Perú

Best Hostel: Hostal Las Olas in Copacabana, Bolivia

Best Place to Open Our Bar Someday: Canoa, Ecuador

Most Sobering Site: civil war museum in Perquín, El Salvador

Most Life-Changing Moment: getting engaged

Sweatiest We’ve Ever Been in Our Lives: Nicaragua

Most Expensive Country/Most Fast Food Places: Costa Rica

Most Breeds of Potatoes: Perú

Best Shopping: Panajachel, Nicaragua

Creepiest Hotel: the Auto Hotel in Sonsonate, El Salvador

Favorite Country in Central America: El Salvador

Favorite Country Overall: Ecuador!!!!!!!!!!!!

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El Salvador Financial Summary

Total money spent: $354.31

Total days: 17

So, we spent $20.84 per day, or $10.42 per person per day.  Basically, we were WAY under our $15 per person per day goal!  Woot!  El Salvador was our cheapest country yet!

The fact that food was half our budget proves how cheap everything else is, because food is still really cheap!  Especially if you eat pupusas.

Buses are also amazingly cheap, although dumpy chicken buses, in El Salvador.

We only paid for one night of lodging the whole time!

El Salvador would also be a great, easy place to travel if you had a car or a motorcycle.  Flights through Spirit Airlines are also really cheap, so you should go!

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The Last Stop – San Salvador

San Salvador was just…meh.  Supposedly it has the best nightlife in Central America but we didn’t really have time or energy to explore that.  The city is sprawling, noisy, crowded, polluted, and dirty.  We wanted to see more historical sights but everything is so spread out and we were just kind of tired and focused on making it to our flight in one piece.  So we wandered around the centro for a few hours and didn’t do much else.

san salvador
The cathedral
san salvador
Iglesia El Rosario

san salvador

I know we missed a lot in San Salvador, but it wasn’t one of our favorite cities, and honestly, we were pretty burned out.  Luckily we made it to the airport and we’re now at home sleeping for about a week to recover from all our 8 months of adventures!  Thanks for following along everyone!

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Ruta de Las Flores – Adventures in El Salvador

The Ruta de Las Flores is supposedly the number one tourist attraction in El Salvador’s burgeoning tourist scene.  That being said, we still hardly saw any other foreigners traveling it!  The route includes three small towns up in the coffee-growing hills of western El Salvador.  Good food, quaint markets, and beautiful scenery were the highlights.  The lowlight: unfortunately it rained for a couple hours every day!  But what can you do?  It is the rainy season.

We started in Juayúa, home to a famous weekend food fair.  It was the same vibe as a carnival or state fair back home, except with different delicacies and lower prices of course!

ruta de las flores
Booths selling delicious treats
ruta de las flores
Steak, sausage, grilled potatoes, rice, cheesy tortillas, salsa, and chimichurri!

The next day we continued a few kilometers down the road to Apaneca, the smallest town on the route.  We didn’t find out until we got there that our hostel was located about 5km uphill from where the bus dropped us off, in the smaller village of Laguna Verde.  Lucky for us, hitchhiking is easy in the country and we caught a ride in a pickup truck bed most of the way up the hill.  We bought some great coffee in Apaneca and hiked to the small but pretty Laguna Verde.

ruta de las flores
Look at all that fog!

Our last stop, Concepción de Ataco, was our favorite.  It was a bigger town with gorgeous blue and white churches, tons of public murals, and lots of awesome craft stores.  If you stay anywhere for more than one night, we would recommend it be here!

ruta de las flores
Ataco street murals

ruta de las flores

ruta de las flores
Our daily dose of ice cream from La Neveria, which we highly recommend
ruta de las flores
Can you see me?

Travel in El Salvador during the rainy season is a little tricky, but once you get the pattern down you can work around it.  It usually rains in the early afternoon for a couple hours and you just have to wait it out.  On the Ruta de Las Flores, the towns are so close that you can easily arrive at your next stop and stash your stuff before the downpour.

If you enjoy this post about El Salvador’s Ruta de las Flores the check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Expresión Cultural Café y Restaurante in Santa Ana, El Salvador

Expresión Cultural Café y Restaurante is a hip hangout in the colonial downtown of Santa Ana.  They present a menu of local and international cuisine, focusing mainly on Latin American dishes.  Many awesome local art pieces are displayed around the restaurant, along with random vintage collectables.

We had a few tacos, which featured buttery shrimp, grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, and a creamy sauce.  We also ordered the quesadilla appetizer which were super cheesy and served with some great guacamole and salsa.

Expresión Cultural also had a nice selection of espresso drinks, non-alcoholic beverages and a large variety fresh juices.  Expresión Cultural Café y Restaurante is a trendy place with good eats and great vibes.  The staff are professional and take care of you well.  Check it out if you’re in or around Santa Ana!

Location: Calle 11 Poniente y Avenida 8 Sur, Santa Ana.

Phone: 24401410

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cafeexpresion

 

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Carrie’s 25th birthday at the Lago de Coatepeque

Lago de Coatepeque

On Carrie’s birthday we had quite a day of touring.   After hitting up the Mayan Ruinas del Tazumal, we bussed it back to Santa Ana where we boarding bus 220 (242 works as well) for El Lago, a.k.a. Lago de Coatepeque.  The lake is in a volcanic crater and is sparkling blue and about 6km across.  Its not very far from Santa Ana, but the bus is slow so it takes about an hour to get there.  There is a small village on the edge of the lake with a few hostels and restaurants on docks extending out over the water.  We had a few birthday Pilseners and enjoyed the clear skies and the towering green volcanos around us.  Oh, what a lifestyle.

Lago de Coatepeque
On the way back we took a pit stop in El Congo because we saw an ice cream shop with an ice cream cake sign.  We bought two slices and it was super rich and fantastic.  Carrie said it was a great first birthday in another country!

If you enjoy this post about Lago de Coatepeque then check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Segen Hostel in Concepcion de Ataco, El Salvador

Segen Hostel

Segen Hostel is a laid-back, cozy place to base your stay in Concepción de Ataco.  The new hostel showcases local paintings and sculptures, a garden fountain, and clean, spacious rooms.  The firm beds are good for hiking-weary backs and the hot water feels great at the slightly chilly altitude.  There is also a bar selling water, coffee, and other drinks, and a Internet connection available for guest use.  Hostal Segen’s central location make is great for exploring all the town has to offer.

Segen Hostel
View from roof.

Ataco is a fun town full of colorful murals, awesome arts and crafts shops, and great restaurants.  It’s one of the stops on the famous Ruta de Las Flores, and for us it was the most enjoyable.

Services Offered:

Free coffee and bread

Internet

Bar

Hot water

Tourist information available

Guided hikes available

Lounge

Cable TV in lounge

Address: 1.5 blocks north of the alcaldia/central park

Phone: 24505832

Email: alicanteapaneca@hotmail.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001279302723&sk=wall

This post was sponsored by Segen Hostel.

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