Salvadoran Naive Art and Mountaintop Hitchhiking in La Palma

Salvadoran Naive ArtLa Palma is in the northernmost reaches of El Salvador, just across the border from Honduras.  It’s home to world-famous Salvadoran painter Fernando Llort.  He founded a style called ” naive art ” which became extremely popular, and then he taught lots of locals how to duplicate paintings in this style, turning them into craftsmen with income-generating businesses!  Because of naive art’s fame and brilliance, and the many capable painters in town, La Palma has the most public murals per capita of anywhere in the world!  Every wall, business, house, telephone pole, curb, EVERYTHING is painted in this vivid, simple fashion.

Salvadoran Naive Art

Salvadoran Naive Art

La Palma is surrounded by lush mountains and the temperature is quite cool–yay!

Salvadoran Naive ArtOnly 12 kilometers away is Cerro El Pital, the highest peak in El Salvador, at 2730 meters (around 9000 feet).  San Ignacio, the next town over from La Palma, is the departure point for this hike.  The climb is not very daunting, as a road goes most of the way up, so you only have to hike the last 5km of the trail to the summit.  Of course we missed the bus going up, but as we started walking uphill from San Ignacio, we saw some people jumping into a pickup, confirmed that they were heading uphill, and joined them!  The views as we rode in the back of the truck, climbing higher and higher, were outstanding!

Salvadoran Naive Art

Even better, when we got to the trail and asked the driver how much we owed him, he just smiled and replied, “Nada!”  Finally, a first hitchhiking success after many fruitless attempts!  The trail up the summit took us about an hour and a half and was steep but not too strenuous.  Unfortunately, due to our inability to get up early, clouds were rolling in as we climbed and we couldn’t see anything but white fluff from the top.  During clear times (early morning) you can supposedly see into Honduras and Guatemala from the top.  So learn from our mistake and if you want to have great views from the summit, go early!

Salvadoran Naive Art
Zach, victorious, at the summit

Hiking back down, we got some more partly cloudy views.  Again, there was no bus in sight, so we just started hiking down the road hoping a car would pass and pick us up.

Salvadoran Naive ArtLuckily, just as our knees were starting to feel it on the steep slope, a bread truck with two guys in it stopped and crammed us in.  They were super friendly and gave us a free ride not only to San Ignacio, but all the way back to La Palma, since they were going that way anyway.  Hurrah for hiking and hitchhiking success!!!!!

Enjoy this post about Salvadoran Naive Art and hitchhiking to the top of El Salvador’s highest mountain? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

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Barranco: The Hippest Part of Lima

BarrancoThanks to the awesome power of Couchsurfing, on our first day in Lima we met a friend, Jorge.  He helped us a lot with some venue-searching we were doing for a youth orchestra from Zach’s hometown, which is coming to Peru this summer.  Jorge lived in Barranco, and just from our first meeting in a coffee shop there, we could tell it was an awesome area.  We were able to find a free B&B in the neighborhood and moved in for our last few days in Lima.

Barranco
Barranco is historically the poorer, bohemian neighborhood of Lima, although just like it’s NYC counterpart (Greenwich Village) it seems to me like it’s becoming more expensive and upscale then it probably used to be.  Still, it definitely has a multicultural vibe and relaxed, “enjoy life” atmosphere.  There’s an abundance of classic old cars parked on the streets, and the buildings are all colorfully painted or covered in cool graffiti-style murals.

Barranco
The main plaza of Barranco is also just a few blocks away from Lima’s best surfing beaches.  Being the Bohemian barrio, Barranco also has the best nightlife in Lima, all week long.  We went to a salsa club with a live band on a Tuesday night, and the place was crowded with awesome dancers.  Our salsa is terrible but it was super fun just to watch the band and the dancers who make it look so easy.


After several days in Barranco, neither of us was ready to leave.  We decided to add it to the list of places we could potentially live someday.  But we have to see the rest of the world before we decide!

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