Jungle Rash – Visiting The Doctor In Antigua

The morning after hiking in Parque Nacional El Imposible in El Salvador, I woke with a strange burning sensation all over my fingertips.  As the day progressed, my hands got redder and redder and I started having trouble unscrewing water bottle tops and unzipping backpacks.  It started to get so that my hands really hurt every time that I touched anything.  As soon as we got to Antigua, I went and bought some Benadryl and hoped that the antihistamines would knock the problem right out.  It didn’t so we had to go to the doctor in Antigua.

In the morning I found my hands to be slightly worse and when I stood, I noticed that my feet hurt horribly.  What was worse, when I walked to the mirror I noticed that the rash had moved to my nose and I looked like a zit-faced teenager.  But, being stubborn, I refused to go to the doctor and just hoped that the medicine I was taking would start to work.  After all, I hadn’t been to see the doctor in about six years!  I probably bragged about it and didn’t knock wood!

By afternoon I was having trouble walking and my hands and face had grown worse.  We went to the pharmacy to get something stronger and the pharmacist suggested we go see the doctor.  So we walked a block to where he recommended we go, to the best English-speaking doctor in Antigua, Dr. Marco Bocaletti (Address: 3 Avenida Norte, No. 1 Appt. 3).  It was about 6pm on a Friday night, yet the doctor was surprisingly IN.  I waited about 15 minutes and then I was shown into his office.  He looked me over and agreed that my rash was probably from some kind of plant that I touched.  I was prescribed some stronger antihistamines and an antihistamine skin cream.  The doctor spent a lot of time with me and answered all of my questions.  He was way friendlier than my usual doctors in the USA!  The visit cost about $32, payed in cash to the doctor.

My jungle rash. Doesn’t look as bad as it was in photos.

The skin cream felt MAGICAL and by the next morning all the redness was gone.  However, I could tell that the rash had done a lot of damage.  My hand was pretty much senseless, with the most numbness at the finger tips.

After a few days almost all the dots have faded.  All of the callouses on my finger tips are falling off and there is a lot of dead skin in general.  My face is looking almost perfect, but my feet still have some sore spots.  At least once I peel off the dead skin I can feel again!  Note to self: don’t touch anything and just get home!

Eventually all of my fingernails and toenails fell off and grew back really weird.  It was quite the experience returning home looking like that after 8 months of healthy travel.  Mom was very pleased.  Good thing I visited the doctor in Antigua or who knows how bad it could have gotten.

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The Backpacker Trail Through Antigua, Guatemala

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

As you may recall from Zach’s last entry, he was feeling pretty sickish during our time in Parque Nacional El Imposible.  Unfortunately, the day after our epic hike, I woke up with the same bug, and he woke up with the beginnings of a mysterious rash on his hands and feet.  So we were definitely in fine form when we got onto the backpacker trail through Antigua, the beginning of our brief stint in Guatemala.

The afternoon we pulled in, I did nothing but lie in bed and feel miserable.  What a lame-o.  The next morning I pulled myself together enough to walk around a tiny bit and take some uninspired picture of the old city.

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua
I think the Spanish really liked the color yellow.

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua
The Cathedral

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua

Every time we went into a church we had to sit down inside to rest.  This picture characterizes how we were feeling:

Backpacker Trail Through Antigua
Blech.

Fortunately by the end of the day I was starting to feel much better.  Not so much for Zach.  His rash had spread to his face and was getting worse.  Stay tuned for his story of how we ended on the backpacker trail through Antigua…

If you enjoy this post about the backpacker trail through Antigua then 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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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!

If you liked this story about El Imposible National Park then heck out our archives for other adventures! And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and our subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

 

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