We weren’t really planning on going to El Salvador initially because it felt a bit sketchy for us considering all the gang wars. We were thinking of just passing through, staying for a night, getting through the borders and heading to Nicaragua. Although, after meeting so many people talk about El Tunco we were convinced we had to stay longer.
Since Mark was wanting to celebrate his birthday on the beach it was the perfect timing. We got to El Tunco Saturday afternoon and had the rest of the day to just chill. We went out to the beach on Sunday and walked around the area thinking of what we could do. Being budget travelers we decided to go to the wet market in La Libertad after eating some seafood at a local restaurant and realizing we could have a lot more shrimp if we cooked it ourselves. From the main road we got a chicken bus (15 minute ride) for a quarter of a dollar to get to the market. We ended up buying some stuff at the grocery store, a few vegetables from a street vendor and fresh eggs and cheeses from a dairy shop. We decided to go to the dock last to buy some fresh seafood. We were welcomed with a bunch of fresh ceviches, prawns, crabs, lobsters and an overflowing supply of fish and other sea creature there is. We ended up walking straight to the end of the dock where they prepare the salted fish (the smell was ridiculously salty and fishy) and then went back to finally get some prawns ($6/pound).
Monday came and so 24 hours in El Tunco starts… It was Mark’s 30th birthday. I asked him what he wanted to do and he said I just want it low-key, this day is just like any other day in our 365 travel dates it’ll be an amazing day. And so it was.. Adventure Monday. Mark started with a some surf lessons which he did pretty good at, he had no problem standing up and dealing with the waves. This could possibly be a new-found passion of his. He enjoyed it and had an amazing time learning from Taniki.
After grabbing lunch from Taco Guanaco (which is the best place to get fish tacos) we went out to on an hour hike to a series of small waterfalls and waterholes. We were able to cliff jump into refreshing waters and met a few locals who were doing crazy somersaults from the edge of the cliff to tree branches. Jumps ranged from 20-40 feet.
After jumping off a few cliffs, some of the locals offered Mark a drink since I mentioned it’s his 30th birthday ( I might have shouted it bit ;)) It was the local rum, he was happy! We hiked back up and had some cold refreshing drink at one of the tiendas. We were told that the car wouldn’t be able to pick us up so we had to take a chicken bus going back. We walked in the town and waited for the chicken bus but ended up hitching a ride at the back of a police car. Everyone was pumped, Mark was already thinking of a possible post on his Facebook wall but thought it through since our parents might freak out. He did it anyway ( it was his birthday, what could I do).
Across the street from the highway after being dropped off and a few minutes walk led to an amazing sunset. El Tunco was definitely worth visiting. It’s a very tiny little surf town with the most beautiful sunsets and equally beautiful people. The locals we’re very warm and friendly, anyone can easily get stuck in a place like this. Why wouldn’t you?