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  • Member Since:

    January 10, 2002

  • Real Name::

    Donald Tabbut

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  • Age:


  • Education:

    Associate Degree

  • Location:

    El Salvador

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"Assisting Travelers, Language Students and Volunteer Workers in
Latin America" Speaks: English, German, Spanish, reads and
understands several other languages, feel free to message in your
native tongue if your English composition not up to par... "Para
llevar a cabo todo ello necesitamos representantes y voluntarios
que puedan asesorar a los clients y explicarles todad nuestras
actividades y servicios. estoy abierto a eschuchar sus ideas y
opiniones ó expicarles cosas tal vez no hayan
entiendo, evite malentendidos, por supuesto, ó si
desean mayores aclaraciones en ciertos temas. Esperamos que con la
ayuda de Ustedes para el beneficio y el orgullo de todos los
involuncrados....." -------------- Message in English for
visitors/volunteers planning to travel to El Salvador or the rest
of Central America in the near future... I, the writer of this
tome, am a long term resident of El Salvador in Central America.
Prior to 1994 I resided in Guatemala and labored as
guide/interpreter serving visitors from many different cultures and
lands to discover the undiscovered..Central America. If any of you
are soon planning to travel to El Salvador or Central America and
have skills to share with and able to pass on to less advantaged
folks living marginalized in rural areas of the country, or even
just time to lend a helping hand, send us a message at least a few
weeks before your intended arrival. Also check out 8.9 million activist members worldwide. I am
an active activist as is possible, part time due to my age, but not
the type of person who wishes to sit behind a computer screen all
day and write on "fun walls" on facebook or chat with online
strangers in that strange to me IM "chat language" LOL? Get my
drift..? When I returned to reside in the region in the 1980s there
was no Internet, cell phones, nor even public faxes until 1989, so
I am pretty much still into the oral tradition, face to face,
shaking hands and looking people in the eyes. Visit El Salvador,
the rest of Central America and South America if you have the
budget, time and inclination, meet the people, see the sights,
listen to the sounds, inhale the smells and enjoy the enchantment
of the coastlines and countryside, from steaming jungles and rain
forests to the majestic snow capped Andes.... For more information
on volunteering long or short term in either Central or South
America without having to pay intermediaries large bi weekly or
monthly placement fees click onto the web portals: 'Volunteer South
America' http://www.volunteersouthameri and 'True Travellers
Society' My page on click on Simple URL: My G Rated (for general Audiences)
Biography! At any rate I am a long term Ex Pat Resident of the
Central American region and plan to make this an "information bloq"
not a travel bloq, I've been there and seen that and done that and
although I have some boring and tedious travel information to share
with you along with the usual safety tips, the real meat of this
bloq, along the way, down the line, shall be the additions of those
serious travelers and volunteers I will encounter in the coming
months..face to I and several associates are assisting on
an exciting eco tourism and native crafts project, seeing an entire
village whose population was decimated in the civil conflict that
raged on in El Salvador 1979-1992 rise now like a Phoenix to soon
welcome both National and Central american visitors and those from
every corner of the globe....It is not about "Me" or "I" at
all..its about "You". Saludos...looking forward to meeting you. Le
Esperamos. Dear readers, I am a long term resident here in El
Salvador, this bloq is not about "me" it is for "you"... The
Fishing Pier, Playa La Paz and Punta Roca (A Surfer's Paradise) on
the Pacific Coast of el Salvador, only 36 Km. away from teh bustle
of teh capital city of San Salvador! this is mainly general
travel advice and courtesy of the adventure travel site The Webmaster of teh
site, is a Surfer now residing in USA and veteran chronicler and
traveler to El Salvador, first arriving here well over 20 years ago
to ride the waves..our contact information is on the site if you
wish to get in touch with us before traveling to El Salvador,
Guatemala or the rest of this wonderful region! EL SALVADOR &
CENTRAL AMERICA Courtesy of: ***View more great
photos and content on feel free to contact
us via: .htm If wishing to book your
own lodgings in advance of your arrival (recommended during the
high travel seasons) I would suggest that you book at the small
hotels and hostels featured on our website or you may also utilize
the excellent Internet resource Alfa Travel Guide; click on: /english/sv/el-salvador.htm Contact
me well in advance of your departure and we are able to plan an
itinerary of a day or more for you and your party..â€Go
Where You Want to Go, When You Want to Go!†..Be
flexible and keep in mind it is not possible to see all the sights
in one, two or even three days! Also bear in mind that people in El
Salvador are curious, courteous and friendly, in my humble opinion,
people are far far more important than destinations! Something for
everybody... from Archeological Buffs to Surfers and Beach
Bums..travelling alone, in pairs or group, on any budget ranging
from: Backpacker to Billionaire .......! 360 Virtual Reality
Panorama of El Salvador www.elsalvador360. com/index. html
(English) {The writer,Donald Lee is a long term resident ex pat
from up north, USA, who makes his home in El Salvador &
Guatemala for many years during good times and bad.} More and
more...folks are beginning to discover the beauty, charm and
friendly people of El Salvador... Central America's Hidden Gem EL
SUPRISE DESTINATION....... The following suggestions are put
together for anyone traveling to El Salvador, whether it be to
visit friends or relatives, for business or just for a brief visit
How to Pack: El Salvador is hot and humid any time of the year.
Rainy season begins usually at the beginning of May and runs
through October, so plan accordingly. Bring light weight clothing,
but appropriate clothing. In some rural areas it is still
inappropriate for women to wear pants and especially shorts so be
sure to pack some skirts, sisters, just in case! You'll now view
more and more bikinis sported on El Salvadors public beaches as in
the resort areas of Costa Rica and Mexico. Things are slowly but
surely changing. Good shoes.... Please bring comfortable shoes.
Even if you hire a driver or tour operator to transport you or rent
a car in El Salvador some hiking and walking will be required to
explore off the beaten path, and it wont always be down paved
sidewalks, more often mountain trails, so bring some good, sturdy
and comfortable hiking shoes. Leave all your valuables you will not
need at home. No flashy jewelry, no fancy watches, nothing that
will make you stand out in the humble villages you are bound to
visit. Remember, the contents of your luggage could contain more
than a humble person may possess in a lifetime. Travelling around:
In the modern cities of San Salvador and San Miguel, Santa Ana and
Sonsonate the visitor shall encounter the modern style
"MetroCentro" malls boasting everything from supermarkets to tattoo
parlors where the young imitate dress and styles up north, chatting
endlessly on the cellular phones! ATM machines and Banks are
located in the modern shopping centers and accept most all
international credit and debit cards, paying out in USD, the
currency of legal tender in El Salvador since 2000. The shopping
malls have their own private guard services avoid using ATMs
located on the street or outside banks when alone, especially at
night. When travelling to to beach or countryside bring only as
much cash as you feel youll need for meals and small purchases,
some of the larger coastal restaurants and all of the larger guest
houses, B & B-s and beach and mountain resort hotels accept
credit and/or international debit cards. For large purchases in the
city, use credit card. Never flash a lot of cash, nor leave
valuables unattended in a parked vehicle unless locked securely in
the trunk out of sight. Never discuss your travel itinerary with
overly friendly strangers nor divulge in public where you are
lodging. ------- Getting There: There are several flights daily
into San Salvador from the Stateside Gateways of Los Angeles,
Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, New York, and Miami (as well as from
Montreal and Toronto and other Central and South American cities,
Flights direct from Europe into Cancun & Mexico City, Guatemala
and San Jose, Costa Rica)). Shop around and start early and you may
actually find a good deal. American Airlines is the best and will
give you a good rate if you mention TropicoolTours.
American and Canadian Citizens no longer need to purchase a $10.00
tourist card when they arrive in El Salvador. Stay given is 90
days, and that includes immigration for 3 other nations of the CA-4
(Central American 4 countries): Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua,
after that the visitor must exit to either Belize, Mexico or Costa
Rica and return after 72 hours for another 90 days, if planning to
work or volunteer check with your employer or non profit
organization regarding assistance with obtaining a 1 year work
permit or volunteer visa. Volunteers join us on True Travellers
Society Portal a non profit organization
dedicated to connect volunteers with low cost worthy projects.
Then, check out Volunteer South America same mission and vision as TTS, lots
of Central American volunteer ops on both sites. The airport
departure tax leaving El Salvador is generally $27.00-$34.00USD
cash, check with your airline. (if not included in the price of
your ticket). Remember that El Salvador's Comalapa International
Airport is located near the coast, actually 45 kms. or 28 miles due
south from the capital city of San Salvador (about a 45 minute
drive to the capital). So, those planning beach, coastal, surfing
and watersports vacations in El Salvador will be delighted to hear
that resorts hotels and surf camps on the Pacific Coast are all
accessible, often less than a 30/40 minute drive, from the airport
by the Carretera Litoral..Coastal Highway CA2, no need to drive
into or through the congested capital city of San Salvador AT ALL.
*International Buses When travelling by first class or luxury bus
services to and from either Guatemala, Honduras or Nicaragua/Costa
Rica/Panama (King Quality Lines, Pulmantur, TransNica and Tica
Buses), except for Tica Buses downtown Centro San Salvador
terminal, the international bus terminals are located at San
Salvadors modern and secure Puerto Bus terminal, or terminals,
including Tica Bus, in the upscale Colonia San Benito, located near
many of the 3, 4 and 5 star luxury hotels. Tica Bus Information on
line, click on: *Where to Stay in San
Salvador to suit any travelers budget: There are several unique
places to stay in and around San Salvador. Business and Upscale
Travel: If you are a business person looking for first class hotels
with world business class service try the Hotel Princess, El
Presidente, Raddisson, or Holiday Inn located in the upscale San
Benito, Escalón and Santa Elena neighborhoods of Metro
San Salvador. Also some excellent 3 star hotels such as the
Hotel-Casino Siesta offering discounts with advance reservations..
if you wish, contact me well in advance of your arrival, I am able
to assist you to contact some excellent 2, 3 and 4/5 star lodging
places in El Salvador. Reserve ahead and save a bundle off the rack
rate! The majority of the upscale 3 Star B & B's and Guest
Houses and the 4/5 Star hotels are located in or near the Zona Rosa
and Colonia Escalon, upscale areas with expensive boutiques and
restaurants.. It is quiet and very safe in the surrounding areas by
day. The Holiday Inn is the newest large hotel in San Salvador. It
is in the neighborhood of Santa Elena, just 3 blocks away from the
U.S. Embassy. It is at the edge of town and will allow you to leave
San Salvador for the western part of the country without having to
fight the traffic of the capital city. Prices in these hotels range
from $65-$100+ per night rack rate depending on how many occupants
you will be traveling with. Book ahead. Budget and Independent
Travel: No doubt, if you are an independent traveler on a tight
budget, you are looking for something nice but less ritzy, try one
of the many unique lodging places, bed and breakfasts and guest
houses in and around San Salvador. They have private rooms and
bathrooms, but are not as large as the hotels, generally with less
than 15 rooms. Prices, double occupancy for the bed and
breakfasts/guest houses range from $20-$75 maximum per night double
or triple occupancy. *Cheaper accomodations can be easily found at
some of the smaller hotels closer into town, go East young man, in
and around the National University area, which boasts a thriving
Bohemian style night life. Most of these small hotels and guest
houses offer excellent basic services for travellers, especially
those who wish to mix and socialize with natives and other
travellers and of course, do not mind taking a cold shower in the
early morning! Prices range from $6.00 per person in dorm rooms to
$20.00-$25.00 double in some small guest houses offering breakfast,
cable tv and hot water! Check the ads for budget to luxury
lodgings, surfing camps and things to do in the country on line in
pdf format on The El Salvador section of the Guatemala Revue
Magazine click on to: Anyone desiring to
stay on in El Salvador for a time and either work or volunteer in a
humanitarian aid or non profit project contact us via True
Travellers Society, a non profit organization dedicated to
connecting volunteers to low cost worthy projects without paying
'placement fees' to a middleman. Click on: before your departure As well, click
on: http://www.volunteersouthameri same vision and mission
as True Travellers Society. Home stay or long term furnished room
or small apartment rentals from $80 month upwards. Home stay with
native families in Indingenous Studies (Nahuat) and Spanish
Language programs is also recommended and arrangements may be made
with the school or your private instructor, weekly or monthly basis
Getting Around: Transport - Public Transportation The buses in El
Salvador are a thrill for those who have never experienced the
guanaco mode of transport. If you enjoy a thrill, feel free to use
the public bus system on your free time to get around. It can be
slow at times, but it is extremely cheap. Even if you choose not to
use the public transportation, you should take one bus ride just
for the experience. There is nothing quite like it... believe it!
Many of the organized tours for travelers conducted by first class
tour operators are in insured vehicles with driver for your comfort
and safety..Many small and medium sized operators drive be sure and ask before going on a cheap tour!
Authorized Taxis (yellow) within the city of San Salvador are
reliable. Do not walk alone nor take public transport after 8PM
within San Salvador unless you are familiar with the area and
route. Simply flag a taxi down on the street if you require to and
determine the price to your destination before you get in the cab.
There are also dispatch services that you can call from your
lodging place and have pick you up. Most dispatch drivers have
their own cell phones and you are able to contact them later for
pick up. Try to avoid the taxistas at the luxury hotels, unless you
are able to negociate in Spanish, or if not, try and have a local
negociate price for you in advance if possible. For visitors in San
Salvador there are safe and sound city nightlife trips if desired:
casas de arte, gallery showings, theatres, bars and restaurants
with either a Salvadorian or international flavor. In the
countryside (small towns) throughout rural El Salvador there exists
little night life but the life, with El Salvadorian native guides
or friends introducing you to the culture, cuisine and customs.
Check out the Web Portal "The Other El Salvador"
http://www.theotherelsalvador. com/ in English and Spanish for
information, links, suggestions and more! *Rental Cars: If taking
certain specialized archaeological and ecological trips it may be
necessary for your group to rent a 4WD vehicle, advise hiringone of
several qualified native guides is able to conduct you if desired.
Remember that rental car companies in Central America offer you two
insurance options: 1. Basic: with a $1,000 to $1,200 deductible on
your Credit Card at approx. $17 per day up insurance charges or 2.
Full insurance, including all collision damages, fire and theft at
approx. $60 per day insurance charges for a 4WD, if venturing to
remote areas with rough terrain then choose full insurance, a
friend recently did so in Nicaragua and saved $1,200! Again,
economic car, approx. $40-$55 for a four door sedan, $75-$100 for a
large pickup or SUV. All these prices include insurance and 13%
sales tax (IVA). Always leave your rental car in guarded parking
areas with security overninght, never parked on the street, even if
locals tell you it is ok! What to see and do: There are a few
things you should not miss while you are in El Salvador. Here are a
few activities that you could do Either on your own or with a
guide. For those independent travelers wishing to take public
transport to all of their destinations while visiting El Salvador,
be advised to leave the bulk of your luggage, passport and
valuables at hotel or friends home. If going far leave early in the
morning, most buses are running by 5AM. Buses are generally
crowded, especially after 3PM and on weekends, there is excellent
service on main bus routes such as San Salvador to Santa Ana (Ruta
201), San Salvador to San Miguel (Ruta 301) and San Salvador to
Puerto Libertad (Ruta 102), however to more remote areas and
smaller towns bus service can be sparse, in areas where there
exists little or no public transport, you may need to hitchhike a
ride on a pick up truck, giving driver a tip at arrival. Many of
these pick ups often act as public transport for locals anyway.
Cerro Verde and Lake Coatepeque: These two destinations are
beautiful, close to each other and not to be missed. Cerro Verde
National Park: a lush verdant park on a summit soaring above the
lake with the famous view of Izalcos Volcano and its still smoking
cone. The lodge, where you may stay overnight, with volcano or lake
view rooms, is run by the national tourist commission, reservations
required for nationals. Visitors, Obtain your permits to enter the
park by showing your passport at the gate. Nearby volcanic
Coatepeque Lake is a very scenic day trip, including boat trips
with local fishermen to the small lake island "Teopan" a nature
preserve with private residences, that is a holiday and weekend
retreat for well to do Salvadorians from the capital city. Most of
the island is a nature preserve and hiking on the trails is
allowed, thousands of Monarch Butterflies in mating season and a
bird sanctuary. Lake Coatepeque is a volcanic crater lake and there
are two resort hotels and several restaurants offering unique lake
cuisine along the shore road, narrow and bumpy. Montecristo Cloud
Forest: This is one of the most beautiful hikes in all of Central
America from the summit, which is reached by 4WD, coaster or
minibus (standard vehicle not recommended) by winding dirt road
23Km. above the town of Metapan, located 35 Km. north of Santa Ana,
near the Guatemalan frontier, a 1.5 hour drive from San Salvador.
One of the few remaining cloud forests in Central America,
Montecristo winds to the top where Guatemala, Honduras, and El
Salvador are all visible from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Orchid
Gardens near to the Camping grounds.tour operators provide camping
and equipment on all organized tours for those able to hike &
climb, others may opt for nearby country hotels to spend the night.
..The park is administered by an NGO from the European Union. *Life
is a Beach! Ocean Highway - Calle Litoral from La Libertad to
Acajutla This coastal highway runs along the ocean front for
seventy or eighty kilometers. It is a beautiful drive that winds
along the hills and through a set of five tunnels. Take time to
snap some photos and have lunch in La Libertad or Sonsonate. If you
are eating in La Libertad try La Curva one of the nicer oceanside
restaurants with a great view and wonderful food. Acajutla is a
thriving port city and the nearby Los Cobanos Beach offers the
adventure traveller deep sea fishing and diving excursions. For
more detailed information on El Salvador's coastal desinations,
unique lodging places and resorts contact the writer. At present,
exists the Decameron all inclusive resort, in Salinitas, located in
Western El Salvador near Los Cobanos Beach, where local dive
operators offers the visitor lake and sea PADI diving lessons,
moderate lodgings and deep sea fishing charters arranged in season,
no surfing here. there exist several new beach hotels and resorts
very close to to the International Airport under operation and
several more new unique lodging places including Surfing lodges
along the coast, and El Salvador's famed Costa del Sol, with calmer
currents and white sandy beaches. Tourism in the colonial and
crafts villages and in the rural countryside is increasing Ruta de
Las Flores - Carreterra from Sonsonate to Ahuachapan Stop off in
Nahuizalco and buy a few wicker souvenirs. The
nahuizalqueños set up their shops right along the
highway, but if you have time, go into the small town and visit
some of the shops. The handicrafts are worth a few minutes of your
time as is the market. Drive through Salcoatitan and take the
detour into Juayua. If you are driving through on a weekend, they
often have a market with traditional dishes set up around the
central plaza. These are generally very clean and safe to eat.
After Juayua visit Apaneca where you can have a bite to eat at the
Cabañas de Apaneca and take in the view of the
coffee fields and surrounding mountains. Continue to escape the
heat by passing through Ataco on your way down to Ahuachapan.
Chorros de Juayua: The Chorros de Juayua are a set of waterfalls
outside of the town of Juayua. The hike down is not difficult, but
the path is not easy to traverse. It is definitely worth it,
though. The secenery around the waterfalls is beautiful and the
hike down is also very scenic. **If a single or a couple alone..Ask
the local police in Juayua if they would be willing to provide an
escort as local thieves occassionally hide out along the trail. If
you do encounter a thief, however, simply give him some money and
be on your way. They are usually local teens that do not intend to
harm anyone, but are looking for an easy buck. If you are the type
who would rather be safe than sorry. The El Salvadorian National
Tourist Police are also able, on advance notice only through a
registered local tour operator, to escort small groups on day
tours, including eco tours, anywhere within El Salvador if you give
them about two weeks notice, there is no charge, however tipping is
expected. Police and locals are very helpful to tourists, and if
driving a rental car and are stopped at a National Police transit
checkpoint, show your license and car papers and you'll be on your
way, never drink and drive as at home and avoid driving outside
cities and towns at night. Mayan Ruins: San Andres and Joyas de
Cerén San Andres and Joyas de Cerén are
two Mayan ruin sites. San Andres has a new museum that is excellent
and offers free tours before examining the pyramids. At San
Andrés, ancient Mayan peoples had erected an acropolis
consisting of a stair-stepped temple and other structures. The
latest excavations have found more remnants of the Mayan
civilization as archeologists tunnel into the site. If you have
seen the majestic temple ruins in Copan, Mexico or Guatemala, don't
expect much in "size" from these ruins, but more in "quality" In El
Salvador are native guides who are experts in every aspect of the
Maya-Pipil culture.. *(El Salvador's Mayan World). Joya de
Cerén is the only "non royal" Mayan site existing in
MesoAmerica, an ordinary village buried under volcanic ash some
1400 years ago after an eruption of the nearby volcano, Joya de
Cerén is referred to as the "Pompeii of the Americas".
It is a very interesting site for academics and a "must see" for
visitors who wish to understand fully El Salvadors pre-Hispanic
culture! with some displays explaining what has been unearthed, but
is not completely finished yet. Well worth the effort is a visit to
Cihuatan, a ruins north of San Salvador, still under excavation,
called "The City of Women".. Santa Ana: Cathedral and Theater in
the Central Plaza of Santa Ana The catedral in Santa Ana is famous
throughout El Salvador for its classic gothic design. Be prepared
for the pigeons and local photographers trying to snap your photo
and sell you a picture. The theater on the other side of the park
is a rare work of art in El Salvador. They are attempting to
restore it, and it seems very "out of place" for Santa Ana with its
classic design and architecture. There is a nominal fee (less than
50¢) to get in, but it is an interesting stop if you
are in Santa Ana. Suchitoto: Narrow Cobbled Stone Streets and Adobe
Houses... Time definitely seems to have stopped in the city of
Suchitoto, one of the countrys most visited cities in the Northern
part of the country. Suchitoto is located in the department of
Cuscatlán and is situated 47 kilometers from the
capital city of San Salvador. This equates to about a one hour
drive. Suchitoto, which in the native Nahuatl tongue means "City of
the Flower Bird", literally became a ghost town in the period of
the country's civil war, which lasted from 1980 - 1992. The
constant cascade of bombs and battles near the extinct volcano of
Guazapa forced most of its inhabitants to abandon the city. Yet it
was this migration that helped the city to preserve its unique
architecture. While visiting Suchitoto, you shall experience that
magic calm of the old days, with narrow cobbled stone streets and
adobe houses with balconies. Read more: /englis... For more detailed
information on enjoying, lodging or touring Suchitoto view: & http://www.theotherelsalvador. com/ in
English & Spanish, the Webmaster is a Salvadorian-American
residing in Suchitoto. Any contributions such as travel information
or bloqs for the site to promote Suchitoto and El Salvador are
welcome in either English or Spanish. *Guatemala, just over the
border: In the travel destination of Antigua you will be able to
find a variety of native guides, hotels and lodging places, tour
operators and transportation companies to escort you anywhere in
Guatemala, only 4.5 hours by vehicle or first class bus from San
Salvador, El Salvador view Antigua, where many
travellers choose to base, is located only 45 minutes southwest of
the capital, Guatemala City (42 Km.) by paved divided highway. For
budget travellers buses to Antigua leave Zona (Zone)3 in Guatemala
city every 10-15 minutes during the day. Shuttles to Antigua leave
the Airport daytime hours. Taxi Guatemala City to Antigua is
expensive $40-$50USD equivilant, depending time of day. If arriving
late in teh evening plan to stay overnight in one of the many Guest
Houses and B & B s in Zone 13 near the Guatemala City
Airport............... SuggestedNo No's: Do not plan JUST for a
EXPERIENCE! Do not bring expensive gifts to give out to beggars or
street children... This sets up false expectations for other
families and travelers when they come to visit in the area. Many of
the people you visit will be extremely poor, but the best thing to
do is not to give them money, ESPECIALLY STREET CHILDREN, if you
wish to donate, arrange to do so quietly with your native guide.
village leader, aid worker or priest. Please do not offer anyone
promises of visas or work in the United States, etc... Always
respect local culture and customs, never become argumentative nor
critical and always have your native guide smooth out any disputes
that arise.. Do everything possible to make all your own
arrangements leaving from the United States, Canada, etc. and not
burden others with those little minute travel details that you
should be able to handle on your own. Invaluable to bring along
with you are the best up to date PRINT Guidebooks, check search
engines for Central America specific guidebooks. For a virtual tour
of El Salvador: English or Spanish Some
Top El Salvador Attractions: Joya de Ceren Archaeological Site San
Andres Archaeological Site Devils Door (Puerta del Diablo) Arbol de
Dios Gallery and Shop , San Salvador Parque de San Martin Suchitoto
Iglesia Santa Lucia Suchitoto For more information on the charming
colonial restored town of Suchitoto view:
http://www.theotherelsalvador. com/ plus: Catedral Metropolitana ,
San Salvador Lake Coatepeque El Sunzal Surfing Beach Montecristo
Cloud Forest El Imposible Nature Reserve More much, much
more..ignore all the bad press and discover the undiscovered El
Salvador! La Libertad Port..Puerto de La Libertad tourist complex
is now receiving a major facelift, In and around the Malecon and
The Fishing Pier Security... keep a low profile and use Common
Sense in El Salvador. in fact anywhere you travel in Latin
America.........especially the large cities and especially if you
do not speak Spanish! Related articles: Source:
publishing. com/cnn/2007/ 07/01/bullet- the-blue- sky/ "The Tourism
Potential of El Salvador " El Salvador's potential as a tourist
destination was recently highlighted favorably in an article in CNN
Traveler: El Salvador's natural environment could, however, prove
to be its ultimate economic saviour. And with good reason - its
picturepostcard landscapes and valleys contain 25 soaring
volcanoes, 321km of largely undeveloped coast line including some
of the regions best surfing beaches, Mayan ruins, inland lakes,
colonial towns and colourful indigenous artesanía
handicrafts. To garner tourism investment, the Arena government of
president Antonio Saca presented its National Tourism Plan in 2006,
aiming to attract two million visitors per year by 2014. A new
Ministry of Tourism was created and corporate support sought;
Credomatic and American Express are both contributing to the
tourism strategy. In April, tourism minister Ruben Rochi visited
Qatar and Dubai in search of funding, and secured a deal to air a
promotional tourism video on Al Jazeera. TV advertising campaigns
are also planned for both CNN and ESPN, and the government is
currently lobbying to have the Jiquilisco Bay - which counts 514
animal species, including 87 types of birds - registered as a
Unesco Biosphere Reserve El Salvadors dawning era of tourism will
partly focus on the cluster of hitherto undeveloped beaches near
Puerto La Libertad, an hour's drive from San Salvador. A new
sea-front tourism park is being constructed in the small port town.
A few kilometres west, electric saws and jackhammers fill the air
at El Sunzal beach, a world-class surfing location that attracts
wave riders from all over the world. Those who are not at El Sunzal
to challenge the surf are, it seems, building hotels. The new Roca
Sunzal rents its comfortable rooms for $50. Among its many
neighbours are the smart Roots surf camp and the once-solitary El
Tubo Surfers Inn. When I was here seven years ago, the sea-front La
Bocana café was the only place to eat. Today, a mini
neighbourhood of restaurants, bars and surf shops has emerged,
along with a cyber café and a Tourism Police office.
Gazing at the palm-fringed, volcanic black sand beach, frothing
white surf and clear blue sky, there is a real sense of potential.
"After years of civil war, natural disasters and political unrest,
El Salvador is proving there is more to the country than coffee.
Gary Bowerman reports The view of the picturesque Ruta de la Paz
(Peace Route) is somewhat obscured. Winding up into the lushly
forested highlands of northeast El Salvador from the town of San
Francisco Gotera, I am one of 26 people crammed into the back of a
pick-up truck, covered by a blue tarpaulin. As the breathless
vehicle heaves itself forward, a young girl in a stained tangerine
dress offers an unripe mango. Two Stetson-wearing elderly men
carrying tasselled leather sheaths encasing knives the length of
baseball bats discuss decapitating an angry snake in neighbouring
Honduras. Wedged in the centre of the truck, catching glimpses of
mountain-side coffee plantations and breathe in the drifting
fragrance of pine trees. During one stop along the way, the colours
of El Salvador's two main political parties loom into view - red,
white and blue for the ruling right-wing Arena (National Republican
Alliance) party and red and white for the left-wing FMLN (Farabundo
Martí National Liberation Front, named after Agustin
Farabundo Martí, leader of El Salvador's 1932 popular
uprising, for which he was executed by the military government).
This is a heavily sloganised nation, with political messages
decorating virtually every telegraph pole and street light, as well
as houses, trees and bridges. The Peace Route was named following
El Salvador's brutal 12-year civil war, which ended in 1992. The
history of conflict in this tiny country nicknamed El Pulgarcito
(the Little Thumb) can be traced back to the arrival of Spanish
conquistadores in 1524. The fertile volcanic soil and shaded
hillsides were once home to the Pipil Indians, but would later
prove profitable for a coterie of land owners, known as the '14
Families,' who cashed in on global demand for the local crop:
coffee. As the nation's agricultural wealth became concentrated in
the hands of a repressive few, unrest was inevitable Decades of
20th-century disorder culminated in a polarising wave of
revolutionary turmoil and military violence during the 1970s. The
assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero - during a mass at a
hospital in the capital San Salvador in March 1980 - was the final
catalyst. His liberation theology movement represented El
Salvador's voiceless peasant majority. The nation quickly descended
into bloody civil war, with right-wing death squads terrorising
rural communities and both the army and the guerrillas accused of
massacres, torture and violence. The undulating valleys and
coffee-growing hills of the Morazán department
experienced some of the fiercest conflict between the (The
Salvadoran army and the revolutionary left-wing FMLN guerrillas.)
After the signing of peace accords in January 1992,
Morazán symbolised the struggle to establish peace,
democracy and security in a shattered nation shorn of at least
70,000 lives. Today, the heartbeat of Morazán's Peace
Route is Perquin. A laid-back mountain town of around 800 people,
it was the FMLN's stronghold and base for its broadcasting station,
Radio Venceremos. Tourists now visit the Museum of the Revolution
here. Founded in a small adobe house in 1991, it traces the roots
of a war that still defines El Salvador - domestically and
globally. Oliver Stone's 1986 movie Salvador and, more recently,
Luis Mandoki's Voces Inocentes brought a nation's suffering to the
big screen, while U2's 1987 song 'Bullet the Blue Sky' set it to
music Covering every wall of the museum, black-and-white
photographs tell stories about life in the guerrilla camps. Glass
cabinets display blood-stained uniforms, rifles, field radios,
helmets and bullets. A separate room exhibits propaganda posters
from pro-revolutionary support groups in Germany, Ireland and
Canada. One depicts a conical volcano erupting like a champagne
bottle, watched by celebrating FMLN solders. Outside, a crater
gouged by a 500lb bomb is surrounded by a display of government and
rebel anti-aircraft guns and mortar launchers imported from the
States, Russia, China and Israel. The charred remains of fighter
planes grounded by rebel gunners sit shaded under a tree canopy.
After leaving the museum, I follow the aroma of roasting coffee
beans to the Casa de la Abuela café, where am served
by the genial abuela (grandmother) herself, Alba Gladis Villalobos.
Born in El Salvador's third-largest city, San Miguel, she became a
spokesperson for the Committee of Mothers of Political Prisoners,
Disappeared and Assassinated (Comadre) after one of her three
children was killed during the war. In 1990, the family fled to
England, where she gave speeches about the war situation in her
home nation while her offspring studied at London universities.
Villalobos returned to Perquin in 1993. 'There is a terrible
history of conflict in this part of the country,' she says. 'I
know, I lost a son. But it is peaceful now, and we don't have the
same problems with guns and gang violence like in the cities.'
Nature has also conspired against El Salvador. The war was followed
by a devastating series of hurricanes and floods during the late
1990s and two strong earthquakes that took place in December 1999
and January 2000. The effects of man-made violence and natural
disaster mean that around two million Salvadorans now live in the
States. The exodus continues; the University of Central America
estimates that around 450 Salvadorans emigrate, legally or
otherwise, each day. Locals joke that El Salvador produces two
exports: coffee and immigrants. El Salvador's natural environment
could, however, prove to be its ultimate economic savior. And with
good reason - its picture postcard landscapes and valleys contain
25 soaring volcanoes, 321km of largely undeveloped coast line
including some of the region's best surfing beaches, Mayan ruins,
inland lakes, colonial towns and colourful indigenous
artesanía handicrafts. " Le esperamos. El Salvador is a
grand little country offering a lot to the visitor who may have
little time to vacation..... El Salvador, an experience for the
"Budget Traveler with Champagne Taste"

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