A Travellerspoint blog

Copán Ruinas

A butterfly garden, a Christmas movie and the Copán ruins

semi-overcast 25 °C
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For Wednesday, 14th December, we had booked a shuttle service to get from San Salvador to Copán Ruinas in Honduras. The shuttle was of course more expensive than getting local buses, but it was more convenient and safer and we also wanted to get to Copán as quickly as possible so that we could still see something there in the afternoon. The speed was our main reason to pay the extra amount for the shuttle, so it is understandable that we were not happy when it arrived 1 hour later than planned. We got even further delayed and arrived in Copán 1 1/2 hours late.

This just gave us time to do a quick activity in the afternoon. We decided to go to the butterfly garden. This was not such a good idea in the end. Although the butterflies we saw were very pretty, we did not see many of them and there were only a few different types.
Copán Butterfly Garden

Copán Butterfly Garden


Copán Butterfly Garden

Copán Butterfly Garden

There was not much happening in the town, so that night we decided to prepare ourselves a bit for Christmas by watching a Christmas movie in our room. We chose the Muppets Christmas Carol. It made us feel much more like Christmas was getting closer, especially since it was relatively cold at night in Copán too. After the movie we even listened to some Christmas songs while we were in the mood :)

The next day we went to visit the important Maya ruins of Copán. We got a guided tour together with an English couple. The ruins are really impressive and interesting! It was a great tour and we all especially liked the ball court.
Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins

Copán ruins


Copán ruins - the ball court

Copán ruins - the ball court


Copán ruins

Copán ruins

I also visited the museum afterwards which shows some more of the artefacts found at the site. Some were originals brought there in order to protect them, some were replicas of things found at nearby related sites or in temples underground, found below the currently visible buildings.
Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya


Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya


Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya


Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya


Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya


Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya


Museo de Escultura Maya

Museo de Escultura Maya

That night some of our hostel friends from León arrived in Copán, so we went out for a few drinks with them, first to a microbrewery owned by a German, which served really good Christmas beer, and then to a very quiet bar where there were only local men except for us.
Drinks at the German brewery

Drinks at the German brewery

Posted by sarahm_lux 22:48 Archived in Honduras Tagged copan Comments (2)

3 volcanoes and 1 beach

First hiking, then relaxing

sunny 28 °C
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On Monday, we went to the Parque Nacional Los Volcanes, which comprises 3 volcanoes. After a short walk around the crater of Cerro Verde, we decided to climb up the Santa Ana volcano, which is easier to climb than Izalco we were told. But it also has the nicest views and in the crater there is a beautiful lagoon. The climb up the volcano was not too hard and beautiful. And I had never seen a lagoon that was this green!
Izalco volcano

Izalco volcano


View of Lake Coatepeque

View of Lake Coatepeque


Santa Ana volcano

Santa Ana volcano


Santa Ana volcano

Santa Ana volcano

Unfortunately, when we got to the road to get the bus back, we realised our guide or guard (a policeman with a big gun has to climb the volcano with you for safety reasons. What exactly we should be afraid of they could or would not really explain though...) did not know the bus times at all. So we ended up waiting for over 2 hours for the next bus.

On our last day in El Salvador, we decided to relax a bit and took a bus to the El Tunco beach. It is more of a surfing beach than one to lie on and sunbathe, but it was big and nice enough to do this too.
El Tunco beach

El Tunco beach


El Tunco beach

El Tunco beach

When the high tide finally swallowed the beach, we headed back to San Salvador to eat our last, and best, El Salvadorian pupusas and then spend the night at the hostel.

Posted by sarahm_lux 21:50 Archived in El Salvador Tagged volcán_santa_ana cerro_verde volcán_izalco el_tunco Comments (0)

Ruta de las Flores

A weekend trip full of buses, small towns and traditional food

sunny 28 °C
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Still together with my English friend, I travelled through some of the towns and villages on the El Salvadorian Ruta de las Flores last weekend. We left our big bags in San Salvador and only took what we needed for the weekend to make travelling around on the packed local buses easier.

First, we took a bus to Izalco, a small colonial town with an interesting market. The town has 2 squares, both of course with a church and a lot of stalls selling food. After we had explored the town, we spent a bit of time on the second square, drinking a beer and watching people before getting the bus to our next destination.
Market lady in Izalco posing for my photo

Market lady in Izalco posing for my photo


Cow's head on Izalco market

Cow's head on Izalco market


Piñatas on Izalco market

Piñatas on Izalco market


Barbie dolls for sale in Izalco

Barbie dolls for sale in Izalco


And it did not fall over... at least not while we could still see it

And it did not fall over... at least not while we could still see it

At the bus station in Sonsonate where we had to change buses, we tried the torta mexicana we had seen advertised all around. We were a bit disappointed though because it was a toasted sandwich (like a panini) with meat, ham, ketchup and mayonnaise. We did not quite understand what this has to do with a 'torta' or Mexico.

A couple of hours later, we arrived in Juayúa. This is the main tourist destination in the area, so that we stayed in a full hostel, which we were not used to anymore. Juayúa has a food festival on every weekend. So we went and tried a local dish, costilla (a T-bone steak) with of course plantain, rice, beans, salad and tortillas. It was very good and sharing one portion between both of us was more than enough.
Costilla dish

Costilla dish


Animals being sold on the street in Juayúa

Animals being sold on the street in Juayúa


Mototaxi

Mototaxi

Saturday night, we organised transportation through our hostel to Nahuizalco, a town nearby where there is has a night market every night. The indigenous Pipil people sell all kinds of food and other goods here. We tried some rabbit tacos and pudding in a plastic bag. Unfortunately, the rabbit tacos did not taste of rabbit at all. There was more salad in them than meat. They were still good, but nothing special without the rabbit taste. The still hot vanilla pudding with a bit of cinnamon that we had to squeeze out of a small hole we bit into the plastic bag it was sold in was surprisingly good.
Even better than the night market was the main square just next to the market street though. There was a huge colourfully decorated Christmas tree on the square and all the normal trees were wrapped in Christmas lights.
Rabbit tacos

Rabbit tacos


Christmas tree in Nahuizalco

Christmas tree in Nahuizalco


Chritmas light on the Nahuizalco main square

Chritmas light on the Nahuizalco main square

On Sunday morning, we had a typical breakfast (eggs, sausage, chorizo, beans, tomatoes, plantain and bread) on the square, and then left Juayúa and travelled to the nearby Santa Leticia Hotel from where we got on a tour to the archaeological site. The site consists of two statues made by the Mayas about 2500 years ago on top of a hill. The statues represent deities in the form of a man and a woman, both short and round. A smaller child figure has also been found, but this is locked into the owners house at the moment. the plan is to bring this up onto the hill as well after some restoration work.
Typical El Salvadorian breakfast

Typical El Salvadorian breakfast


Santa Leticia archaeological site

Santa Leticia archaeological site


Santa Leticia archaeological site

Santa Leticia archaeological site

After this short guided tour, we went on to Ataco. Another colonial town, a lot bigger than the ones we had previously visited in El Salvador, and also very nice. We went to a café were I finally tried an El Salvadorian horchata, a drink made out of rice milk (quite different form the Spanish version made of almonds), which was really good. In this town they as well had a food festival on. Stalls on the square were selling all kinds of local foods. we decided to try something very exotic here, lizard. The meat tastes very different from other meats, chicken or fish. It is not great, a bit rubbery, but interesting to try once. I also ate a piece of bread in the shape of a crab (they had it in the shape of lizards too). It tasted just like normal bread, but it was just a funny idea. As I had already mentioned in the last post, they like their ferris wheels in El Salvador. In Ataco however, they exaggerated this a little bit. There were 5 ferris wheels in 2 streets! 3 small ones for children and 2 big ones. They were all empty except for 1, which had 3 children riding on them at some point. How do they finance these we wondered...
Ataco

Ataco


Weavery

Weavery


Ataco wall painting

Ataco wall painting


How many people can you fit on the back of a pick-up truck?

How many people can you fit on the back of a pick-up truck?


Clothes sold from a car

Clothes sold from a car


Ferris wheel in Ataco

Ferris wheel in Ataco


Lizard

Lizard


Me eating lizard

Me eating lizard

At the end of this busy weekend during which we took a lot of local buses, saw a few small but pretty colonial town and tried some interesting and weird foods, we took 2 more buses and arrived back in San Salvador that night.

Posted by sarahm_lux 18:24 Archived in El Salvador Tagged izalco ruta_de_las_flores nahuizalco juayúa santa_leticia ataco Comments (0)

San Salvador, Joya de Cerén and Suchitoto

Welcome to El Salvador

sunny 30 °C
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After we left the country of rocking chairs (there are sooo many rocking chairs in Nicaragua!) and spent a whole day on the bus, we got to San Salvador on Wednesday night. The next morning, we ate a good big El Salvadorian breakfast (sausage, beans, fried plantain, avocado and tortillas) and then decided to have a look at the historic centre, where we saw the cathedral, the Palacio Nacional and the Teatro Nacional. The city is really busy with a lot of street stalls, a lot of people rushing around and a lot of traffic.
San Salvador Cathedral

San Salvador Cathedral

After this, we took a bus up onto a hill next to San Salvador, where you can find the Puerta del Diablo, a formation of 2 big rocks in between and on top of which you have nice views of the surrounding area, some volcanoes and Lake Ilopango.
At Puerta del Diablo

At Puerta del Diablo


At Puerta del Diablo

At Puerta del Diablo

Later we visited the Museo de la Palabra y la Imagen. It is a small museum about some writers, poets and photographers. We were done there pretty quickly and decided to spend the rest of the afternoon in the huge shopping centre Metrocentro near our hostel. We looked around the shops, admired the many different Christmas trees we saw here and ate some cheap good Chinese food.
Christmas tree in Metrocentro

Christmas tree in Metrocentro

The next morning, we went to see the ruins of Joya de Cerén. This is the only site where ordinary houses and buildings of the Maya have been found so far. The guided tour was very interesting and this visit was probably a good start before visiting more Maya sites in other countries soon.
Joya de Cerén

Joya de Cerén


Joya de Cerén

Joya de Cerén


Joya de Cerén

Joya de Cerén


Joya de Cerén

Joya de Cerén

We got back from the ruins quite early and decided to go to the town of Suchitoto, in northern El Salvador. There we spent some time on the main square watching what was going on around us, tried some fried yuca and empanadas and walked around the nice colonial centre. On the main square we of course saw a ferris wheel but strangely no Christmas tree, 2 things that we found all over the country.
Suchitoto

Suchitoto


Suchitoto

Suchitoto


Suchitoto

Suchitoto


Suchitoto

Suchitoto


Ferris wheel in Suchitoto

Ferris wheel in Suchitoto

When we came back at night, we went to a local restaurant to try the El salvadorian speciality, pupusas, a kind of tortillas filled with different things, such as cheese, chicken, pork, herbs, beans etc. They were very good and cheap!
Pupusas

Pupusas

Posted by sarahm_lux 22:12 Archived in El Salvador Tagged suchitoto san_salvador puerta_del_diablo joya_de_cerén Comments (0)

León

Markets stalls all around

sunny 30 °C
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León is another colonial city in Nicaragua. To be honest I did not do much in León. I walked around town a few times, visited the cathedral and for the rest was hanging out in the hostel and making further travel plans.
People on the roof of a bus - a normal sight in Latin America

People on the roof of a bus - a normal sight in Latin America


The León Cathedral

The León Cathedral

I did not find the city quite as pretty as Granada, but it had a nice feel to it. Half the city seemed to be a street market. There are vendors selling everything you can think of on the streets. Clothes, toys, food, electronics... are all on sale here. On the main square we also saw a few rides for children, such as a tiny ferris wheel that a man was spinning by hand.
Some of the many street stalls in León

Some of the many street stalls in León


On the main square

On the main square

After looking for somewhere to party all weekend in Granada, we finally found the party here on a Monday night. We met some people in the hostel and went out dancing with them. On Tuesday night, we had some cocktails and went to a bar with live music.
Blue cocktails León

Blue cocktails León

Posted by sarahm_lux 21:55 Archived in Nicaragua Tagged leon Comments (0)

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