We entered El Salvador with the plan to stay in the small town of La Palma near the border of Honduras. With very little information in our guide book, we drove through town looking for a place to stay. We saw a billboard on the way through town that said something in Spanish about cabins and camping. Sounding like an excellent option, we followed the sign and turned onto a bumpy dirt road. We arrived at the place, opened the gate, and asked a woman inside how much camping would cost. She looked a bit surprised, and led us down to a nice building to wait at a table. After a few minutes, a group of nuns dressed in brown robes entered the building and sat down with us. This is when we realized that we had completely misunderstood the sign. We were sitting with a group of sweet nuns who were trying to understand why two people from the United States were asking them how much it would cost to camp on their lawn. We apologized for our intrusion, but the nuns insisted that we stay for some food and drinks. While we ate we talked to them about our trip, and continued to repeat our apology for disturbing them.
Later we did find a place to stay, and the next morning left for the coast. We followed the poor advice of our Lonely Planet guidebook and drove to the highly touted ‘undiscovered’ area of El Salvador. They were definitely right about the undiscovered part. We spent hours driving through small villages lacking hotels or restaurants. The only hotel we did find looked abandoned and expected us to pay $70 a night, which was ridiculous. We were glad we had our own car, because anyone taking the bus would most likely be spending the night on a deserted beach enjoying pains of hunger as they prayed to baby Jesus that they would make it through the night without being robbed.
We finally came to El Tunco, luckily a ‘discovered’ small village with a cluster of hotels and restaurants on the beach. Looking out on the water we saw people surfing, and knew we found a perfect spot to kick back for a few days. Kristin found a simple but very nice room with a shared bathroom and kitchen for $15 a night, so we relaxed by the pool, surfed, and watched the sunset while drinking dollar beers at the beach front restaurant. Not a bad way to spend six days.