Saturday, March 26, 2011


Copan was the site of a great Mayan city with 20,000 to 30,000 residents at is peak. Located 12km from the Guatemalan border, in a green valley fed by the Copan river, Copan is Honduras's famous Mayan site.

The Copan site is large, with archeologists still working to uncover undiscovered areas. At the time, the Mayans would build directly on top of older buildings, at present only the most recently built buildings are visable. The precipitous fall of Copan was not due to conquistators, rather it is believed that deforestation caused the surrounding hills to slide and rapid population growth led to a resource shortage.

This is the ball court. The Mayans used a 10 pound ball made with sap to compete.

Claire, Pupi, and Pupi's cap

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

El Salvadorean Food Fair

Juayua is a small El Salvadorean town on the "Ruta de las Flores", a wild flower laden highway that connects a group of small highland towns. Despite being larger than the aforementioned Alegria, Juayua still retains its small town charm. While Juayua is sleepy and laid back during the week, thousands flock each weekend to experience the fantastic food fair.

A street vendor sells snow cones in front of the plaza

Thousands of vistors take in food and music on a Sunday afternoon
Sample plates featuring chicken, rabbit, ribs, and steak
The grilled rabbit was fantastic

Over the course of the weekend I found myself addicted to the delicious cakes produced at the local Pasteleria.

Pupusas are amazing gooey cheese filled bites of heaven. Filled with beans, pork, cheese, and anything in between, they power the the El Salvadorian economy 30cents at a time. They are undoubtedly also responsible for the typically hefty El Salvadorian waste line, and the typically jovial and hospitable El Salvadorean personality.
Ayote Pupusa
A fresh batch made-to-order

The pupusas are formed with the ingredients in the bowls

Saturday, March 12, 2011

El Tunco and the Fish Market

Just over an hour away from the muggy mall laden metropolis of San Salvador is Playa El Tunco, a beach town popular with city folk on the weekends and surfers all day, everyday.  The waves are the draw for most and water is a balmy 86 degrees Fahrenheit.  The ocean here is the warmest I've ever experienced, stepping into the water feels like taking a bath, its remarkable.

El Tunco at sunset.

Just south of El Tunco is a port town of La Libertad.  La Libertad has a pier and an active fish market on the pier, it was a very interesting place to walk around and a fantastic place to buy seafood.

Fish being prepared for market

Langoustines ($5USD per pound)

Catch of the day.  (Prawns $3.50 to 7)
Baby Hammerhead sharks

Stingray filet ($1.50USD per pound)
Homemade Seafood Paella, with Langoustines, Jumbo Prawns, and chicken.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


The highest town in El Salvador is the charming Alegria.  Located on the side of a volcano, Alegria is a small El Salvadorian town typical to the highlands.  The higher altitude brings in crisp and cool air, a welcomed change from the rest of El Salvador.  With just one plaza, and only a handful of restaurants and shops Alegria remains refreshingly noncommercial.  The locals of Alegria are happy, sincere, and very welcoming.
 The town was also my first taste of pupusas (not pictured), the ubiquitous cheese filled El Salvadorian treat.  A pupusa is a fried corn flour pocket filled with any combination of cheese, beans, and pork.  They are delicious, greasy, addictive, and cheap.

Flower growing remains an active part of the local economy and nearly every home seemed to have a well decorated garden.

Alegria sits on the sit of this crater lake filled volcano.

The town square, the hub of social life in Alegria.

Central America is known among backpackers for its "chicken buses" which are used or old yellow school buses used for general transport. Nearly all buses in Central America are chicken buses, they are cheap, run frequently, and essential for connecting small towns like Alegria to the rest of El Salvador.