Total distance travelled: 31,109.6 kilometres (19,322.7 miles)
A slight revision to our El Salvador itinerary saw us headed for the small, but neatly appointed town of Juayua, a destination we had deemed necessary to visit on either the Saturday or Sunday.
Normally it is a sleepy little place, however rumour and reputation has it that as of the weekend, the town transforms into a celebration of local gastronomy, and what would we be to pass up the opportunity of good food (I know what we’d be, and that’d be crazy)!
Our journey from San Salvador (which took us from the capital’s western bus terminal and required a change of bus at Sonsonate) was memorable only for one of the first mini tragedies of the trip.
As we were making ready to change our bus in Sonsonate, in a second, or perhaps it was a millisecond, one of my flip-flops blew out and I’m talking beyond repair!
Despite it being a bad situation (given how 95% of our time has been spent wearing this footwear option on the journey to date), it could have been much worse.
We were in a bus terminal, which meant we had our packs, which meant… I was quickly able to retrieve my second pair and carry on! Crisis over!
With two fresh pairs to be delivered to us in less than weeks’ time (Sarah’s mum was meeting us in Cuba with two brand new pairs for each of us), it would not be long before I was traveling again with a pair of backups (Sarah was also down to one pair after leaving her second pair as a gift to our host family in San Pedro la Laguna, Guatemala).
With this moment behind us, we made it to Juayua, found our first hostel option was full, so settled on our second option which was a very lovely place anyway!
So, now that we were settled with a room, it was time to go in search of food, and give this town a chance to live up to its reputation.
To tide us over until we’d assessed all of our dining options, we indulged in a couple Naranja Licuado’s, those orange blend juice concoctions we’d enjoyed so much in San Salvador.
As we skirted the town’s main plaza (where most of the food stalls appeared to be clustered), we quickly realised that the whole affair was neither as large as we’d imagined, nor as creative in a gastronomic sense as we’d hoped.
Still, we found one meat of which we are both very fond, yet had only been able to indulge in once (back in Taxco) during the course of these travels, so Canejo (Rabbit) it was.
One huge plate was certainly an ample enough feed for the two of us, and it was also at this time that we finally sighted our English friends, Lizzie and Nicky (who we’d missed by a few hours back in La Tortuga Verde).
Slightly disappointed by what we’d found (as far as food options go, although the rabbit we ate was delicious), we figured perhaps it was early and things would really kick on for the evening.
We therefore decided to find something else to occupy us for a few hours, and figured a few kilometre stroll to some local waterfalls could both reward us with a lovely location as well as give us the opportunity for a refreshing dip!
The road to the falls felt pretty rugged, with many larger rocks making it necessary to keep an eye on where one chose to tread, before eventually giving way to an almost silt like dirt, so fine you could probably have used it as a very muddy talcum powder (I’m not suggesting anyone try it, although it might be a little amusing…)
As is often the case, at about the point when you begin to wonder if you’ve missed a turn somewhere and are in fact headed towards the right place, we found it, or at least found the entrance.
It was only another 5 minutes before we got to our ultimate destination, discovering at the same time that this place is in fact a combination of natural falls, and man made pools/cascades.
There were in fact two sets of pools, both full of icy and certainly refreshing mountain water.
We took a semi dip in the farthest, shaded set, realised how frigid the waters actually were, before returning to the first falls we’d encountered, which bask in full Sun!
Both of us took a quick plunge, but despite the heat of the day, quickly found the clear waters were too cold to tolerate for any length of time.
Still, it was a beautiful spot!
The afternoon was passed back at our hostel with a few beers and some trading of travel tips with an English couple (Shaun & Charlotte who we managed to swap some currency with) travelling in the opposite direction.
It was also very fortunate that we’d at least indulged in lunch at the food market, as when we later returned, we were a little surprised (although we should have realised given that there were more locals present than tourists) to discover that the whole affair had been packed up for the night!
Our dinner plans were quickly revised (we cooked back at our hostel), so in the end it didn’t put us out too much.
Juayua is a cute little town that is apparently dead during the week, so certainly come and enjoy it over a weekend. Temper your expectations however, for if foodie heaven is what you’re seeking, you’re probably only going to leave having found disappointment…
* A coach from San Salvador to Sonsonate cost us about $1.50 US per person and took just over an hour (Buses run from San Salvador’s western bus terminal).
* To reach Juayua from Sonsonate cost an additional $0.80 US per person.
* Our second hostel option (which turned out to be wonderful), Hotel Anáhuac cost us $9.00 US each for a dorm bed, had a lovely courtyard and a serviceable kitchen.