My name is Chantelle, and I have been given this amazing opportunity by OSR to share with you a little taste of my recent travels to Nicaragua and El Salvador. Thanks for your time, and I hope you enjoy. :)
Central America is perceived by many to be one of those places that carries a stigma for being a little risky and relatively hostile to virgin travellers.
Having said that, I have many friends who travel to and from Central America on the regular with very little anxiety or problems.
Their stories of epic waves, beautiful beaches, rum, enchanting people, and festive parties have peaked my interest for years now, and gave me but one choice as I saw it - to heed the call and head South for my first Central American adventure.
From the moment that I landed in Nicaragua and felt the warm sun and ocean breeze on my skin I was hooked. The khaki coloured sand beneath my feet actually rooted me with a feeling of belonging as the crisp ocean water revived my pale mid-winter skin.
The people in and around San Juan Del Sur (SJDS) posses a common interest to me it would seem, and this is why I gravitated to this place. A common love for surfing, sun, adventure, and a lust for the simple life attracted us all, I believe, and is what will keep us all coming back for more.
SJDS has a lot to offer. This blossoming little surf town in Nicaragua is welcoming and cute. A flurry of activity surrounds this little hub. You'll see motorcycles whipping through the streets, party kids, travelling nomads, gorgeous locals, street dogs, artists, vendors, yogis, and passionate people who call SJDS home from everywhere in the World. It carries with it that unique kind of flavour. The shops and boutiques that reside in this place are unlike any you will find elsewhere. The watering holes and restaurants offer that Spanish/Mesquite flare that is to be expected while visiting Central America.
Although the town of SJDS boasts a variety of stimulants, the ocean is where it's at for me. Those Nicaraguan beaches will remain in my mind as some of the most beautiful and serene beaches I've seen so far. I am dreaming of the time when I can return, and watch the sun kiss the ocean right before she goes down for the night.
After a short time spent in Nicaragua, I headed over to El Salvador to spend the remainder of my time in Playa El Tunco.
My travelling partner and I were on a mission to surf, and had heard that El Salvador plays host to right point breaks all down its coastline. We chose El Sunzal as our mainstay, but ventured off occasionally to various other beaches located a short distance away as well. Our host at the hostel was kind enough to drive us to his local break one day, a couple we met from Oregon drove us another day, and bus travel was very easily navigated as well. People's kindness and generosity was astonishing actually.
Sunzal is a slow peeling right point break, littered with people, turtles, and a cobble stone beachfront. The water is warm and clear, which is makes it very inviting even in the early hours of the day. Sunzal seemed to be a long boarders wet dream. Everyday I watched with envy as beautiful sixteen year old girls with golden skin, and slightly pot shaped white haired dudes caught the longest rides in. Having said that, there are some local shredders that rip this wave on short boards as well, putting any hopes of me ever getting a wave to shame.
The hostel that we called home for the weeks we were in El Salvador is right on El Sunzal. This location was amazing for waking up early, getting a coffee and watching the sun come up with the hostel dogs, my babe, and scoping out the surf situation. Above you'll see hundreds of swallows flying overhead in the morning light, and in the distance, a cute little old couple sending out their fishing lines hoping to catch their food for the day. In my eyes, life's simplicity in perfect form.
Walking down the beach to get to El Tunco for a delicious fresh smoothie before heading into the water became another habit of ours. Slowly, as you do in small towns, we got to know the beautiful locals who inhabit this magical place. Everyday, we were greeted with smiles, and hospitality. Truth be told, El Salvador is a relatively poor country. The people who live there have very little, and seem happy none-the-less. They are eager to share their Country, their culture, and their happiness, and of course their burritos.
Having this perspective changed me, I think. My perception of reality is forever altered after my Central American travel adventure. The zest for life, music, love, ocean, food, and beauty will having me coming back time and time again - that I can guarantee. That and the fish tacos.