Saturday, April 30, 2016

Layover - El Salvador

El Salvador is a troubled but beautiful country, without a  doubt. We transited through two years ago during a period of relative calm for the country. We were scheduled to have an eight hour layover, and if I have more than five or six hours in an airport, I start to look at the feasibility of going on an excursion during that time.

Sometimes it is incredibly easy because the airport is close to the nearest city and has a train connection. Things get more complicated when the transit mode, time and distance to and from the airport aren't so easy. In those instances, one can usually look into tour services that are used to dealing with clientele in this position. El Salvador's Monseñor Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport is one of those airports - 50 km/31 miles from San Salvador without a rail connection.

In El Salvador, there were several such services available. I picked a tour with one that would have been perfect for our time - Salvadorean Tours. That was all ruined though, when we spent hours delayed at our departure airport through no fault of our own. The tour company also could not contact me because I was unable to use my phone - we were stuck on the tarmac. I figured they would have abandoned us. However, our guide had waited for us for hours at the El Salvador Airport.

We paid some taxes and filled out immigration forms. Our guide was so friendly and sweet. He decided that of course we couldn't do what we had planned, but we could definitely check out a local beach on the Pacific coast - Costa del Sol - and have a nice lunch, which was exactly what we did. He spoke excellent English and we had a great conversation about El Salvador. Above, my husband is asking him about the menu.

What a nice way to spend a few hours instead of trying to kill time in a little airport.

I hope to return to El Salvador one day. It's now unfortunately one of the few places I am a little apprehensive about visiting for security reasons and I truly hope, for El Salvador's sake, they are able to stabilize their country soon. I like to stay informed about what happens in the rest of the world and how the US impacts other countries, especially places I visit. I also like to get that information from a variety of perspectives. You can read a bit more about what is happening in El Salvador, and the role the US has played in the problem, here. You can read Lonely Planet's encouragement to visit here.

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