Why I’m Not Going To El Salvador

by Brenna Holeman


Utila, Honduas
Yes, I am still in Utila. I have been here for two weeks now and I would gladly stay another week, but I am forcing myself to move on; if I don’t, I will spend all my money on scuba diving, cheap beer, and conch baliadas.
Originally, until five days ago or so, I had planned to take the bus through Honduras and into El Salvador, where I was going to stay for a week before heading to Nicaragua. As it always goes when travelling, however, my plans have changed, and I’ve decided to skip El Salvador altogether. There are a number of reasons why I’ve made this decision, but it all comes down to something very simple: it just doesn’t make sense for me to go right now.
I have heard very lovely things about the country, despite a very rocky history; so many backpackers skip El Salvador, and I was really looking forward to experiencing it. I would love to one day see the little town of Suchitoto, the art of La Palma, and the black sand beaches to the west. Now, however, is not that time, and I would never want to visit a country just to say I went, just to tick a box. I’ve done a lot of research online, and it comes down to this: I would be travelling on my own in low season to a country that is not known for attracting loads of tourists. While some may call that a traveller’s haven, a place to unwind without the steady influx of other foreigners, I am not up for the challenge at the moment. My journeys through Honduras, El Salvador, and then into Nicaragua would be long and lonely, passing through cities deemed unsafe. Travel times would be ten to twelve hours, and I could very well be the only traveller (let alone female traveller) on the bus. I would be arriving in new places in the middle of the night, having to kill hours in bus terminals and stations. I would, frankly, be scared to do these things by myself in Central America. I have done these things before on other continents, many times, but everyone has their limits, and I have met mine.
Instead, I have met a wonderful Australian to travel with into Nicaragua; she and I will leave on Tuesday, arriving in Leon on Wednesday. I’m looking forward to volcano boarding, surf beaches, and beautiful colonial towns, all before meeting my friend Kerri, who is flying in at the end of the month. It seems that, even if it means skipping a place or not doing something you thought you would, these things always have a way of working themselves out for the best. Besides that, this is certainly not my last time to this part of the world.
Don’t worry, El Salvador. You and I shall meet another day.
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Curious Kinks June 18, 2012 - 6:59 am

Safety first, El Salvador will always be there for you to explore in the future.

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures June 18, 2012 - 8:55 pm

Oh how fabulous that you’ve met a travel friend!!! Aussies are so much fun to travel with. 🙂

EM June 18, 2012 - 9:55 pm

Oh! Conch baleadas and a cold Salva, I sure could do with those right now. Soon enough I suppose. Kudos to you for listening to your gut and leaving El Salvador for next time! It will always be there and traveling with Aussies is the best!!

This Battered Suitcase June 19, 2012 - 5:40 am

Curious Kinks – Definitely!

Andi – Yes! I always get along so well with Aussies and Kiwis.

EM – I will definitely miss the baliadas! Thanks for the support…

Katie @ Domestiphobia.net June 20, 2012 - 12:03 pm

It’s SO smart that you’re listening to your intuition on this. Most of us don’t trust ours, and that usually causes problems.

Be careful volcano boarding! I’m sure it will be AWESOME, but just be careful. Can’t wait to hear what you think of Nica!!

This Battered Suitcase June 21, 2012 - 6:39 pm

Katie – I really always try to trust my gut! It’s usually right…

So far I’m loving Nicaragua…going volcano boarding on Saturday (I think) so I will definitely do a blog post about it!

Jaillan June 27, 2012 - 12:06 am

Never underestimate how important it is to go with the flow! Sounds like a great decision. Even though Central America wasn’t the scare story it is hyped up to be, you have to feel safe or there’s no point and it’s not fun anymore. Safe travels!

This Battered Suitcase June 27, 2012 - 1:16 am

Jaillan – Totally! I feel really safe in Central America, but something about going there just didn’t feel right, so I trusted my gut. Thanks for the support!

amoureuse July 21, 2012 - 6:16 pm

Even though I don’t like sharing this story, at times I feel like it’s good for people to hear…

I was in El Salvador for 2 weeks in 2005, and despite having many positive experiences and meeting loads of wonderful people, I also had one very frightening moment. I was robbed by three men, armed with machetes and a gun, which was fired into the air right beside me.

(For the record I was in a group of about 10 people, all very seasoned travelers, we were not showing signs of wealth, it was in the middle of the day and we even had a guide with us.)

I hesitate to tell this story because I don’t want people to believe that this is what happens to everyone in El Salvador; of course it’s not. Although it was the single scariest moment in my life I walked away physically unharmed, which to me only showed how desperate people are in El Salvador (and in many parts of the world).

However, I do get a bit frustrated when people have an attitude of “it’s fine, it’s safe, it will never happen to me.” I’m all for being positive but it’s also important to be realistic, and some countries just have more risks than others.

Bottom line, if you didn’t feel safe going it’s great you were able to listen to your gut, and I hope you make it there one day!

This Battered Suitcase July 23, 2012 - 2:25 am

Amoureuse – Wow, that is so intense. You have an amazing attitude about the whole thing and I try to stay the same way; one bad yet isolated incident cannot speak for an entire country or place. I didn’t feel right about going to El Salvador at the time, and I’m still glad I made that decision. You’re totally right, we always have to listen to our gut!

Thank you for sharing that story, and I’m so glad that you walked away unharmed (and, as I said earlier, with such a positive attitude about such a horrific event).

Alexander M March 3, 2013 - 7:20 pm

Whenever you consider exploring Elsalvador there are quit a number of places that I can recommend



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