*The pictures are all things I saw during my guided tour around the city of San Salvador. The tour guide was so great he took us to his favorite Choriceria afterward for lunch – seriously delicious chorizo!
Let’s get one thing straight right off the bat: I’m glad I didn’t skip El Salvador. And no, it’s not just because I want to “get off the beaten path” or because I see myself as a “traveler” and not a “tourist” or any of those silly reasons. No, I’m glad I didn’t skip El Salvador because it gave me the chance to make up my own mind about the country and decide for myself whether or not I liked it.
The long and the short of it is that I probably won’t go back to El Salvador. I only went to San Salvador, and apparently El Tunco is supposed to be beautiful and I’m sure there is plenty of natural beauty in the country for people who search hard enough, but that’s just not my style. At least not right now. At 24 I’ve had too many bad experiences with men to believe that I’m infallible or to believe that those things “just won’t happen to me.” So when I’m traveling alone I don’t like to be in places I don’t feel safe. As a woman (clearly if you’re a man you might feel immeasurably different than I on this subject) I just did not feel safe in San Salvador, and my experience in San Salvador did not engender any desire in me to see more of the country.
I was safe in San Salvador but only because I stayed in the “ritzy” area of the city and did not venture far outside this area except to go on a guided tour of the city, during which I was physically accosted by one of the men in the market place, and harassed by almost all others.
I’m still glad I went on that tour because I was able to see the real San Salvador and gain a better understanding of how a majority of the population live. It was eye-opening in a bittersweet way. The city was dirty, and smelled worse than it looked. Usually I love street food, but everything I ate tasted just as dirty as the city looked and I just couldn’t make myself like the it – or the city for that matter.
Maybe one day I’ll give San Salvador a second chance, but for now I’m glad I only spent 3 days there and I didn’t feel like I needed more.
*If you’re going to San Salvador, there aren’t many options for hostels. I stay in La Zona hostel and I said it’s definitely in a nice part of town so you feel safe, even at night. The hostel will help you book the free walking tour of the city, which I definitely recommend taking – although I was harassed on the street I never felt in any real, physical danger. Not only was the guide right in front of me/next to me the entire time, but I also went with one other person.