In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age
of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this
financially independent lifestyle, they invite you
to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.
My First El Salvador
Billy and Akaisha Kaderli
Editor's Note: El Salvador uses
the US Dollar as their currency, so no conversion for pricing below is necessary.
It was a "guys" road trip.
the girls in Panajachel,
Guatemala to do some body surfing and
exploring through El
Salvador in Central America. El Salvador is a small country and borders
Guatemala to the east.
Our overland route
is shown in the next two map photos
Our route through Guatemala
From Pana we traveled to Escuintla,
our first stop. Here we
over-nighted, then made our way on to the beach at El Tunco, in El Salvador.
El Tunco is a beach to the west of La
From the surfer town of El Tunco
(more on that below) we traveled
north to the mountain town of Suchitoto then on to Colonial Santa Ana. We made
our return through Guatemala City and
our trip back in Panajachel
on Lake Atitlan.
My total cost for this ten day adventure was $278.00 USD
or $27.80 per day. This cost included staying at hotels that had swimming pools
and air-conditioning, it covers all my food in restaurants and my transportation expenses.
Everything. As you will see below, we were not hurting for comfort.
Transportation by launcha across
the lake is mass transport for residents.
Leaving Pana, our first from of
transportation was across Lake Atitlan by boat. We then picked up the chicken bus in the
larger town of Santiago.
Almost daily we see the Maya transport
firewood on their backs
Deep in the heart of Mayan
country, Santiago is the largest encampment along the shores of Lake Atitlan.
This town is more conservative and traditional in the customs of the Maya than
the tourist towns that also dot the shore.
Our ride! The famous
Chicken buses in Guatemala
This is the bus we
took to Cocales before transferring to another for the trip to Escunitla. Brightly painted, the refurbished school buses are
one of the main forms of transport through Guatemala.
Travelin' with my Dad!
"Thumbs up!" It's all good here, as my seat mate is
letting me know. The kids in Guatemala are absolutely
heart-grabbing, with an unmatched innocence
not seen in other locations on our travels.
Private parking, swimming pool, jungle
Arriving in Esquintla we
over-nighted at Hotel La Villa and paid $25.00 for a fan room. The pool was refreshing
after a day of travel, and as we started our descent to lower altitudes the temperature started to rise.
Drake in a pedi-cab at the border
Border crossings can bring
many surprises. At this crossing my travel mate, Drake, and I had to use two
peddle cabs to get our required passport stamps. These pedi-cabs have a thriving
niche market here.
Even though one
visa covers all four countries of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua, there are
still border check points and the need to obtain all the usual stamps.
Years of experience and working in the sun
show on this man's face
Now that we are on the bus in El
Salvador and moving closer to the coast, the strong Mayan influence is no longer present.
With sun drenched faces it's a different culture that shows through.
La Libertad beach in El Salvador
Por Fin! We're finally on the
beach in La Libertad, El Salvador, and by now, it is time for lunch.
Appetizer, El Salvador style
We split this fried fish
appetizer with freshly squeezed lime, and it was surprisingly tasty. What a great start!
A local specialty of crab soup
Our appetizer was followed by a
tasty bowl of fresh
When by the sea, we eat seafood!
Here you see a mixture of
popcorn shrimp, ham, cheese and tortillas. This protein-rich combo was
accompanied by their national beer,
Restaurante, the total cost of meal, appetizer, soup, entree, and beers was
$25.00 for two.
Hotels and restaurants listed on this
painted wooden sign
Up the road 8 kilometers from La Libertad, you will find Playa El Tunco where we stayed
the next several days.
We had our choice of a freshwater pool or
the ocean, a stone's throw away
Hotel Pupa ( $25.00 for
two) was just off of
the beach and offered us this refreshing pool. If you happen to go to this
hotel, be sure to tell Oscar the owner "Hola" from Billy.
There are lots of
bars, restaurants and hotels in El Tunco
A funky beach town, El
Tunco has something for everyone, with an emphasis on surfers.
Here's a surf school!
In fact, this place is
chock full of surfers and beach bums due to the reliable surf break.
A wide, pleasantly clean beach
Over the next couple of
days the warm water, continuous
waves for body surfing and fun in the sun
took it out of us. It's time to eat again!
This Pasta Marinara, with
fresh lobster, crab and large shrimp was outstanding. The Pasta Primavera also
took a prize. The price? A mere
$7.50 each plate. It was so much food that we had plenty of leftovers for later.
El Salvador's beaches and babes
Surf's up! The sun glistens
on the water and calls us out to
hit the waves once more.
Billy's an Old Salt, taking a
break from the sun and surf
I just finished riding a few
waves, so I am taking a break. Even I
have to catch my breath from all of the excitement out there in the water.
Pupusas, traditional food of El Salvador
The next day we had to
sample the famous El
Salvadorian pupusas, one Dollar each. These are made with a thick, hand-patted corn tortilla filled with cheese and shrimp.
After grilling, they are topped with shredded spicy marinated cabbage.
And don't forget some fresh
Mugs of freshly
squeezed orange juice for about $1 each found their way to our table.
The simple pleasures of a simple life.
The big ball of fire sets in the west
The days here are done and
our time at the beach was
coming to a close. Now it's time to move on to new horizons.
Salvadorian school kids
Back on the road heading up
country to Suhchitoto. School kids riding the bus
with us are forever curious and never shy.
The church in Suchitoto
This town was so
dull that it made a sleepy
town look alive! Nothing - absolutely nothing - was going on here.
Except the lake!
The lake here in Suchitoto
was man made and beautiful, but one night here was
about 23 hours too long. So we traveled west to Santa Ana for the beginning of the end
of our journey.
Old friends in Santa Ana holding the
park bench down, shooting the breeze
Here is a shot of one of the many parks in
Santa Ana, which is an easy going town.
Sitting in a window well
having a brew
All of this
sight-seeing made us thirsty, so we took a break.
Beautiful archways on theater building
Santa Ana is a good size town, and the
presence of the teatro confirms this.
The spectacular Catedral
takes time! Construction on this one began in 1906 but it wasn't
completed until 1959. Most of the churches in El Salvador and the rest
of Latin America are done in the Spanish Colonial style. This one was
designed to look like a Gothic cathedral to be in contrast to the
others, and is probably the greatest icon in Santa Ana.
Built on the site
of the original colonial church (finished in 1576 but destroyed by
lightning in the late 1800's), this cathedral has a marble altar and is
dedicated to the town's patron saint, Santa Ana.
An outside view of the
There are six bells
that were brought from the Netherlands in 1949. Three are placed
in the north tower which are rung manually, and three in the south tower
which are activated by an electronic system. In 1995, this cathedral was
declared to be a National Monument. Festivities for Santanecos
(Santa Ana residents) take place in July each year.
Very clean, well
Hostal La Casa Verde
in Santa Ana had everything,
including a pool, massage chairs, and a roof top terrace for a relaxing sunset view.
Roof top view of Santa
Here's the view
roof top terrace which was also used as a "chill out place."
The owner relaxing a bit
Carlos is the owner
of the Casa Verde Hostal and he will be sure your every need is attended to.
I found this hostal to be one of the best equipped and had the cleanest
kitchen I have seen in years.
Hanging out in the cool
gather to cool down in the pool and it's like a meeting of the United
Nations. The girls on the left are from Holland, the guy is El
Salvadorian, the girl on the right is Spanish and we are
from the USA.
A happening bar and
Dinner for two? Sure!
Santa Ana had a lot more going on than the mountain town of Suchitoto,
and finding good restaurants and entertainment was fairly easy here.
BBQ ribs with salad and
This Costilla a la Barbacoa,
was awesome! Especially for the price of $9.00.
Another bus to the
Guatemalan border and beyond.
Our 10 day
ending, so we boarded another bus to head on to Antigua, our first stop
back into Guatemala.
Guatemala Guide Get it Here!
The Arch of Santa
It was a quick layover in
Antigua where we
spent one night. The next day we made our return to Panajachel at Lake Atitlan.
Beautiful view of Lake
Here we are back home in the
Vortex of Panajachel, Guatemala.
It was a quick trip, but fun to get away for a few days to get a
Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.
Once again, my total cost for this ten day adventure was $278.00 USD
or $27.80 per day. This amount included all my hotel stays, food in restaurants and all transportation expenses.
information on Hostal La Casa Verde,
For more information on El Salvador's
neighboring country of Guatemala,
For more information on the country of
About the Authors
Early Lifestyle appeals to a different
kind of person – the person who prizes their
independence, values their
time, and who doesn’t want to mindlessly
follow the crowd.