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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Layover in El Salvador

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Costa del Sol, El Salvador

Upon arrival at the Comalapa Airport about 7 am, I knew I had a seven-hour layover before catching my next flight to Lima, Perú. I thought this would be an inexpensive way to do more exploring of Latino culture, Salvadorean style. I already did my homework before making this trip and I knew exactly where and how I wanted to spend the next the next seven hours of my layover. I did not want to go to the nations capital, San Salvador, because it was a 45-minutes cab ride each way, and I wanted to make the best of my hours while waiting for my next flight.

Once I passed through immigration and security, I paid $10 USD to get a tourist card to leave the airport. El Salvador now uses US currency, however, I did get hold of an old El Salvadorean paper currency as a souvenir. Once outside the airport, a cabbie propositioned me. He, like so many others I met, speaks no English, so I got plenty of practice on my Spanish. We negotiated a fare of $60 USD where he would show me around the area for the next three hours. First, we went to Costa del Sol (Sun Coast) where they have a lot of beaches and seafood restaurants.

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Neighborhood about 30 minutes from the Comalapa Airport in El Salvador

Upon arriving in Costa Del Sol, two young men ran out towards our cab and admonished us (hustled us) to go into the restaurant where they were working, Café Yessenia. My cab driver had it made-in-the-shade. In addition to taxi fare, he had a nice seafood dinner, and a fresh coconut on me. We both relaxed in the shady restaurant for a time before we started riding around and touring the area. We stopped in a couple of nice small towns, and at two or three different beaches.

Enough time had passed when I was ready to get back to the Comalapa Airport and get checked in two hours before my international flight to Lima. I left El Salvador feeling that my seven-hour layover was well-spent and looked forward to other long layovers during my travels.