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DANIEL
// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.


. KEY PROPOSED DESTINATION DAY TRIP SHORT STAY (STAYED LESS THAN 10 DAYS) MEDIUM STAY (STAYED 10 TO 30 DAYS) LONG STAY (STAYED MORE THAN 30 DAYS)

SANTA ANA After spending two really amazing months in Guatemala, it was time to leave. So I crossed the Rio Paz which separates Guatemala and El Salvador (and which you can see in the bottom photo). My first stop was Santa Ana, founded in 1569 and today El Salvador's second largest city. The safety situation in the country has been improving in the last few years, but it was clear this was a country that had suffered through decades of civil war and former military dictatorships and unchecked gang violence (with the US not entirely blameless for some of that history). But I had a wonderful and safe time in El Salvador and would love to come back one day.
SAN SALVADOR San Salvador is the nation's capital and largest city and rather impressively sits along a lake at the foot of a great volcano (you can see the volcano crater below). I didn't spend much time here, but did stay with a local family who gave me a tour of several places nearby.
PANCHIMALCO One of the places my host family took me was Panchimalco, a tiny town in the mountains and one of only two towns in the entire country with any indigenous people. Unlike Mexico and Guatemala, which both have strong indigenous identities, the indigenous tribes of El Salvador were all but wiped out in various civil wars and genocides. Those that remained were assimiliated through marriage (86% of El Salvadorians identify as mix-raced). The Pipil Indians (below) are one of the few tribes left. They had their capital at Cuzcatlan, but when the Spanish came in the 1500s, they abandoned Cuzcatlan (which the Spanish renamed San Salvador) and fled into the mountains, forming the settlement of Panchimalco (which in Pipil means 'Place of the Flags and Shields'). They still maintain some of their culture here, though sadly have mostly lost their language.
PUERTO DEL DIABLO Near Panchimalco is a viewpoint known as Puerto del Diablo (the Door of the Devil). I'll let the photos speak for themselves.
JOYA DE CEREN Not far from San Salvador is Joya De Ceren, a tiny Mayan farming settlement that was preserved in 600 AD when a nearby volcano eruption buried it under 30 feet (10m) of cooled ash. The site was only discovered in 1976 and has offered great insights into the Classic Period of the Mayan Civilization.
EL TUNCO I eventually made my way to the coastal beach town of El Tunco (which in Spanish means 'the Pig').
SUCHITOTO When it comes to cute, charming Spanish Colonial towns, it's hard to beat Suchitoto. Hidden in the mountains, surrounded by green jungle valleys and a massive (man-made) lake, decorated with colorful buildings, cobblestone streets, and quiet outdoor cafes (not to mention the obligatory Catholic church)... this was a wonderful place to relax before heading on and leaving El Salvador.
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