Our second stop in El Salvador was practically at the other end of the country! But lucky for us – El Salvador isn’t a big country… so we managed to traverse it in a day… arriving in Santa Ana in time for an early evening stroll and a tasty dinner of pupusas which rivalled in taste, those that we had eaten in San Miguel! Santa Ana was off to a good start!!!
The hostal we chose to stay in was a little bizarre… but was in walking distance of the city and the main bus station which was good! And, having spoken to the person working in the hostal we were happy that it was safe for us to walk into the centre. The conversation did however make it clear that while it was okay for us to wander freely – as we weren’t affiliated to a specific area and therefore gang controlled area of the city – that for residents of Santa Ana there was no such luxury. It seemed that where locals lived dictated which area they belonged to (from a gang perspective) and therefore where they could go… crossing gang held areas could be inherently dangerous.
There isn’t actually a lot to do in Santa Ana, but we enjoyed our time there nonetheless. The city of Santa Ana is surrounded by lovely hills, and there is a beautiful big lake very close to the city. There are a few nice buildings dotted around the city, but the main square is home to a pretty stunning cathedral and some other pretty impressive buildings including the municipal palace and theatre. The signs in the square also proved to be a tad thought provoking!
Santa Ana – as well as being home to the first gun sign that we’d seen in Latin America on a main square – was also home to a gelato place that rivalled gelato in Argentina… We initially went as it came on a recommendation from our volunteer friend from Aldea Luna in Argentina… but our second and third visit were purely because we wanted more!!! You could get the expected gelato flavours such as dulce de leche – YUM! But also more random flavours that we had never heard of before such as jocote (Spondias purpurea) and marañon (cashew)… If only it existed in Sydney too…
We really enjoyed our short time in Santa Ana, and were looking forward to returning to the city after our next stop – La Ruta de Las Flores (the route of the flowers).