Barra de Santiago was our last El Sal destination, recommended to us by the owner of our first hostel in San Salvador, as she owned the place as well. The owner had told us it would be okay to camp there, though the staff seemed quite confused and had to confirm it with her on the telephone when we arrived. She was obviously anxious to get some sort of business as the only other tourists we saw in all of Barra de Santiago were two men staying at the hostel who left the day we arrived. I can’t access our financial records of the trip but I would guess that it was around $20/night to stay there.
We were able to set up shop right in front of the beach entrance to the place, giving us a nice ocean view. The hostel itself seemed pretty well maintained with the workers perhaps living there as well. Some wifi was available if you were close enough to the front desk, and there was a kitchen menu available for perhaps busier times. No beer sales, though! We had to head out of the hostel to get those. El Salvadorians are very strict on bottle returns. We again had to pay a deposit on our massive bottles of Brava beers- selling at a local shop for about $1.50. When that shop was closed, one couple with a little tienda in front of their house wouldn’t even let us buy small bottles of beer and walk off with them because they wanted the return on their bottles so badly.
We tried to buy those bottles one sleepy Sunday when we walked into town to watch a local soccer game that a local guy had been raving to us about as he tried to sell us kayak services. The center of town is quite a walk up from Capricio Beach House and unfortunately we couldn’t find any shops to sell us drinks. In town before the game we grabbed some afternoon pupusas at a local pupseria and watched some graphic Law and Order type shows with the owners young daughter who sat with us almost the whole time singing “Gangam Style” in Spanish.
The soccer game ended up being pretty amatuer to Billy’s disappointment. We sat next to some police officers and were maybe the only people buying beers out of a cooler that was set up as a snack stand. Walking back to the hostel along the beach, the local fisherman were bringing in the days catches. We were able to see them pull in big sting rays and cut them up and gut them right there on the beach. There were many empty vacation homes or perhaps hotels running along the beach lines. Not necessarily looking abandoned but certainly with no tourists occupying them. It was pretty temping to walk across their lawns and jump into the empty pools!
I’ve left out the best part of Barra de Santiago to be shared in a separate post- when we released freshly hatched baby sea turtles into the ocean!