Today would be a change of pace. After a month of more than 1200 kilometers of biking, I decided that I’m nearly done.
I bought a ticket for a flight that leaves Managua, Nicaragua on September 6, and decided to use buses to do a detour to El Cuco; a small beach town in El Salvador. It’s a distance that would take three days by bike (plus three more to get back on track again), but this way, I could arrive there the very same day.
I left the hostel at 7:30 to bike the four kilometers to the bus station in La Granja. Once again it was a lot of fun to bike through the city and pass all the cars stuck in traffic.
Finding the bus station was easy, and just upon arrival, a bunch of guys shouted “Choluteca!” and I basically rode the bike straight into its trunk and I hopped into the bus.
So far, so good!
It left at 8:20 and I paid 73 Lempiras to get off at Jícaro Galan (roughly 3 USD), which is the closest town the bus gets to El Salvador. It was frustrating to be on a bus and have frequent snack/toilet/drop-off breaks and stand still for minutes during trafficy sections. I felt the urge more than once to just get off and bike the rest of the way.
Also, at one point the driver almost drove into a truck in front of us, and had to turn to the side to avoid it, almost making us drive off the road. It was pretty interesting.
Three hours later, they dropped me off in Jícaro Galan, and I waited for a bit in the shade, and then the next bus arrived twenty minutes later. I paid 60 Lempiras (I think 30 for me, 30 for the bike) to take me to El Amatillo by the El Salvadorian border. The trip was roughly one hour long, and it was one of those old school buses that are now used for public transportation! My bike was placed between the seats.
At 1pm, we had arrived to the border. Everyone wanted to talk to me either in broken English or Spanish, asking for money, if I wanted to change money, if I want to sell the bike. I suggested 100 dollars, but they didn’t bite. But it’s good practice, I’m gonna start trying to sell it from now on!
Showed passport to exit Honduras, crossed the river, showed it again to enter El Salvador. The usual stuff. No fees.
On the Honduran side, they offered 5.20 USD (which is the official currency here) for my remaining 132 Lempiras. On the El Salvadorian side, I got 5.50. Again a slightly better offer once you cross.
I was lucky to get on a new bus (2 USD) just as I was done, and by 1:40pm, I was on my way to the largest city on the eastern half of El Salvador; San Miguel.
I arrived later than planned, and since the internet had told me that the last bus to El Cuco would depart at 4pm, I only had 40 minutes to:
1. Get my new 60 USD from a Western Union
2. Get something to eat
3. Buy some groceries
4. Find bus
I hurried out on the streets on my bike, asking around for a Western Union. Always people pointing in opposite directions, and when I did find one, a sign said it was not working today.
It was stressful! But finally I did find one in a small shop, and I got my money pretty fast this time, maybe because I explained the situation, and they even knew the hostel I was going to stay at!
Still, it was already 4pm, and I hurried hurried back to the bus terminal, maybe a little too risky, zig-zagging between cars against traffic.
I arrived! Only to learn that the last bus of the day was actually 5:20pm! My info from the internet had failed me!
Bus to El Chuco.
It was a good thing though, as I could finally pee for the first time today, and get something to eat.
People beg for money all the time here, which I actually haven’t encountered earlier on this trip. People also always start conversations with me, and I’ve begun to automatically say “no hablo español, sorry” so they will give up faster.
The bus played super loud Latin dance music that made my seat vibrate. It felt like the ride kept going forever and I was so sleepy.
Finally I arrived at El Cuco, and the sun had already gone down. I biked in the darkness (though now I had a flashlight that I got from my La Lima host as a present!), and I could quickly find Casa de Canela. It’s a cute little hostel, 10 USD per dorm bed, individual fans. Pool table, towel included.
Also, they have little kittens running around, and one became my friend.
I have to say that I feel weird going by bus all day. In a way, it’s just as exhausting as biking, but with biking, there’s some kind of satisfaction to it. Now, there’s just tiredness.
At least tomorrow I have all day to just relax and explore the town and the beach!