Playa el Cuco
we left playa colorado and headed north. We made it to northern nica and decided to stop for the night. The only hotel/hostel in the area didn't allow dogs, but didn't mind us sleeping in the parking lot for $20. Seemed steep since full rooms (with breakfast) were only twice that, but we needed a place to sleep and didn't argue. We chose instead to park in front of the pool and call it a day. Their pool and bar made it worth staying and we slept great.
In the morning we had to decide whether to head back toward the beach in nica or simply cross into honduras…we felt high energy so we opted for the border crossing. Everything went pretty much as expected, another few hours out of our life in the stifling heat and we were back on our way. It was clear almost immediately how tedious this part of the drive was as the potholes were every few meters, and were equally as large (and almost as deep). I barely remember this part of the drive on the way south, so i must have subliminally tried to block it out. Every car on the road is so concerned with bobbing and weaving around the treacherous potholes that they seem to forget to look up and see the oncoming traffic they are heading straight for.
We made our way along, but add to the road conditions the police checkpoints far more often than they should be and it was anything but stress free. It is worth noting that contrary to most reports of getting hassled by police checkpoints across Honduras we were greeted kindly and offered a firm handshake and a smile by each one. All very pleasant. We did come the closest yet to giving a bribe however. Jen offered a bunch of bananas to one checkpoint group who asked for a christmas present…then after counting how many policia there were made them give the bunch back so we could take a few back for ourselves. Three for them, one for us. They laughed, we drove away.
On the way south we didn't get to spend any time in honduras, so we decided to take a break from playing chicken and stop for the night rather than pushing for the second border. We would actually prefer to explore the country a bit, but everything we have interest in is on the other side and again we have a timeline, so it will simply have to be on a future trip when we can visit a friend in la ceiba and hop out to the islands again.
This hotel was off limits to dogs (didn’t much matter as they were booked for the night) so we opted to make camp yet again in the parking lot. This place was palatial, and our parking fees allowed us use of the grounds, pools and bar/restaurant. We had some of the best grilled chicken to date and they were hosting a wedding during our stay. We talked in depth about whether to crash…but we thought it might be difficult to blend in wearing surf trunks and a bikini. Instead we watched the grand final football game and cheered on the home team with the locals, and fell asleep to wedding music blaring in the background.
In the morning we crossed yet another border into El Salvador…the half way point of our trip in terms of borders…but far from it in distance. We were thrilled to be back. We like nicaragua, but we LOVE El Salv! We pointed the bus directly for the southernmost beach, El Cuco and went back to Turtuga Verde where we camped for the price of dinner last time around.
Our last visit we were the only people in the entire place but being sunday, the parking lot, the pool and every square inch was overflowing with locals. We had almost forgotten about the beautiful chaos that is sunday at the beach!! They had us stay at their new property just down the beach and we couldn't have been more happy to do so. It was smaller, quieter, just us and maybe 100 locals sharing the beach and the pool. Perfect!
We headed out to surf around sunset and by the time we returned we had the place almost to ourselves. By dark we were one of only two vehicles left. Tom the owner stopped by and explained that the sand we were sitting on will soon be a discoteca catering to the party backpacker crowd. Sad to hear, but glad we’re getting to enjoy it now in its calm and pristine state. The waves out front were choppy and blown out by the strong crosswinds, but it didn't stop us from having an amazing sunset paddle and a blast in the waves. Surfing is such a funny and fickle sport. One day it tosses you around and sends you home feeling like you got beat up by the lunchroom bully, the next it gives you just a hint of success. Just enough to keep you paddling back out and to try another wave. Just barely enough.
There is no real success or failure, it’s just a matter of slowly getting better, and just when you think you're ready to give up the ocean tosses you a bone. Then wave after wave one comes along that just happens to let you tame it, that lets you cruise among its smooth glory and drops you off softly at shore…and you feel like you've conquered the world! I can’t get enough of this sport…i love it…way more than i should for someone with no skills whatsoever.
We paddled out again with sunrise and then planned to pull out for points north, but somehow this place has a hold on us. A beach to ourselves, the ocean steps away. Nobody around but locals. The fact that guys are working on the future discotec all around us and even the fact they drained the pool after the locals left on sunday night doesn't stop us from being enthralled…we just can’t seem to leave.
Our plan when we pulled in was to only stay for a night and then head north to El Tunco, where there’s more established hotels, food, wifi etc…but this has turned out to be exactly the type of place we could sit for a month on end and not have a care in the world. Even without being connected we feel quite at home here.
That said, if we hope to be back in Portand before march or april we have to keep moving north...eventually.