Cruiser Guide to El Salvador Part 3: Getting to know San Salvador

El Rosario church, San Salvador

In Part 2 I talked about some of the places to explore around El Salvador. San Salvador deserves its own post – it’s a busy, hectic capital city where we find something new to enjoy each visit. If you’re cruising and decide to visit El Salvador, you’ll probably want to make at least one trip to the city for provisioning and to get hold of whatever odd stuff you need to fix your latest boat problem. While you’re there, try to take time to do some of the historical and cultural stuff too, as it’s a great way to learn more about this fascinating country and a nice change of scene, pace, and temperature from Estero Jaltepeque. Continue reading “Cruiser Guide to El Salvador Part 3: Getting to know San Salvador”

Cruiser Guide to El Salvador Part 2: Eating, drinking, exploring!

Morning in Estero Jaltepeque

In Part 1 I shared the kind of information that it’s useful to know before arriving in a new place. Now it’s on to the fun stuff! Here are some of our favourite things to do locally, and details about places to visit around El Salvador.


Exploring locally:  These places often don’t have websites, but they’re all on Google maps:

Continue reading “Cruiser Guide to El Salvador Part 2: Eating, drinking, exploring!”

Cruiser Guide to El Salvador Part 1: Arrival and practical stuff

When we set off from Vancouver in September 2017 with a plan to head south, El Salvador wasn’t really on our radar. We thought we’d probably make it to Panama for the hurricane season. In Huatulco and Chiapas, our last two stops in Mexico, we kept hearing other boats talking about the Annual El Salvador Rally and on an impulse we decided to check it out. We sent off a quick email, signed up as we were leaving Chiapas, and arrived here a few days later. That was last April and as you know from our recent post about daily life we’re still here! As the time approaches for this year’s rally and with people sailing down Mexico and making plans for where to be during hurricane season, here’s some info about what you can expect if you include El Salvador in your cruising itinerary. Continue reading “Cruiser Guide to El Salvador Part 1: Arrival and practical stuff”

A day in the life: Illusion and Isla Cordoncillo

As you probably already know, we’re still in El Salvador!

View from our dock just before we moved

We almost left right after Christmas, but after a final engine check we discovered 50 gallons of murky estuary water in the bottom of our engine room so the planned departure was delayed and we got to stay here to work on the shaft seal and see in 2019. Continue reading “A day in the life: Illusion and Isla Cordoncillo”

Women Who Sail Who Write: our writing group is six months old!

Cover photo for the group – nuts and bolts and screws for when we screw up! (Taken at Minney’s Yacht Surplus in Newport Beach)

Back in November when we were anchored in San Diego I was feeling the effects of being on the move, without a solid group of friends or colleagues around me. I wasn’t getting much time to myself or to talk through stuff with friends, and, although I’d hoped to keep up my daily writing habit when we left Vancouver, it was hard to find time between sailing, provisioning, laundry, route planning, boat jobs, parenting, socializing, and exploring all the new places we were traveling through. I’ve been a member of the amazing Women Who Sail Facebook group and a couple of its sub-groups for a few years now – such great sources of knowledge, support, and advice – and after seeing a few comments about writing from other members, I realized what I needed was totally within reach:

A virtual writing group! Continue reading “Women Who Sail Who Write: our writing group is six months old!”

Picturing history: Puerto Escondido, Loreto, and the art of Alejandro Curiel

Loreto, the furthest north we got in the Sea of Cortéz, is mostly known to visitors for its fishing and for being the site of the first “successful” mission in Baja California. The Jesuits, led by Juan María Salvatierra, sailed the Santa Elvira from Sonora to arrive in the indigenous dwelling of Conchó in October 1697. Although only a few weeks after their arrival local indigenous people attacked the mission, the Mission of our Lady of Loreto became a cornerstone of the peninsula religious network.

The mission’s church (completed in 1744)

Later, after the Jesuits were evicted, Franciscan Junípero Serra sailed up from San Blas on the Purísima, a two week voyage crossing over from the mainland, no doubt battling against some of those strong northerlies we experienced while exploring the area, and it was from here he later departed to head to San Diego and found the California missions.

We sailed up from La Paz to Puerto Escondido in February (it was a bit windy to anchor at Loreto, though in some conditions it can work to do that) via some of the most amazing scenery I’ve ever seen. Baja just got better and better for me as we explored the gorgeous islands and rocky coves. I’ve written about some of our experiences here, here, and here – I was totally blown away by the drama of the landscape. And now, after travelling down Mainland Mexico and having arrived in El Salvador, despite all the great places we’ve visited, it’s Baja and its waters that I’m still craving. Continue reading “Picturing history: Puerto Escondido, Loreto, and the art of Alejandro Curiel”

Little angels in paradise: haircuts, kids, and magic moments

Nobody was inside the hairdresser’s, and the woman sitting outside, twiddling her hair and focused on her phone, didn’t look too impressed that I´d interrupted her to ask if I could come in. It´s a long time since I´ve had a haircut in Spanish, and she was equally unimpressed by my almost useless efforts to describe what I wanted. She kept showing me pictures in a worn magazine and I kept showing her photos on my phone and eventually after a lot of confused, unimpressed looks, she shrugged: “Un bob clásico, es un bob clásico”. To get things moving, although I was already wondering whether it might be better to leave before anything went horribly wrong, I agreed that a bob clásico would be just fine. She didn´t seem like someone who wanted to make small talk and we settled into a slightly awkward silence. I sat there feeling uncomfortable and she stood there looking grumpy and we probably both just hoped the whole thing could be done with as quickly as possible. Continue reading “Little angels in paradise: haircuts, kids, and magic moments”

Every photo, a story: Sea of Cortez

It’s strange traveling around by boat: you have your home with you so it doesn’t feel like a holiday because there’s all the normal shopping and cleaning and maintenance and admin and bank stuff and other unexciting day-to-day stuff to deal with, but even though you’re in your home, you’re also a tourist in somebody else’s and you’re rarely anywhere long enough to feel like you really get it, like you have any real insight into life in the places you’re visiting.

Continue reading “Every photo, a story: Sea of Cortez”

Water, water, everywhere? Family walk in Isla Espíritu Santo

The imposing, bird-covered Monument rock at Ensenada El Candelero on Isla Espíritu Santo is surrounded by fish, crabs, and red seastars clinging to the rocks. After a drift around in the dinghy watching all the life thriving in the shallow water, we headed to the beach to follow a trail to a dried-up waterfall. The island is managed by CONANP (National Commission of Natural Protected Areas) and has six authorized paths for hiking, accessible from different bays. This was one of the easy ones, a 40 minute round trip according to the leaflet we were given when we bought our permit to enter National Parks on our boat, and suitable, we hoped, for a young sailor to work his land-legs. Continue reading “Water, water, everywhere? Family walk in Isla Espíritu Santo”