Back to the familiar US dollar – El Salvador’s official currency since 2001! They also use $1 coins, which is unique since in the US everybody still uses the one dollar bill (for reasons not completely understood). As a side note, it seems odd that El Salvador would adopt the US currency, considering that the US heavily supported the “bad guys” during the Salvadoran Civil War in the 1980’s…
At the peak of cold-war madness, the US supported the military death squads in El Salvador that targeted civilians and resulted in countless human rights violations. For some reason, the US really enjoyed promoting a variety of atrocities in Central America during the 20th century. If you’re interested, another disturbing piece of history is the 1954 Guatemalan coup d’état, where the US stomped democracy in Guatemala and installed a series of military dictators to support the United Fruit Company (now Chiquita). Knowing the violent history of these countries and the US involvement, it’s a little disconcerting to have Nevada plates on Bruno as we travel. So far, these worries have proved unfounded, as everyone we’ve met has been friendly. Those we’ve engaged in discussions about any ill feelings towards the US are educated enough to differentiate between a government’s decisions and its people.
We stayed a very short time in El Salvador, but managed to keep our costs down to a trip low. We returned to camping in Bruno, something we hadn’t done since Mexico. We missed you, Brunosaurus!
Total days spent in El Salvador = 6
Distance traveled in El Salvador = 220 mi / 354 km
Total Trip Distance To-Date = 4,178 mi / 6,724 km
Costs (in USD):
To enter and exit El Salvador = $0 (Just a couple hours of our lives we will never get back…)
Bruno Parts & Maintenance = $0 (Another zero. Don’t want to jinx it, but this is more proof of the lovable workhorse that is Bruno.)
Food = $99.31 (Still keeping to our usual split of 30% restaurants, 70% groceries. Cheapest eats were a couple of pupusas for $2.85. Travis and I weren’t crazy about this Salvadoran ‘fast food’ and they weren’t interesting enough to take pictures of.)
Food divided by 6 days = $16.55 per day, $8.28 per person per day.
Percent Camping = 33% (2 days out of 6)
Percent Hotel/Airbnb = 67%
Total cost of Camping = $17.00 (Average cost per night = $8.50)
Total cost of Hotel/Airbnb = $96.00 (Average cost per night = $24.00)
Gas for Bruno = $40.00 (Only one fill-up needed to cover this small country. Prices were about $0.83/L or $3.14/gal at the beginning of May and there were several companies to choose from.)
Costs of what we have titled “funfunfun” = $10.00 (for entry to the Aguas Termales Alicante, the rest of our fun was had for free!)
Total costs for El Salvador = $262.31
Cost per day (6 days) = $43.72
We camped more and continued to live cheaply. Although all roads lead to San Salvador, we stopped and stayed in a handful of the small towns and managed to stay out of the city. Strolling the town squares, short hikes, and lakeside book reading… most of our activities were free and enjoyed outdoors.
Other Interesting Stats:
# of El Salvador ‘department’ lines crossed = 8 out of 14
Run ins with cops = Many! We camped right outside a friendly police station.
Hit and runs = 0 (Hurray! Only because Travis won’t let Amanda drive anymore – just kidding)
Number of times Travis’ smile bargained down the price of fruit = Once or twice (Best price we got was $1.00 for an entire watermelon 🙂 )