How To Relax in El Salvador

Santa Teresa Hot Springs

I sat up in my white sheets and looked ahead at the sun shining through my wood-paneled windows. The birds chirped back and forth outside as I stretched my arms above my head. I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to wake up at six in the morning without an alarm.

Breakfast was included at our suite in the Santa Teresa Hot Springs, so we gathered our clothing and followed the winding paths to the main lodge. I dabbed the fresh bread on my over easy eggs and took a bite of the toasted plantains. I can’t say I exactly enjoyed what was placed in front of me, but it’s what one can expect when the food is free. On the other hand, one amenity I absolutely could not complain about was the spa.

Coffee Break

The Spa Experience

On the far side of our private hot spring, two women greeted us cheerfully and brought us inside. I lay down on the massage table as my masseuse placed a white towel over my back. Closing my eyes, the scent of vanilla flooded the room. Disney orchestra music danced delicately in the air around us as she started a deep tissue massage on my back.

Every area of my body that had fallen victim to the wrath of our volcano climb seemed to release their knots of tension, sending a calming wave down my spine. I could’ve fallen back to sleep, until the woman lifted her hands, notifying me that it was time for the facial portion.

Seeing as I originally thought I was coming in for a mud bath, I think the receptionist and I may have gotten a few words lost in translation. Even so, I couldn’t complain. The Santa Teresa Hot Springs left us completely rejuvenated after our long journey. With that being said, we still had some catching up to do on the food front…

Juayua Food Festival

Pulling up in Juayua, we didn’t even need the location of the food festival to find it. Every street we turned down, a new family, couple, or hungry man was spotted walking toward the hub. Each weekend, this town comes alive, connecting locals through exotic food and zesty music.

Walking up to the first stand, we couldn’t resist ourselves.

“One coco smoothie and one peanut butter horchata, please.”

The sweet, frozen drink hit the spot in this heat, as each sip brought something new. From fruity milk to candied coconut and vanilla tang, I would be lying if I said the cup survived a long time in my hands. Weaving through the vendors, we came upon a sizzling grill. I was planning on trying something new, but the carne asada tacos called my name. Before I knew it, I was sitting on a picnic table in an alley enjoying a $6 full plate of food and wishing my drink was still alive to cool the spices heating up my lips. Luckily, there was no shortage of food or beverages in this neighborhood.

Garden Exploring

Finishing our lunch with dessert (local beer), we took a stroll through the plaza. Vines looped around us and up through the trees, forming a shaded path through the central garden. Following the leaves up the staircase, we were greeted with a circle of benches, surrounding a fountain. Though the fountain was not on, as soon as we sat down, it burst to life. Streams of water spouted down in grand arcs as we watched in amazement at our fate.

Juayua Fountain

Exploring Juayua

A family squiggled opposite of us, trying their best to get pictures before their ice cream melted. An older man rested in the corner with a beer, maybe passed out or maybe just enjoying the moment. A stray dog jogged up the steps and hopped into the sparkling cascade to cool off, watching the family intently to see if his lunch would involve ice cream today. Just then, a giant boom echoed through the streets.

“Fireworks!” someone squealed, pointing up at the clouds. Yesterday, our guide told us that people in El Salvador will find any reason to celebrate and they love their fireworks. I guess he was right. Finishing our beers, we headed down the opposite side of the stairs, toward the sound of the fireworks.

Amor y Paz

A church service was going on over here and we could tell by the way the gospel floated through its open doors. A few ponies and donkeys lined up outside, making just about everyone-under-three-feet-tall’s day. However, I could tell the mule didn’t specifically enjoy this task, as he reached out with his front teeth and nipped a girl’s calf as she walked by. Though I would’ve loved to stay and watch how that scene played out for the mule owner, we had a sunset to catch in La Libertad…

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