At home on the Pacific

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Midway through Christmas day we finally made it out to the beach. After sleeping off a long day of bus rides in San Salvador, the two short hops out to the coast on a chicken bus felt like nothing. The bus crept up a big hill and suddenly the ocean sprang up out of nowhere. With sun glistening off the water and perfectly clear skies, it felt like our tumultuous travel days to get here were entirely worth it.

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El Tunco is a black sand beach about 7km north of La Libertad. It’s a surf destination and is simply too small to pose much else for those uninterested in catching waves. The town is little more than a series of guesthouses and a few restaurants. But it’s about a block from the beach, it’s easy to learn your way around, and it’s a great place to relax. After three days of travel, we were ready to do just that. …If it weren’t for the hundreds of others who had the same idea as us.

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Due to the holiday, the beach was packed with locals and travelers alike. There weren’t many options for housing, and so our first night was spent in something that could best be described as a cinderblock shack. It was inexpensive, as a cinderblock box should be, and unsurprisingly it was available at late notice on Christmas day. Unfortunately the place did not have a kitchen. We enjoyed a feast of crackers and an avocado we had in our backpack and called it a night. It was luckily the final ornament to decorate our already eventful holiday. Things got much, much better from here.

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The following day the town broke it’s way out of holiday mode. Restaurants were open early, the beach was notably less crowded, and a line of cars developed along the road as people wrapped up their Christmas weekend. We found a beautiful room in a guesthouse a few lots away and eagerly moved over to our new space. A pool, a kitchen, a comfortable outdoor space… it was everything we had hoped to find.

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Our Christmas might have been less than noteworthy, but the week following ended up being a highlight. El Tunco defines the tiny beach towns the Pacific is known for. We are back at the shore of our ‘home ocean’, and despite being significantly farther south- it feels familiar.

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