23 April 2011 | Barillas, El Salvador
Monkey walk at Barillas, El Salvador
April 23, 2011
Barillas, El Salvador
Even though when we left Bahia Del Sol we felt like we were saying goodbye to El Salvador, we did make one more quick stop in a super cool marina called Barillas. Again, this marina is set about an hour and a half in from the ocean up an estuary and we weren't 100% sure that we could make it in depending on the sea conditions and tides etc...we had been told over and over stories about how boaters had called on their VHF radio trying to contact the marina to have a panga escort come out and guide them in through the surf, but never getting an answer. Once again we have learned that sometimes you just have to check things out for yourself, that things are not always as other people say. With an e-mail a few days ahead, and a quick phone call, the marina was expecting us and eager to come out and help. Crossing the sandbar here was not nearly as exciting as the previous one, and even though at one point you actually turn your boat sideways to the waves the rolling back and forth wasn't anything our two boats (Perfect Wave and us) couldn't handle.
At this marina you are actually on mooring balls, surrounded by mangroves. It is peaceful and beautiful! Buggy, yes, I'll give it that, but 'nothing I couldn't handle. Whitney, Perfect Wave's 12 year old daughter, and I are the most squeamish about bugs. We try to support and encourage each other, and often just giggle! After all, Deet IS our new best friend! Heriberto, the manager, was the kindest most gentle soul, who loves his country so much and was eager to educate us. Immediately the next morning he arranged for us to go on the "monkey walk". About a twenty minute walk away there is a family who lives nearby and oversees about 30 spider monkeys. Some were rescue monkeys that Heriberto had received from zoos and circuses, one had been raised in a cage in a factory in Nicaragua and was too afraid to ever come out. This one I got to hold hands with. When I tried to take my hand away a little while later she just gently held on a little tighter, not wanting me to let go. The others just swing around freely in the trees, so playful and fun! It really was a special time for us!
Later on that afternoon, a very nice van picked us boaters up and took us up the side of a volcano to a quaint little colonial town for a nice lunch on a verandah overlooking the valley. Along with the driver were two heavily armed security guards. As much as we are used to seeing men in some sort of uniform carrying all types of guns, at the grocery store, gas station, bank, convenience store etc...it did surprise me that we needed to be so heavily escorted. We were grateful though for the protection. After, we drove up to see the lake that had formed in the crater of the volcano. It was really a lovely day and we felt blessed that we had stopped to stay in Barillas. Thank you Heriberto!
We ended up staying here for eight days, enjoying the restaurant, the pool, doing yoga, catching up on some serious homeschooling with our kids, and especially enjoying the quiet surroundings. This is also where we really started to bond with our buddy boat Perfect Wave. The kids are happy, the parents are happy, the boat is running well...life is good!