Taking the bus from Nicaragua to Guatemala was never going to be fun. 10 hours from Managua to San Salvador crossing two borders with ridiculous waiting times and numerous guards carrying guns was never going to be fun.
I was weirdly surprised by my overnight stay in San Salavador however. The American Embassy has several long paragraphs of warning on its website telling citizens not to visit Honduras and El Salvador because of their high murder rates.
Indeed, both countries are known for their drug gangs or “maras”. Like most gangs, these operate in certain neighbourhoods of big cities – Tegucigalpa, San Pedro Sula and San Salvador are supposed to be particularly dangerous.
And yes, the hostel that I stayed at across the road from the San Benito bus terminal in San Salvador did have an armed guard and advised not walking alone at dark. However, a dutch girl I met and myself made a quick walk down to the ATM and found ourselves surrounded by numerous fast food chains – she even purchased some pizza from “Pizza Hut”.
So often are both Honduras and El Salvador skipped and it is understandable. Rumours flying around made me anxious about travelling alone through the countries. All that I can say on this subject is that I hope the security situation will improve one day and people like me will be able to experience the numerous places that the countries have to offer, in spite of the gang history.
I made it to Guatemala City tired and hungry and was advised, once again, that it was not safe to take the public transport in the city and so took a shuttle to Antigua with some of the girls I met from the bus. I originally wanted to head straight to Atitlan, but the shuttle timings meant I was too late to make it there that evening. Henceforth, I will be staying in Antigua for Semana Santa. The city is supposed to have one of the best celebrations for this in all of Latin America, so I am quite excited.