The first week of my trip existed in a vacuum. Equilibrio was a worthy and exhausting endeavor. It was easy to feel not far from home, surrounded by so many close friends and familiar social interactions. But once the event ended and the crowd dissipated, I got to explore a little bit of El Cuco and the surrounding area.
One day we crammed 14 people into a pickup truck, with 8 of us piled intimately in the back, and drove up to a short hike to the top of one of the area’s volcanoes, Conchagua. At the top is a mirador, or looking platform, with panoramic views of the Gulf of Fonseca and the mountains of Nicaragua and Honduras. On the way back we stopped to stroll through a colorful mountainside cemetery, and again to get some pupusas, a doughy local favorite filled with cheese and other good stuff. This town must be known for them – their town center has a whole row of competing pupuserias under a covered pavilion.
I’ll be honest, with everything I’d heard and read about how dangerous Central America can be, I was more than a little spooked the first few times I headed out on the town with my cameras. But I just stay alert and ask local people (in my pretty decent Spanish) if its a safe area to take photos. More often than not there are just certain areas travelers should avoid, and the neighbors will gladly advise. Its important not to be constantly afraid while traveling, but aware and cautious instead.
So after a week in a bubble with 120 of my peers, we all continued our journeys in different directions. A group of 10 of us, still a staggeringly large number to travel with, set off together to Honduras.