I found my way to Volcan de Guazapa thanks to my guidebook. It stated that the volcano played an important role in the civil war and therefore I went to the town of Suchitoto to investigate this story further. When I arrived yesterday, I immediately looked around town for a guide to visit Volcan de Guazapa and luckily I managed to find one on short notice. I was told that I would get picked up in a red car in front of the bakery at 7.30 am by a guy called Orlando.
Feeling quite comfortable in El Salvador, I was curious what the day would bring. Around 8 o’clock a pickup arrived and to my relief it had a Guazapa Tours sticker on the side. From there on the day unfolded quite pleasantly. We drove to the volcano and started the day in an onsite museum that explained the various aspects of this volcano. It served as the headquarter of the RN (Resistencia Nacional) combatants in the civil war. At the peak of the conflict, there were 15 RN villages and about 1000 people living in the forest in the upper parts of Guazapa volcano. After the introduction, we went up to see the remains the trenches, a field hospital, a school and a few air shelters.
It was an interesting day. I still find it hard to believe that the RN managed to resist for nearly 20 years up on the mountain, in the jungle. They had no electricity and the dwellings were pretty modest. Being there in the rainy season is certainly an experience I do not want to share with them among many other things.
Unfortunately, the sites were not very photogenic, since the rebels build everything out of stones, mud brick, and other organic material. Therefore, there is hardly anything left to see but all the more to imagine. Coming from Germany and used to seeing big concrete bunkers, it was nice to see such an ecological friendly warzone.
Since I did not get a single image out of this excursion I decided to take another approach to photograph the volcano. Therefore I went to Lago Suchitoto in the afternoon to get a decent sunset shot. As I was sitting at the shore, writing this text, I realized that the ferry had changed its landing position from the previous day due to a massive shift of the water hyacinth. I started to run around the shore in search of the ferry and I really was not sure if I was going to make it but I got lucky. The ferry was stuck in the hyacinths and as it turned out, it had to make a round trip because there was an important car waiting on the other side. Thanks to the delay and the car I got to see this beautiful sunset and take my shot with Volcan de Guazapa in the background. It does not fit the story well, but hey, the war is long over.
Returning after nightfall, I was little worried about walking back to town. Being lucky again “Mr. Spezial” the guy with the car from the other side offered me a ride home and so another adventurous day came to a happy end.