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Up Close and Personal

When we targeted the volcanoes of El Salvador, we had some major setbacks. But not with the famed Volcán de Izalco, a stratovolcano featured on the Salvadoran currency.

Record books say they’re the tallest flying birds of South and Central America. The stork, which IUCN categorized as near threatened until 1988, is now a common sight in Pantanal in the Mato Grosso region. In fact, their appearance is a welcome break from the intense eye-catching greenery of the region.

The greatest news for me here I guess is the fact that this was my first time in life driving a standard (manual) car. To make this even more memorable, we decided to visit an extinct volcano crater, and so going up the mountain was far from fun. Most of all, this is Central America, with free-for-all driving rules and hordes of locals out on Christmas day. But I think I was able to ace it!

The country, or at least the capital San Salvador, surprisingly, is a clean, tidy city, and the roads could easily rival those in the west. 

Here's a drone shot of San Andrés, an ancient Mayan agricultural town from ca. 900 BC, about 40 km from the capital. Certainly not as impressive as those in Belize and Guatemala, it still holds the charm of being of a manageable size, and there are fewer tourists to be around.

This isn't the crater. It’s simply the center of the volcanic crater. The shadows that divide the image diagonally might give some idea about how huge the crater itself is. I wasn't able to fit it within the frame of my drone lens even from the highest statutory altitude of 394 feet.

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