I sat cross-legged on the floor of my boyfriend‘s room, listening to him ramble about some place (Hotel Michanti), some guy (Felipe), and some super sick surf spot (El Zonte) before I couldn’t take it anymore. I had the itch to take off and see it for myself. I whipped out a laptop, did some research, and about an hour later, our flights and rooms were booked.
December 14, 2020, Schyler and I packed our bags, kissed US soil goodbye, and with high nerves headed to El Salvador’s home of adventure. The trip was one for the books. Every day was welcomed with the smell of locally harvested, ground, and brewed coffee. A highlight of every meal was its true farm-to-table quality. Of all the delicious dishes, my go-to was a colorful arrangement of banana, watermelon, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, and other fresh local fruits. Each bite is sweet, juicy, smooth, and refreshing. On the side of my fruit bowl was always a cup of granola, local yogurt, and silky honey to top it off. Each morning was such a dream it was hard to feel like we even woke up!
Our moments were timeless with Hotel Michanti- I’m not shy to admit that they mastered a traveler’s ideal mix of adventure and relaxation. The beach and point break are located a very short and enjoyable walk from the stay, making surf days absolutely perfect. Felipe set me up with a great local instructor, Tito, for my first day in the water, while he and Schyler tore up a nearby break. I had the time of my life! While getting tossed around by the waves, I would look up at Playa El Zonte’s astonishing jungle and cave formations, never feeling anything but pure joy.
While the sparkle in the black sand can mesmerize you into staying at the beach forever, the staff at Hotel Michanti will encourage you to take on many other experiences they offer. It’s the map you need to discover so many of El Salvador’s hidden treasures. I highly recommend hiking Las Cascadas de Tamanique and going on a Coffee Tour with Rivas- he’s the coolest local guide and teacher, who after just an hour you will consider a friend! Because the main goal of our visit was to surf, days on land were limited. We missed out on some trips that looked absolutely amazing, one being the hike up the Santa Ana volcano. But that’s okay, it gives us plenty of reasons to go back!
Our trip wouldn’t have been nearly as complete without the support of Felipe, whose efforts to put us on great waves, great food, and introduce us to great people are unmatched. Every cold shower was worth it! During our first day with Felipe, Schyler asked him where the name of the hotel, Michanti, originated. He explained how many places, people, and things utilize names from their region’s native language. In Central American and El Salvador, Nawat was one of the most prominent native languages before European colonization. In Nawat, Michanti means “my home”. Michanti, tu-chanti, nuestro-chanti. My home, your home, our home. Let’s adventure.
(A big thank you to Felipe, Pablo, Michanti’s staff, and the rest of El Salvador that made our experience so unforgettable. See you again soon!)
Lovely words written by: Mia D’Orazio