So after taking a 3-hour chicken bus ride from San Salvador my best friend and I arrived in Suchitoto, or Suchi, as the locals call it. Honestly, this place wasn’t really on my list of must-see’s in El Salvador, but bbuddy has a certain penchant for handmade crafts and Suchi is known for its indigo trade, so there we were… in the hottest city in El Salvador.
We visited on Monday after a weekend on the Ruta de Flores, where we ate some of the best food known to man at Gastronomia Food Festival. This may have been a mistake, as we found that even at 11am about half the shops were closed or in the process of closing for lunch/siesta time.
My first impression of the city was basically… Holy Fuck it’s really hot here… I have to admit one gets a bit spoiled in San Salvador where the elevation is roughly 2,200 feet above sea level which helps to moderate the high temperatures found in the surrounding areas. Otherwise the overall feel of the town is just very sleepy and slow paced—something I quite enjoy.
We found our way from where the bus dropped us off to the central park, which is pretty much a giant cement expanse with a few trees here and there and a fountain in the middle that wasn’t running. This was somewhat unusual compared to many of the other small towns in El Salvador we had visited during our first week in which the central park was more like a garden than a parking lot. Additionally, the lack of shade did nothing to tame the scorching sun. Oh well, I can appreciate a town for what it is… we didn’t come for a picnic, we came to buy weird local crafts.
James has a nose for finding shops and he led me straight to the indigo. While my Spanish is pretty basic, his Spanish consists of nothing but the oddest set of nouns so when it comes to prices I’m the man. The first shop we entered was ripe with the blue tinge of indigo, and it took no time for James to spot a certain table runner than tickled his fancy. I brought it to the owner who politely told me it was $95… yes $95 for a 6 foot by 1 foot table runner. What the hell? We both almost fell over considering on our trip in El Salvador nothing cost more than $5. I scoffed and told James we’d go elsewhere, this guy was trying to take us for a ride… and he wasn’t even that cute.
Time and time again we were confronted by the most insane prices for this blue tie-dye crap, so we just gave up and grabbed some lunch, which ironically was also quite overpriced. In the end, I got a magnet and James picked up a painted cross thing. Drenched in sweat and empty handed we headed back to the chicken bus and hightailed it to our basecamp in San Salvador.
While we didn’t quite accomplish our mission, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything, and I still think if you get the chance to visit this small town you should. Even if it wasn’t heaven for us, it might be just what you were looking for, and there is only one way to find out!
Also if you have a thing for plates, you really must check out the incredibly odd Museum of 1000 Plates. The $1 admission might be a bit steep, but it’s just so bizarre you have to see it for yourself. I think that place alone made the day trip worth the heat and hassle!