When it’s your first night in a new country (El Salvador), you want somewhere to relax, especially after a day of buses, taxis and border crossings. After leaving Guatemala City and crossing into El Salvador at Las Chinamas, I was heading straight for the capital city, San Salvador. At late notice, I hadn’t yet booked a hostel though but the night before I found a bed in a dorm room at Ximena’s Guesthouse so I knew I had a cool hostel to stay in on arrival. I was pretty excited!
In the heat of San Salvador, I arrived early afternoon at Ximena’s to be greeted by Wilma on reception, shown my bed which was ready, given a towel, map and the Wifi password and already I felt at home!
A quick shower and an afternoon beer on the roof terrace at Ximena’s and I knew I’d found my base for my time in El Salvador. In the end I stayed in El Salvador for a total of 11 days (kept delaying my departure as I loved it ;-)). Ximena’s was my cosy base while I stayed in the vibrant capital and it’s the perfect hub for any backpackers and travellers to El Salvador.
Here are 10 reasons why you should stay at Ximena’s Guesthouse, a good post to start off with in what could be 2-3 weeks of articles on why I loved El Salvador so much!!
The best thing about Ximena’s Guesthouse is that it provides you with information. El Salvador is not one of the most publicised tourist destinations so it’s nice to be able to get all the information you need. Owner Lena oozes information on the entire country having relocated here from Norway. The information boards in Ximena’s help plan your safe and enjoyable trip round this awesome country.
2. Rooftop Terrace
Did someone say beer garden? Yes – and Ximena’s has a great one. Very relaxing, peaceful and also – in the sun. My first few hours in the country were admittedly spent here catching up on emails and replying to some of the travel companies I work with. I enjoyed the beers on the rooftop 😉
* You can of course bring your own beer and buy it outside, but if you’re feeling relaxed and lazy just buy them here for $1.60 a bottle – ice cold Pilsener the local brew.
3. Friendly Staff
I chatted at length to all the staff over a number of nights. Always welcoming and friendly and a great excuse for me to practice Spanish!
4. To Suit All Budgets
With dorm beds costing as little as $7 US per night (6 bed dorm), this obviously fits backpackers, but for couples who want more privacy and luxury, there are also rooms for $45 US so Ximena’s has the market covered for sure.
5. Safe Neighbourhood
This is a key point. Forget all that bullsh*t on the news you read about El Salvador. I travelled all over the country for 10-11 days alone and felt safe. Yes, at night I took taxis if I was out late as you should do but this neighbourhood feels friendly and safe. You are situated on a quiet street called Calle San Salvador. So good, they named the city after it.
6. Close to Boulevard de los Heroes
All the cool stuff that you need is nearby, or even better – round the corner. Just two streets walk up a hill and you are on the lively Boulevard de los Heroes. A cool place for bars, restaurants, shops and to get a feel for modern day San Salvador. There is also a nearby bank and post office, plus the shopping mall at Metro Centro.
Close your door and relax here if you want. You’re safe and you’re private. Out of all the hostels recently, this is a good one to close off and get some work done, if like me you work on the move that is. Most of all you can enjoy the city by day and relax by night and the privacy of Ximena’s allows this.
Every time I review a hotel or hostel, you will see me mention Wi-fi. It’s a personal thing for me as I need it and love it. It’s no longer a luxury for me, it’s an essential. While some travellers travel to cut off from the world, I travel to write about the world and thankfully in Ximena’s I had good wifi to get online and keep blogging away, like my articles on Indigo Workshop and Casa Blanca!
As I said you are just up the street from Boulevard de los Heroes. All the main bus routes through the city run here. You can get the Bus #30 to downtown, the bus #44 to Terminal de Occidente and the bus #101D to the swanky La Gran Via plaza. If you even get stuck, there’s a taxi stand round the corner too – very useful at night but make sure you bargain down the price a bit. I jaunted across the city for $4 US when I used a taxi. The buses are only 20 cents though, so I used them in the daytime.
10. Local Restaurants
Can you eat decent food in San Salvador? Hell yes!!! Just a 5-6 minute walk away is El Sopon Tipico, my favourite restaurant in San Salvador. I loved this restaurant so much that I visited 4 times, had a regular meal I ordered (Chorizo Tipico) knew the staff and became good friends with the owner Iris! Get ready for this Friday’s Featured Food on El Salvadorian cuisine!!
11. Local Bars
First night after checking out the local area, I met two cool Austrian girls in the hostel – asked them if they fancied going to a local pub so we did – Leyendas. In there not only did we love the atmosphere and drinks, but we made a lot of new friends.
So much so that I got invited out to party with them all again when I returned to San Salvador the following week (I jaunted to Barra de Santiago, Chalchuapa and Santa Ana in between times). Had so many good nights out in bars close by up at Pasaje 1. Plus if you want to go really local, there is a karaoke bar round the corner and a Maya Burger restaurant there too.
So once I’ve convinced you to visit El Salvador, just get Ximena’s booked and get your bearings to see what is a truly wonderfully proud and hard working country. The people of El Salvador are waiting for you…
Book Ximena’s on Agoda
Contact details for Ximena’s:
If you need to make a reservation or get further information please fill in the form on the above link and Ximena’s will get back to you.
If you wish to write to Ximena’s directly the email is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone number to front desk is (503) 2260-2481, for assistance in English call (503) 7860-8632
Here are my videos from Ximena’s: