Antigua was behind us as our minivan trundled on destined for Guatemala City for a bus change, and then onto Santa Ana, El Salvador. Fortunately we only had 1 hour in Guatemala City, it was a chaotic and broken city with no clear system in place for habitation, like the population were placed there in one go and told to make do with whatever they could find.
We had to go to a cash point and buy some food, not a task I was looking forward to considering that I was a walking target, whiter than the rest and loaded up with almost everything I owned. After successfully getting things done without coming a cropper, we returned to the bus station to get the hell out of there.
We arrived in Santa Ana in the late evening and were welcomed with open arms at the the Villa Napoli hotel by it’s owner Rosy and her son Guillermo. The hotel was hidden away and surrounded by fruit trees and wildlife. The rooms were very comfortable and there was a kitchen adjacent to the rooms for those who wanted to cook for themselves. Almost every wall in the hotel is adorned with art that Rosy has created, beautiful art using all kinds of recycled material. Rosy spoke to us at length about her inspirational father who had been killed in the civil war, he was of Italian descent, hence the hotel’s name, and by all accounts was a huge public figure in he area, there is a mural dedicated to him on one of the walls that Rosy has created to pay homage.
The outside areas really give this hotel quality. A swimming pool with decked seating areas at the higher part of the hotel and down below, by the rooms, was a long table, perfect for working and eating, and a curtained off veranda that offered beautiful views to eat breakfast to!
On the first morning Guillermo kindly took us down to the supermarket which was around a 10 minute drive away, he dutifully waited of us and took us back afterwards, both Rosy and Guillermo really did all they could to ensure our stay was as comfortable as possible.
We left on the third day at 5am for San Salvador to get a bus to San Pedro Sula, our next destination, we agreed with Guillermo a small price to take us on the hour and a half journey, proving much safer than taxi. We arrived in San Salvador at 715 and our bus had left at 7am prompt, so rare for a Latin service! Following our catastrophic failure hiring Guillermo to take us was proving to be a masterstroke, he did everything he could to arrange an alternative option for us. We ended up having to return to Santa Ana and spending another night at the hotel and Guillermo managed to arrange transport for us the following day from the hotel all the way to San Pedro Sula. Had we taken a taxi to San Salvador like we originally planned then I have no idea what we would’ve ended doing, probably taking a risk and hopping on a chicken bus, something I didn’t fancy doing in Honduras whilst carrying my life in a bag.
Simply put, this hotel is beautifully decorated, very comfortable and incredibly close to all of El Salvador’s biggest attractions, the beach is 20 minutes away, the Santa Ana volcano is 30 minutes way and the Caotepeque lake is around 30/40 minutes away. If you are in Santa Ana then get yourself to the Villa Napoli for great comfort and hospitality.