Summer Tease to Winter Freeze

co-authored by Tracey Kaplan and Steph Wells

Tracey: “Steph! My whole team is in Europe; I’ll work from SF and we can plaaay!”

Tracey (2 days later): “Ah I have to go to El Salvador for work, so no play time….but, want to come to El Sal?!”

Steph: “Fuck Yes!”

Steph (2 days later): “Tickets booked!”


And that is how Spontaneous Steph and Traveling Tracey came to spend a #romanticgetaway in El Salvador with Jimmy, D’Arcy, Mazey, Lakshmi, lots of pupusas and much Spanglish.

Tracey welcomed Steph to El Sal with a homemade sign and the best pupusas in the world.

After a long day of travel we settled into our presidential palace (whatup Sheraton) and went to bed early in prep for our weekend a la playa!

The next morning, Tracey went mountain biking and didn’t invite me, but it’s fine…

It’s true. That is what happened. We only had 2 bikes!

After Tracey returns from her mountain biking adventure, we have our first of many delicious Sheraton breakfasts (can you say FRIJOLES?!). Then, we hop in the car with Jimmy, our personal bodyguard, driver, and spanish teacher, and set off for LA PLAYA!



We arrive at the Dulcevilla Bed Breakfast & Spa and are greeted by D’Arcy, Sean, and most importantly, Mazey the dog (short for Amazing; her sister’s name is Grace).


This was no ordinary cute little B&B; this was the most beautiful, wonderful spot you could imagine, with an infinity pool perched on a cliff overlooking the ocean…  It was jaw droppingly awe inspiring.

A side note on D’Arcy. The woman is the world’s best upseller (Tracey is hiring her on her future sales team) and the world’s worst photographer (save one shot).

Here is how we were upsold:

  • Wine with dinner.
  • Dessert with dinner
  • Toppings on the dessert
  • Coconuts
  • Massages on the ocean
  • Boogie boards. She wasn’t successful here, but she legit asked us 5 times if we wanted to boogie board.

Upon arriving at the guesthouse, Tracey immediately walks right into the glass door.

It was REALLY clean.

D’arcy and Sean then tell her to not feel bad, because they previously had a guest who not only walked into the glass door, but walked through it, and shattered it.  So, no worries, T.

After opening and successfully walking through the doorway, we adventure down to the beach. During high tide, D’Arcy advised us to walk to the beach via the street.


But of course because Tracey is a dare devil, we did not follow her advice.  Tracey dragged Steph down the steps, into the water while the waves violently crashed on the rocks.  “Come on Steph, we’re almost there….” 15 minutes later, foot bleeding… still not there.

But then, we were there! And it was a beautiful black sand beach with crystal clear*, warm water.

*Author’s note: El Salvador water is not crystal clear. It’s actually quite murky. But the sentence “It was a beautiful black sand beach with murky, warm water” really kills the vibe.

Because this was our very own private beach and the water was delightfully warm, we said “When in El Salvador!” and stripped down to frolic free and gleefully in the bath-like ocean. After our quick dip we laid in the sand and soaked up some Central American rays.  I wish we had a photo of Tracey covered in sand. It. was. everywhere.

It wasn’t actually our own private beach. In fact, we ran into many other people.

Unadventurous Steph made us walk on the road back to the house… (Steph wrote that herself, y’all)

After frolicking in the ocean, D’Arcy and Sean served us a delightful and romantic dinner (at 3:30pm)  on the ocean-front property. We masticated the delightful cuisines as the ocean waves lapped in the distance and the sun set.

Let’s talk about this sunset…. This was no ordinary sunset.  This was a MAGNIFICENT RADIANT warm orange pink red ahhhmaaaazzzingggg sunset.  As the sun was setting D’arcy poured wine out of the bottle we mysteriously purchased from her at some point (and then spent hours speculating how expensive of a bottle D’Arcy had picked for us).  We played the ukulele and sipped on some merlot as we watched the sun dip slowly into the horizon.  It was fucking brilliant.


Once night struck, Steph fished out her rave gloves with light-up fingertips, some crazy jams, and took some very incriminating videos of me being a thug rapper with a towel over my head and rave gloves on. @Steph: Please never get angry with me.


Before Sean and D’arcy went to bed upstairs, we asked if the music bothered them… they replied, “Oh no, of course not. We love it!”  So we kept it going… and maybe increased the volume a touch…and invited a few people... and that is how we ended up in Salvadorian jail.


Butttt Sean did come out on the balcony and say “hey girls… our neighbors aren’t very cool and sometimes get mad about noise… any chance you could turn it down?” I can’t wait to see where Steph is going with this anecdote…looks like nowhere…

After we finished the rave, we took a midnight adventure Tracey dragged Steph to the tide pools, where we poked anemones and tried desperately not to step on one of the 8 million crabs roaming about.

Steph, ready to adventure!

Once we got back from our adventure (approximately 5 minutes after it began)….

We decided it was time to get into bed? We danced more? We brushed our teeth? We analyzed sleep positions for 20 minutes?  I don’t remember what happened after the tide pools!!!  Neither do I…moving on….

Sunday morning we rose bright and early with the sun…which is ironic because we spent a good amount of time the night before duct taping the blackout curtains together to not allow any light in…. we somehow missed the giant glass window with no shade right above our bed.

We are then treated to the best part of a B&B. The B! The second B. The BREAKFAST!! It was beyond delicious…Steph, tell us about it.  

Not only was it delicious…a three egg omelette with cheese and spinach along with toast smothered in honey that came from the local bees of El Salvador (Sean told us he drives hours to pick up a gallon jug of honey from the mountain bee farmers).  But the setting really sealed the deal.  We ate on the bar overlooking the ocean and again, it was fucking brilliant.

Then, guess what we did after breakfast?! 

We had massages… outside…on the edge of the cliff hanging over the ocean. #reallife.  Shame D’arcy couldn’t organize our #couplesmassage but it was just delightful regardless.

After the massages, D’arcy, the upsell queen herself asked us if we’d like some fresh coconuts…. why of course we would, thank you D’arcy *cheers*

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After some light reading in the infinity pool and slurping up our coconut water, we made our way down to the beach again (Steph made us take the road #solame) (Once again, Steph wrote that herself, y’all).  After a nice swim, we smashed our coconuts on the rocks and took them back to the palace to eat.


We then wrap up our beautiful, magical weekend with a romantic sunset dinner, where we meet Romeu. With a U. Romeu is a Brazilian, living in El Salvador. He does the classic move of giving the waiter a note to give to us. And by us, I mean Steph.IMG_1087

 Steph and I then chat with Romeu, in Espanol, for at least 20 minutes! (I think it was like 40 min) We were so proud of ourselves! And frankly exhausted. Talking in Spanish really takes it outta you.

Monday unfortunately arrives and Tracey must go off to do the job that she came to El Salvador to do… #smuggledrugs


So Tracey goes off to work and I get online to start my work day @ Liftopia… by the pool… Nothing like talking about skiing all day when it’s 90 degrees outside!  I had an excellent lunch at the poolside restaurant @ the Sheraton which I maybe over reacted by calling it “the best chicken panini I’ve ever had.”  But it was damn good…


She definitely overreacted. I came home (“home” aka hotel) for lunch the next day to have that chicken panini with her! It was good. But best ever? Nahhh.

But was it worth seeing Steph? Yes.

Tracey eventually returns home from work and we walk to a local seafood spot where we get lobster (!) and what reads “arana” on the menu…aka spider! I ask the waiter what the spider dish and he explains it’s squid shaped like spiders. Obviously we order that. And it was AWESOME.

 But at the end of this meal we’re like damn, “you know what I really want?? A warm gooey brownie with ice cream!” Where on earth are we gonna find that in El Salvador?  DENNY’S.  That’s where.  So we shamefully walk into Denny’s… order our chocolate brownie a la mode (con helado) when every waiter in the restaurant comes over to our table and asks us if it’s someones birthday… we’re like “HELL YES IT’S HER BIRTHDAY!” (SU CUMPLEANOS! SU CUMPLEANOS!) (It was no one’s birthday) One of them grabs Tracey’s hand and spins her around, dancing with her while the rest of the group claps and bangs on drums and shakes things and such! It was a riot! And the most authentic experience we had throughout our entire trip.  You read that correctly, the most authentic moment of our trip was in Denny’s.

SO good

SO good

See “Dancing in Denny’s here.

 The rest of the week is spent working, then having fancy dinners on volcanoes. At some point, Lakshmi joins us in El Salvador. We eat more pupusas. Steph gives Lak and I a rave dancing show with her light up gloves before work one morning. We speak more Spanish. Some other stuff probably happens….Steph – help me out here!


On our final night I told Tracey to come up with an awesome dinner plan to celebrate… we ended up dining in a tree house on top of a volcano overlooking all of San Salvador, under a full moon. #winning  It was epic.

Also, I make Steph take Trainer Tracey’s Torture workout one day before work (and before breakfast) and girlfriend looked like she wanted to kill me the entire time. Another day at work, I was so desperate for a workout, I said “yes” when my colleague asked if I wanted to go swimming. A few reasons this is surprising:

  • I do not love swimming. It is so boring.
  • I did not have any swim clothes. I wore my sports bra and workout pants and every time I forgot about this and kicked off the wall, my pants came down.

Fun anecdote… Because my week was bound to end at Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine, I (occasionally with the help of Tracey) carried my ski boots around Central America.  The flight attendant while boarding the flight to ES said, “Honey you know there’s no snow there right?”

I departed El Salvador around lunch time, and was thankfully able to convince Jimmy to stop in the Pupusa barrio again on our way to the airport! Jimmy and I spoke only in Spanish the whole way to the airport as he told me stories about his family and his #fiesta days back at the discoteca.


Upon arrival at the airport, it’s a SHITSHOW.  Every single El Salvadorian traveler has at minimum 15 family members accompanying him or her.  They don’t leave their side until they must at security, at which point they just run around the corner to catch one last “hasta luego!”

On behalf of Tracey and I, we would like to thank you for reading our co-written blog. We hope you had .001%  fun reading it as we did writing it*, and didn’t get confused with our very unprofessional way of differentiating our voices.

*Some of our emotions expressed while co-writing this blog:

  • i love us. bahahah insert crying laughing emoji
  • ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤
  • LOL! I forgot about that!!
  • We’re so funny.

3 thoughts on “Summer Tease to Winter Freeze

  1. stephanieip says:

    can i just say that while this adventure sounds really awesome, i am also really jealous that you have a new traveling partner who is also named stephanie. i miss you!

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