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Overview

It’s easy to see why this region in western El Salvador is one of the country’s best known tourist destinations. The mountainous landscape and mild climate are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and swimming, and the villages boast stately colonial architecture. However, the area is far from overrun, and you may often find yourself the only tourist in sight. This is the ancestral home of the Pipil culture, and some residents still speak the ancient Nahuatl language. Today the inhabitants cultivate some of the country's finest coffee — a tour of a coffee "finca" is a must — and produce wonderful local handicrafts and art. ...

It’s easy to see why this region in western El Salvador is one of the country’s best known tourist destinations. The mountainous landscape and mild climate are perfect for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and swimming, and the villages boast stately colonial architecture. However, the area is far from overrun, and you may often find yourself the only tourist in sight. This is the ancestral home of the Pipil culture, and some residents still speak the ancient Nahuatl language. Today the inhabitants cultivate some of the country's finest coffee — a tour of a coffee "finca" is a must — and produce wonderful local handicrafts and art. The Route of Flowers begins in the uninteresting regional capital Sonsonate. From here, a picturesque road winds high into the mountains, through several sleepy villages, each with its lovingly-preserved colonial church — the one in Salcoatitán is especially renowned. Nahuizalco is famous for handmade furniture of wicker and tule, and its unique nighttime market. Juayúa is decorated with beautiful murals, and its food festival draws crowds every weekend. The nearby waterfall Los Chorros de la Calera is an idyllic place for a swim. The road climbs higher, past 1500 meters (4,921 feet) of altitude, to Apaneca and the route’s most expansive vistas. At Laguna Verde and Laguna de las Ninfas, flowers frame limpid lakes in the craters of extinct volcanoes. In Concepción de Ataco, the locals specialize in making colorful woven fabrics and musical instruments.

Charlie Morris
About the Expert

Charlie Morris is the author of the Open Road guidebooks Best of Honduras, Best of Costa Rica, Best of Belize, and Switzerland Guide.

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Charlie Morris for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    November-April (the dry season)