Visiting The Ruta De Las Flores in El Salvador

When visiting El Salvador, it is essential to travel through the Route of Flowers (or “Ruta de las Flores” in Spanish). It is a series of picturesque villages that show in their architecture the most beautiful combination of the colonial age with the indigenous culture.

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Like any rural area life in the Route of Flowers life is calm and peaceful. Here,  the food features flavors and combinations unique to the area, while people and friendly and  attentive to visitors. It is possible to explore many areas on foot; through historical town centres, local markets and a hike through the Cordillera Apaneca is an excellent way to enjoy a volcanic forest full of pine trees, waterfalls, the Green Lagoon of Apaneca and beautiful white flowers that bloom in May.

The Route of Flowers passes through 6 towns: Nahuizalco, Salcoatitan, Juayua, Apaneca, Ataco and Tacuba, each with its own individual charm. Let's know them one by one.

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Nahuizalco Colonial Church

Nahuizalco: The village of crafts with natural fibers

Nahuizalco means “The city of 4 Izalcos” and refers to the families that founded the place. It´is a beautiful town located 70 km from San Salvador, with a strong presence of indigenous population and a colonial church built in the seventeenth century.

Here is recommended to visit the “Mercado Nocturno”, a place full of the magic of the local culture that is raised at night and lit with candles.

Salcoatitan: The city of artists

Salcoatitan means in the Nahuatl language “The City of Quetzalcoatl”, god of the wind and star of the dawn. It is a town located at 1045 meters above sea level that stands out for offering to the public art galleries and permanent art exhibitions that combine the taste for color and the naïve essence of local artists. Visit the “Plaza de Armas” to taste local food, a must of the trip.

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Juayua Catholic Church

Juayua: The stop of the orchids

Juayua means “River of Purple Orchids” and is one of the emblematic cities of the Route of Flowers. Its attraction lies in the beautiful plants that are offered in its nurseries, its traditional gastronomic fair on weekends, its spectacular landscapes and its offer in gourmet coffee.

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Los Chorros de La Calera (The Calera Falls)

Among the main natural attractions of Juayua we can find the waterfall “Los Chorros de La Calera” (La Calera Falls), just 2 km from the city and the lagoon of the frogs, with spectacular scenery.

Pronounced: Juayua (Who-I-You-A)

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Beautiful memories from the Juayua's gastronomical festival
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Gastronomical Festival During Weekends

Weekends are full of delicious food on the streets of Juayua. There are different options available from Chicken, fish, beef to shrimps, Pelibuey sheep rabbits, snakes, and many more. Definitely one of the top highlights in Ruta de Las Flores.

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Apaneca Catholic Church

Apaneca: Between archeological hiking and gourmet coffee

Located at 14777 meters above sea level, Apaneca is the population of the Route of Flowers that is higher. The name Apaneca means “River of the Wind” in Nahuatl, due to the pleasant air currents that form in the area. If you want to enjoy a place full of magic, you can´t stop enjoying the “Laguna de las Ninfas” (Nymph Lagoon), so called because it is covered with flowers.

Apaneca also stands out for its archaeological sites, its landscape and the excellent quality of its coffee. Its colorful adobe houses, cobbled streets and particular craftsmanship attract the attention of tourists. In addition, the archaeological site “Santa Leticia” (located in the hacienda of the same name), draws attention for having 3 large indigenous sculptures that are 25,000 years old.

The Laberinto de albania (The Alabani Labyrinth) is the newest attraction in Apaneca as well as in the entire Ruta de Las Flores.

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You can find painted walls all over the town, this is one of the most popular walls.

Ataco: A city between cobbled roads of the Colony

Ataco is a beautiful coffee colonial city full of nostalgia, the atmosphere of the area transports one directly into the past. It is surrounded by mountains and full of magic, as its cobblestone streets, coffee fields, semi-perennial fog and craft workshops recreate the feeling of colonial El Salvador.

Ataco bases its economy on artisan production with natural fibers. There it is recommended to visit the Artisan Development Center to learn about the creativity and beauty of local artisans.

If you want to make the most of the Ataco experience (which means “Place of High Water Springs” in Nahuatl), you can visit its “Plaza Central” on weekend evenings and enjoy drinks and typical dishes alongside locals and Salvadorian holiday makers alike.

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Coffee Plantation Tour in Ataco

Coffee Plantation tours are available when visiting Ataco, visitors can learn the entire process of producing a world class cup of coffee from picking the cherries to roasting and cupping different types of coffee.

If you visit Ruta de Las Flores don’t forget to take a coffee tour, it will change the way you enjoy coffee.

Recommendations to visit Ruta de Las Flores

Like any exotic tourist destination, it is necessary to take the corresponding forecasts to avoid setbacks, so keep in mind the following:

  • Vaccinate against malaria (aka paludism), dengue and chikungunya, local diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
  • Always drink bottled and branded drinks, in order to prevent stomach infections.
  • Use cool and comfortable clothes, hats and sunglasses at day.
  • Wear a light sweater at night.
  • - Bring a swimsuit to enjoy the lagoons and waterfalls
  • Bring sunscreen and insect repellent.

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