Flower Route: The Best of El Salvador
The Flower Route of El Salvador, known as La Ruta de las Flores, is one of El Salvador’s best destinations. This series of little towns – called pueblos – are located in the mountains of Ahuachapan. This region is filled with stunning nature and charming pueblos with welcoming people. The mountains are home to some of the best coffee in El Salvador and during the weekends all the towns are abundant of festivities and good food.
This guide takes you through the best activities around the Flower Route as well as the surrounding areas.
Juayua is famous for its weekend food festival. Every week on Saturday and Sunday, the main square is filled with different food stands.
Here you’ll find the best food of El Salvador and an amazing feeling of festivities around town.
Juayua was my favorite pueblo around El Salvador and it is also the town where I stayed the longest.
I attended three different weekend food festivals and they were all as crowded. Salvadorans from the capital and other towns often come to Juayua on weekends to enjoy the festivities.
The town is so alive during the weekend and so calm during the week. Sometimes there are parades, traditional dances and there is always good music.
Aside from the food festival, Juayua is also home to one of El Salvador’s greatest waterfall. Chorros de la Calera is the perfect place to go relax and swim. You can go directly to the waterfall by walking 30 min from the town square or by taking a 2$ USD tuk tuk ride.
If you love waterfalls and hiking, then I recommend the Seven Waterfalls Tour. This tour takes you in the jungle hiking and repelling down waterfalls and the tour ends in Chorros de la Calera, which is the last waterfall.
Compared to many other tours, this tour does not have a well-maintained path. I loved that our guide needed to cut through the jungle with his machete in order for us to pass through.
Juayua and the surrounding region is also home to some of the best coffee of the country.
One of the reasons I stayed so long in the town was that I was making a promotional video for coffee tours.
I’ve also had a lot of delicious coffee and learned to drink it black without sugar & milk since this is the way to really taste all the flavors.
During your stay, I recommend staying at the hostel Anahuac, which is really nice and offers the coffee tours.
Conception de Ataco
Considered the most beautiful pueblo of El Salvador, Ataco is definitely one of my favorite places in the country.
It is well-known for its stunning murals all over town.
This is by far the most artsy town of the country and possibly the best place to buy artisanal souvenirs.
The restaurants are a little more expensive, but they’re delicious. There even is a French cuisine restaurant! Just like Juayua, Ataco is very lively during the weekend and has food stands all over the main square.
Apaneca is a very small pueblo that is perfect for a quick stop, but that doesn’t have that much to see. Most people make a short stop between Juayua and Ataco to see the church and walk around, but I haven’t met anyone who stayed here overnight.
Located in the mountains of Apaneca, the green lagoon is a nice afternoon stop.
Cascada de Don Juan
Located in Jujutla, very close to Ataco, this beautiful waterfall is a nice stop for an afternoon swim.
It is located in a park that has beautiful vegetation and flowers. In fact, this is the only place where I’ve really seen flowers along the Flower Route.
Santa Teresa Thermal Baths
Located in Ahuachapan which is a big town outside of the Flower Route, the thermal baths of Santa Teresa are only 30 minutes from Ataco. You can access all the park for 8$ a day and enjoy the thermal waters.
The spa is absolutely beautiful and it is easy to spend an entire day here. Don’t forget to do the full mud experience, my skin was softer than ever after that!
This little pueblo turned out to be way more charming than I expected. The main reason to visit here is to see the archaeological ruins of Tazumal.
For the first time I flew my drone over the archaeological ruins and maybe that’s why this site is so special to me. I liked walking around town and visited a few other surrounding places by renting a car during my stay in town.
Very close to Chalchuapa, is the little town of Atiquizaya. My reason for going there was the Salto de Malacatiupan. This waterfall is really beautiful, especially in the morning since we get to see all the thermal water coming from the ground.
Santa Ana was the first town that I visited in El Salvador. It is very charming with a gigantic & chaotic market that is totally worth a visit. The second biggest town of El Salvador is also home to one of the most spectacular cathedrals of the country.
The theatre is also beautiful and worth a visit. Santa Ana is the best town to stay in if you’re looking to hike the Santa Ana volcano or visit the lake Coatepeque on day-trip.
Santa Ana Volcano
An incredible hike of two hours will take you to the top of the Santa Ana volcano where you can experience the best view of the lake Coatepeque.
Every day, groups leave at 11 AM with two police officers to hike to the top.
The volcano is famous for its crater lake.
Inside the volcano a crater lake of a striking blue color is found, which makes the view all the more special.
I absolutely loved the lake Coatepeque. The largest lake of El Salvador is surrounded by volcanoes views and offers the best swim of the country. I tried a jet ski for the first time and rode all around the lake. The lake also has an island in the middle with marvellous mansions.
Typically, once a year the lake turns into a turquoise color because of the concentration of algae in the water. If you get to visit the lake during that time you will be amazed. Unfortunately, the lake turned turquoise the week that I left the country and I did not have time to visit a second time.
At night, we watched the beginning of a storm where the lake changed completely and started to seem like an ocean because of the height of the waves. The rain, the thunder and the lightning strikes were a sight that I will never forget. The light would shine so bright whenever there was a lightning that we would get a glimpse of the volcano through the darkness.
Pupusa is the most popular food of El Savador. They are usually sold all over towns, especially around street corners at night. Pupusas are made of corn tortillas that are filled with bean paste, cheese and meet (optional). Then on top is poured salad and salsa. Usually one pupusa will cost you about 0,50$ USD. Everyone loves them and if you do too this is the way to keep your budget low in El Salvador. I am really difficult with food and I did not really like them, but it seems that I was the only person in all of El Salvador to dislike them.
Most people who don’t know El Salvador assume that it is a very dangerous country, but if you follow the simple safety rules of traveling during daytime and not walking alone late at night, you’ll be absolutely safe.
The little towns of La Ruta de Las Flores are perhaps the safest places to visit in El Salvador. In this area I could even walk alone at night safely.
There are a lot of horror stories about El Salvador, but during my three month visit around the country I never had any troubles. You should not miss the chance to discover this incredible country and its kind & lovely people.