Beautiful view. Our guide took us here and we ate at a little pupusa stand.
I took a 7 hr tour for $70USD which included, San Andrés, Joya de Cerén, and Lago de Coatepeque. The guide spoke English very well. Salvador Tours provides other guided tours as well.
The botanical garden is something not to be missed especially in a bustling, fume choked and noise maddened San Salvador. The easy way there is by taxi which took 6USD to achieve. Once inside the atmosphere changes dramatically; surrounded by lush tropical vegetation one forgets about the reality beyond. There are amazing spots of tranquility alongside ponds, under huge trees, and amongst delicate flowers. There are no less curious representatives of the local fauna as well. The way back to Zona Rosa was more adventurous. A local bus driver stopped at a spot that did not look like a bus stop, picked me up and delivered me to the fair grounds for the mere amount of 25 cents; amazing deal which included huddling with the locals on the tiny benches of the bus and watching unwittingly the noisy and visually obnoxious yahoos from foreign lands.
- Jungle and Rain Forest
San Salvador's Palacio Nacional was built in neo-classical style, with Italian marble, in 1905 and was the government headquarters until it was badly damaged by an earthquake in 1986. It has since been renovated.
- Historical Travel
- Road Trip
Mercado de Artesanías is a good place to buy arts, crafts, and souvenirs. It is a 5 minute drive from Zona Rosa. You can ask the taxi to take you there.
They also have many malls. The biggest and grandest one is 'Las Galerías'.
Military Musuem at the El Zapote Barracks
The military history of El Salvador may not be for everyone and can be depressing the more you know. In this museum the evolution of weapons and equipment used by the El Salvador Army is shown thru displays in a series of individual rooms. The origins of the weapons spans the globe, including the U.S.
Interesting exhibits include:
1) Domingo Monterrosa Barrios - Commander of the elite Atlacatl Battalion. Does the name El Mozote mean anything to you?
2) "Soccer War" with Honduras.
3) FMLN - Farabundo Marti National Liberation - Weapons used including a U.S. M-16 that ended up in guerillas hands after being lost in Vietnam. The FMLN went to Vietnam for training. Also land mines used during the civil war. Note that we are told that there are no more land mines in El Salvador. But seeing a one-legged man is not uncommon.
4) Popemobile - Built for the Pope's 1983 visit. Said to be the strongest ever built. Built like a tank. Could withinstand a roadside mine blast. These were the worst of times in El Salvador.
5) One corner of the barracks was bombed to quel a revolt during the civil war. This is not part of the tour but someone in-the-know can show you where the shells landed.
6) Relief map of the country of El Salvador.
7) Large park and memorial to heroes of the war of independence from Spain in 1821. Built over a Mayan pyramid with the contours of the pyramid clearly descernable.
8) The old Presidential Palace is visible. Vacated in 2001 after an earthquake compromised its integrity. Now falling into disrepair but plans are to create into a museum.
la ruta de las flores
Don´t miss it, possibly the most beautiful part of El Salvador. La ruta de las flores is the name given to a series of little mountain towns in the western part of El Salvador where most of the gourmet coffee is grown. Every little town has it´s charm of it´s own, Nahuizalco famous for its handicrafts, Salcoatitan is the second town, very little and quiet, Juayua where every weekend all the locals do a food fair and the entire town becomes an open air restaurant when you can find local (and exotic) food and international, Apaneca it´s the El Salvador´s high altitude town ( 2600 meters) and fully surrounded by coffee plantations, and it´s the best town to stay at, try the Santa Leticia hotel wichi is an organic coffee plantacion with it´s own archeological treasures, nearby are small lagoons in the site of old volcano craters (laguna verde and laguna de las ninfas), and last Ataco another quite mountain-coffee town, the wheater it´s simply heavenly, and best of all it´s only a 1 hour drive from San Salvador, many tour operators can get you there, you won´t regret it if you are into a quiet hideaway. Don´t expect a bustling nightlife (there isn´t a nightlife) or your avergae "gringo town", it´s quiet, it´s beatiful and not to known until now.
- Mountain Climbing
- Jungle and Rain Forest
San Salvador is the capital of the country and hosts more than 800,000 people. The city suffered from as well the many earthquakes as the civil war. Many monuments or historical valuable buildings are not any more. But the few wich are are well restored.
Visit the Arbol de Dios Gallery and Shop
Fernando Llort, one of El Salvador's most famous artists has a wonder gallery, restaurant and gift shop that I have visited on three occasions. The original pieces in the gallery range from US$100 to $3000. The prints run less than $100. I bought a framed print in the gift shop for about $47. There are also shirts, tablets, books and ceramic tiles available. I purchase two 8" square tiles with Llorts artwork on them which I will use for a bathroom remodel soon.
National Anthropological Museum
New building to house salvadorean archeological treasures. The museum is divided into 5 halls tracing the history, traditions, culture and religion in El Salvador from the Mayas to our time. Excellent place to start learning about this country. The museum guides are very friendly and offer guided visits in spanish and english. Great petrogligh and sculpture garden.
We were quite surprised when we went to the Museum of Modern Art in San Salvador. We didn't expect to see such a collection of fine art! It's really a treat for people who like Modern Art. The museum's got sculptures, paintings and other wonderful stuff. Really worth a visit!
- Luxury Travel
- Museum Visits
- Arts and Culture
ATACO, is an small town, 2 hours away from capital area, they call the route of the flowers, it is the road that they drive to address to ATACO.
Complete name of the town is: CONCEPCION DE ATACO, before you arrived there are several towns that you can visit, and tows have many hand crafts.
Beautiful colors, cloths, souvenirs, folk crafts. It is a nice trip.
- Family Travel
- Food and Dining
- Arts and Culture
Basílica Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe
Thanks to the fact that the country lies on a very active fault line, and that the Civil War deprived the church of much of its support during the 1970s and 1980s, El Salvador is actually pretty poor in interesting and inspiring religious architecture. There are a few churches that were rebuilt in Colonial style, but most of them are rather drab and ugly, blending into grimy sections of the city that are otherwise unremarkable. La Virgen de Guadalupe shrine is clearly an exception, as it stands back from the street in an area that is devoid of other structures. While the building lacks the sort of Spanish Baroque grandeur that one might expect, it nevertheless is a pretty white and salmon structure that recalls memories of missions in California. The simple but pleasing interior, with its white and black tiles and various chapels, is also quite inviting, perhaps because of the relative peace and quiet that the Church offers, in contrast to the hustle of the Panamericana just outside. The Virgen also attracts a fair number of people asking for help, with messages posted on a smaller shrine outside the church showing the popularity of a Catholic figure generally associated with Mexico and her indigenous peoples.
- Arts and Culture
- Religious Travel
Zona Rosa was once the heart of San Salvador's entertainment district. Located in San Benito, a middle-class area of the city, it was close enough to the core to be a short car-ride away from home, but far enough away in order to guarantee safety and security. In the last few years, however, the area has had a bit of a rough spot, and while there are still plenty of restaurants and night clubs, these are often empty. The presence of the Sheraton and the Hilton don't really help, as many guests are still wary of going a hundred meters by foot to the establishments. Some still do good business, but these are few and far between. Nevertheless, it is a good taste of what San Salvador used to be like on a Friday night, even if it does resemble a faded beauty from time to time.
Visit Souchi -- a short hop from the capital
This lovely village is close to San Salvador. Besides the view of Lake Souchitan, the town is filled with interesting contemporary art. The Posado is a great place to stay and provides a lovely setting for a meal overlooking the lake. There's a tiny vest-pocket park that is filled with unique sculpture.
A visit to old San Salvador...
A visit to old San Salvador must include the National Palace, Cathedral, National Theatre, and several chuches among them: El Calvario, Don Rua, San Francisco, la Basilica Sagrada Familia. Downtown San Salvador is undergoing a long recovery and clean up process, many historical buildings are being restored, the streets are being cleaned up and street vendors relocated. It's an ongoing process so much still remains to be done. The area is bustling with activity, traffic, people, etc. The Casa de la Cultura del Centro is a cultural center locted in an old 19th century house where art shows, theatre presentations, poetry readings and other events take place. The Mercado Cuartel is the handicrafts market, where you can buy all kinds of traditional items - the vendors expect you to bargain the prices!
A unique place in San Salvador is the Botanical Gardens of La Laguna. They are set in the crater of an extinct volcano and provide a relaxing natural haven for thousands of native plants. The beautiful landscaped gardens, the lush vegetation, a small piece of forest, wild animals, birds and butterflies provide a relaxing and worthwhile experience.