Most tourists never make it to Acajutla, and with good reason. Acajutla is a port town. A tropical port town. A tropical port town in Central America. All the adjectives generally applied to such places – dingy, blistering, sleazy, rancid, etc. – find their way into many visitors’ descriptions of Acajutla. The collection of crumbling houses that line the town’s beach – some of them abandoned, others that probably should be – look as if they were just hit by an earthquake or some other terrible natural disaster. The beach itself might be a perfectly good place to play beach soccer, but taking a dip into the ocean here isn’t the best of ideas, as evidenced by the sign placed alongside a small stream of sewage wading its way towards the sea that warns “ZONA DE RIESGO EN SALUD: NO SE EXPONGA” (Health Risk Zone: Don’t Expose Yourself). Away from the shore, the town’s hot trash- and rubble-strewn park may very well win the prize as El Salvador’s ugliest public space.
Why visit Acajutla, then? The town’s only saving grace are the large cliffs that jut out into the ocean, forming the southern border of the beach, affording a truly majestic panoramic vista of the seemingly endless shore northwest of town. Recognizing this picturesque spot’s obvious potential, a handful of local entrepreneurs have set up restaurants along the cliffs’ edge. The sound of the ocean crashing into the rocks below, the frequent sight of groups of pelicans flying overhead, the constant and welcome sea breeze, and the aforementioned seascape all combine to make Acajutla a good place to stop for a relaxing seafood lunch should you find yourself in the area.
Located west of the port of La Libertad, just beyond Club Atami, Playa El Palmarcito is a handsome black sand beach nestled between rocky cliffs into a tiny little cove. No more than 300 yards wide, the beach provides a relaxed, intimate setting – the tall cliffs that form the beach’s eastern and western boundaries cut El Palmarcito off visually from the rest of the world. During the week, when the beach receives very few visitors, you could easily trick yourself into believing that El Palmarcito is your own private haven. Even on the weekend, when a few local families set up “comedores” on the beach, traffic doesn’t pick up too much. Although surfers do sometimes visit to take advantage of the local waves, it seems that El Palmarcito is best suited to the traveler who is looking for a relaxing place to spend a few days of relative solitude soaking up the sun and admiring the surf.
The “Flower Route” between Sonsonate and Ahuachapán is one of El Salvador’s most-advertised, best-developed, and most-visited tourist attractions, but very few people take the detour south that leads towards the town of Jujutla. Unless you’re driving, this area can be a little harder to get to, because bus traffic isn’t particularly frequent. Your best bet is to get off the 249 bus at the desvío El Rosario (located between the Alicante Montaña Hotel and a new gas station) and wait for a pick-up or the next passing bus (routes 278 and 288 will both take you to where you need to go) to come by. Get off at the Restaurante La Cascada and walk downhill along the dirt road until you come to a yellow gate on the left side of the road with a signpost for La Finca del Sunzal. For a $1 entrance fee, someone will let you through the gate and show you the road that leads towards the beautiful double waterfall and a large circular swimming pool. From the highway, it shouldn’t take more than an hour to walk to the waterfalls.
Though I’ve never been there, I’m told that the Parque Ecoturístico La Cascada de San Juan, also located along the road to Jujutla, is also worth taking a look at.
I had the opportunity to attend a fiesta in a village called El Milagro( The Miracle, see my El Milagro travelogue.) I enjoyed watching the children swat at the piñata. Notice how clean and dressed up all of these little kids are! That changed when the piñata broke and they all dived to the ground to get their candy!
All most anywhere in El Salvador you will see dormant volcanoes. This photo was taken in the countryside just outside of Suchitoto. The vegetation is tropical ...many kinds of palms, mango trees, platanos(bananas)
Visiting the island, one has to take a small canoa full of locals which brings you in two hours there. There was only one pension there in 1990, but if you just ask around locals will invite you in their houses treating you like a royal.
Locals are farmers or fishermen and very poor but extraordinary friendly and honest.
Give some money to buy food and they will cook for you everyday another local speciality you will never forget.
You should speak some spanish !
Cheapest lobster i have got anywhere, cheaper then a McDonalds menue and if you like everyday on your plate...
There are many lovely beaches in El Salvador. Near San Miguel, you'll find El Cuco -- a favorite with local families. We loved it! Other beaches are near La Libertad closer to San Salvador. You are never too far from a beach. Watch out for riptides at some of them!
The lovely church in the town of San Ignacio at the foot of El Pital, near La Palma, is just one of many lovely churches all around the country. If you are respectful, you can always stop in and quietly look at the life-like statues and paintings.
Not far from La Palma is the highest point in El Salvador-- El Pital. If you have a 4x4, it's about an hour plus trip up mostly dirt roads to the top. Beautiful scenery along the way and, at the top, you are above the clouds! There are a number of places to stop, buy a cool drink and admire the view. It's customary to pick up local people walking up the steep roads.
Let's start by saying that El Salvador in itself is off the beaten path. This has its advantages and inconveniences (tourism facilities are only being developed).
Having said this visit the town of Perkin in Morazan (the Hotel Perkin Lenca is the place to stay) the hotel has nice facilities in wooden cabins, restaurant(very good) and bar (check the accomodations sections of this page), activities in the Hotel, besides relaxing include hiking, birdwatching, rockclimbing etc. Around this area you will find pristine rivers, mountains and lakes. Make sure to visit the Museo de la Revolucion, which houses artifacts of the salvadorean civil war 1980-1992. The town of Perquin is a quaint little village, from here you can visit other places of interest including the villages of Cacaopera (native folk traditions), Guatajiagua (black pottery - beautiful and very inexpensive), la Cueva del Espiritu Santo a grotto with petroglyphs that are over 10,000 yrs old. Check a great website for Morazan at: www.prodetur.losrecursos.com
There are also camping facilities.
If you're into surf, El Salvador is the place, excellent waves 30 mins. from San Salvador. There are well organized facilities for complete information check out: www.puntamango.com.sv They also offer guided tours to different beaches even if you're not a surfer and other tours as well.
The Jiquilisco Bay is a memorable experience. The bay is made up of hundreds of mangrove islands and canals with wild birds and monkeys and truly exceptional unspoilt beaches, Corral de Mulas is truly one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, with miles of sandy beach, coconut plantations as far as your eyes can see, and quint little fisherman villages. NO FACILITIES, this is truly an uspoilt beach. There are a few places to stay nearby and if you have a boat there is an excellent marina, they have facilities and offer some small bungalows. I haven't visited the marina but was told that they are open to visitors, their website is: www.barillasmarina.com
El Mozote is a tiny village that was devastated during the war. It is not easy to find and the roads getting there are poor but it is worth the trip. There is a monument to the 1000 mostly women and children massacred in December 1981 by Government forces with US advisors in attendance
Anymore, most tourists miss the detouring of vacations due to the schedule change of airlines. But, we managed to get one of those situations in which we were rerouted from the airport to El Salvador. It was worth it. We were given taxis to our hotel a ways off, and what a drive!
Periquin was the headquarters of the FMLN guerilla movement during the bloody Civil War of El Salvador. Today, members of the FMNL have created the Museo de la Revolucion Salvadoreña in Periquin. It is an amazing museum! Check out the travelogue and photologue.
Our tour guide Celine Guerre from Discover El Salvador Tours took us to a small town called Panchimalco. We were fortunate enough to be visiting on May 3 which is a Salvadorean holiday called Dia de la Cruz. The holiday incorporates Christian as well as indigenous traditions. On the holiday, locals adorn their homes with decorated crosses in the belief that doing so will ward off devils who may enter their homes.
I am a member of the Veterinary corp., which was responsible for the treatment of local animals. We worked for two weeks based out of two towns, San Francisco Morazan and Nueva Conseption. Navy personnel at a fixed clinic site provided the medical treatment for these two towns, while we went out to local houses, farms and ranches. During the time in country the Vets provided care to over 1500 animals.
The temperature ranged between lows at night in the upper sixties and highs during the day of over 110 degrees. On a couple of days the heat index reached over 140 degrees. Rain started to become an issue during my rotation, but the true rainy season held off until after we left. We were housed in tents on a base camp, with field showers, laundry and latrines. The meals were provided by a mess hall during lunch and dinner, with lunch being a packaged meal called an MRE (meal ready to eat).
The trip was very rewarding. We provided the citizens of El Salvador with much-needed medical, veterinary and engineering aid. During the time in country we set records for treatments and exceeded the goals set for civilian projects. The Engineers constructed four schools, put additions on two others, dug nine wells and paved roads. But, the true test of our mission was leaving the El Salvadorians with a warm feeling toward the United States. I believe this was accomplished successfully.