The place of flowers and birds
Duration: at least 5 days including a weekend
Stay: The Mayan Grouper or Casa 1800 Suchitoto Boutique
Suchitoto almost feels like a bit of a time and space journey after visiting busy San Salvador. The city’s name originates from the Nahual language and translates into “place of flowers and birds.” As the cultural capital, Suchi’s colorful historic houses are home to art galleries, boutique hostels, and NGOs.
El Salvador’s finest city
The tiny town charms you with its tranquil vibe as you wander around the cobblestone streets.
Suchitoto’s affectionately planted and decorated streets and laid-back inhabitants radiate an
authentic appeal. Located just 50 km northeast of San Salvador, Suchitoto is often visited on the weekends when streets come alive for arts and food festivals
- Sight Seeing 85% 85%
- Culture 95% 95%
- Activities 100% 100%
- Nightlife 70% 70%
From a turbulent past to a flourishing future
Guanaco pride is celebrated and lived in Suchitoto. Everyone we met told us affectionately how
Suchi must be the best place to live in all of El Salvador. On top of that, little Suchitoto offers
exciting surroundings for outdoor and history enthusiasts. El Salvador’s largest artificial lake, Lago
Suchitlán, offers relaxing walks and excellent bird watching. The more active and history-interested
shouldn’t miss a hike of volcán Guazapa, a former guerrilla stronghold
Take in the view from a mirador
We arrived shortly before lunch with growling stomachs. We liked Suchitoto from the very first moment. It was challenging to stop for food before exploring the city. We were so eager to see more.
After we asked some locals for recommendations, we ended up at a lovely and delicious Mexican restaurant called Suchimex. As the only visitors, we quickly befriended the staff and heard the first stories about Suchitoto. It seemed like everyone was fond and proud to live in such a beautiful, quiet town. After we feasted on some tasty burritos, the kind staff showed us a little mirrador from which we could look down on the red roofs of Suchitoto. Ee could even make up Lago Suchitlán in the distance.
Enjoy the laid-back vibe and stroll around the colonial city
Revitalized from our delicious lunch, we wandered the cobblestone streets and started discovering the city. The roads are seamed with colorful colonial buildings, which automatically brighten your mood.
Iglesia Santa Lucia
Iglesia Santa Lucia shines so brightly that it can’t be missed. The church is one of El Salvador’s oldest religious sites and was built when Suchitoto was still a Mayan town. The city’s streets are picturesque, so it’s a lot of fun just strolling around. In addition, there are plenty of artistic boutiques.
Casa de Museo
If you want a deeper understanding of Suchitoto’s role in the civil war and how it escaped destruction we recommend visiting Casa de Museo de Los Recuerdos Alejandro Cotto. Suchitoto’s most famous arts patron played a crucial role in saving the town. Today, the former house is home to a museum.
Go bird watching at Lago Suchitlán
El Salvador’s biggest artificial lake is a haven for bird-watching enthusiasts. Suchitoto’s spectacular backdrop was built in 1973 and now provides electricity to about 500 000 people in El Salvador. In addition, you can easily arrange boat tours at the port. Costs vary from $25 for a 45 minutes tour to the tranquil island of Isla de Ermitano and $30 for a one-hour bird-watching tour. It will take about 1 hour to visit Isla las Pájaros, the island of the waterbirds. ($30) A ferry across the lake also connects Suchitoto and San Francisco de Lempa.
Explore Volcán Guazapa and learn about the guerilla history
The extinct volcano does not only offer beautiful hikes but also provides its visitors with profound insights into El Salvador’s past. During the 1980s, the guerrilla stronghold became a war zone. The national army undertook massive military operations to fight the “Rebel Army.” Due to its strategic location, the rebels referred to Volcáno Guazapa as “a dart in the ribs enemy.” As a result, many families and veterans of the civil war live in this area. Nowadays, ex-guerrillas give visitors an insight into the life of a rebel during the civil war. You’ll see underground tunnels, shelters, and even a hospital as you wander around. It’s profoundly moving to listen to the stories of those who fought and have been fought.
Hike Cascada Los Tercios
This hike is super easy to do on your own. You’ll find Cascada Los Treciosis just 1.5 km outside of town. The 10-meter high wall of the waterfall consists of Basalt, which can also be found on the moon. Basalt is packed with tiny quartz crystals which sparkle in the sun and give the waterfall a distinct from-another-world look. Unfortunately, the rushing waterfall is only active from June to November. Usually, there are no security concerns if you want to walk alone, but make sure to ask
around beforehand as the situation might change quickly.
Get ready to travel El Salvador
How to get to Suchitoto by bus
You can comfortably reach Suchitoto by bus from San Salvador’s Terminal de Occidente for $1. Our hostel also offered tours costing around $35. Getting to Suchi is very straightforward. The bus from Suchitoto to San Salvador leaves at the same corner you got off. Once you are back in San Salvador, exit the bus as it circles and will take you right back. Don’t laugh. It almost happened to us…
Food festivals on the weekend
On the weekends, the streets come alive with a food and art festival. In February, the city celebrates the town’s resident artists. As a result, the town becomes especially lively and packed with domestic tourists.
Festival Permanente de Arte y Cultura The festivities take place every February. It celebrates local artists. Little Suchi is bursting with life!
Do not drink tap water in El Salvador; bring your Lifestraw instead! While water from the national water company (ANDA) is generally safe, you never know the water source the restaurant, hotels, and so on may use.
Biggest challenge for the responsible traveler
Trash: As anywhere in Latin America, a lot of street food is served in plastic or one-way containers. Make sure to bring your foldable food container with you. Don’t forget to bring your Lifestraw Go, too.
Packing List Central America
Central America is super diverse and offers plenty of things to do. Check out our packing list, get ready for an incredible adventure!
Places to visit in El Salvador
Don’t skip El Salvador – our favorite Central American country <3
We traveled to Central America a couple of times and had the chance to see several Maya sites along the way. Each impressive in its own way. Contrary to other Maya ruins across Central America. You’ll often have Copan to yourself. The mysterious archaeological site boasts remarkable hieroglyphics and sculptures. On top of that, the town of Copan itself is drop-dead charming.
Excited for the last volcano for this journey was awaiting us tomorrow. Volcano Santa Ana’s incredibly impressive crater marks the highlight for many travelers coming to El Salvador for a good reason. We were left speechless (and breathless) when we first set our eyes on the turquoise crater lake.
El Salvador’s Ruta de las Flores is a real gem. The 40 km winding road is seamed by the picturesque villages with excellent food markets. Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of things to do from discovering coffee plantations to volcano hikes and swims under stunning waterfalls.