By: Hugh C. Talley
Elizabeth and I decided to go to the mountains for some cooler weather this week, so we took a day trip and decided to explore the Route of the Flowers. The Route of the Flowers will take you on a journey through six small colonial towns in the most mountainous region of El Salvador.
The climate is much cooler and the natural beauty is really something to see, the dense forests, the wild flowers, the waterfalls, the coffee plantations, and the archaeological sites will show you another side of El Salvador and you will see there is much more to the country then the beautiful beaches.
As you travel along the Route of the Flowers, you will find authentic arts and crafts and meet the people that make them, colonial architecture and cobblestone streets, local and international cuisine. This is truly an enriching experience.
We were only able to visit two of the six small towns, we started late and there is a lot to see. We do plan to return soon and maybe take an overnight trip to finish visiting the towns without having to rush.
We started our trip from the city of Sonsonate, we took CA-8 that goes from Sonsonate to Ahuachapan (the signs will say Ruta de las Flores). Our first stop was Nahuizalco, a very beautiful town with mostly an indigenous population. The town has a colonial church that was built in the seventeenth century. The main income for this town is the artisan industry of natural fibers: wood, wicker, tulle (a fabric made of net), henequen (fiber of an agave, used for making ropes, & course fabrics, ect.) There are many vendors here selling their handmade crafts and they are much cheaper than buying them at the airport or souvenir shops.
Nahuizalco has a guided walking tour that is well worth taking. Elizabeth and I really enjoyed this little town.
Our next stop was Salcoatitan, called the city of artists. The name Salcoatitan means “God of Wind and Star of the Dawn” in the Mayan language. The Pipils founded Salcoatitan. This town is where the country’s first coffee plantations developed in the 1860s and is still the town’s primary economic income.
As you enter the town there is a huge Ceiba tree, they say it is over 300 years old and only flowers every 7 years. The Maya believed that the ceiba was the axis of the world and the channel of communication between the world of people and the world of gods. Scholars also say the ceiba is the tree of life and connects the sky above with the water below. I am not sure about all of this but, I will say this was a huge beautiful tree.
We went into the town next and across from the central square, there is a beautiful colonial church that dates back to1824. part of the church has recently been restored.
Next, we made a visit to a museum “Germinal” which has only been open for 6 months. The museum has many very old printing presses, most of them are from the United States and Europe and they are all in working order. They were all used here in El Salvador in the early years. We found this very interesting. This museum also has many woodcarvings on display from a local artist, there are many beautiful things to see, they have quite a selection of his work for sale, and the price is very reasonable.
There is much to see in this town and we really enjoyed our visit, but it was getting late and we were hungry so we went to find a restaurant.
We headed toward Ahuachapan and we come across a mountain resort named “Santa Leticia” this is a beautiful place, they have19 double rooms, 2 swimming pools for hotel guests, a private archaeological park and a restaurant with capacity for 250 people with a menu of local and international cuisine. The rooms are nice and run about $80.00 a night.
Elizabeth and I headed to the restaurant; it was very large and very nice. I ordered the grilled steak, breaded shrimp and French fries with the house salad. Elizabeth ordered the grilled chicken salad. I had a strawberry frozen to drink and Elizabeth had a local drink. I also had strawberry ice cream for dessert. The food was good but not great, the service good. The price was high for this area, $ 46.00.
Elizabeth and I now headed home; we had a very nice day and enjoyed the trip very much. We plan to go back and pick up where we left off; we still have four more towns to visit on “The Route of the Flowers”.
We have attached some pictures from our trip, we hope you enjoy them. Please leave us questions or comments and we will get back to you.