Travelling Ruta de las Flores (The Flower Route) in El Salvador is a scenic series of villages with a mix of colonial architecture with indigenous tones. The winding route covers 20 miles (32 km). Wildflowers along the road gave birth to the name. The best time to see the flowers is from November to February—the perfect place for a winter escape from North America. The five main towns on Ruta de Las Flores are Nahuizalco, Salcoatitán, Juayúa, Apaneca, and Concepción de Ataco.
If you are wondering, Ruta de las Flores is one of the safest areas to travel to in El Salvador. Since El Salvador is not a tourist hotspot, this is your opportunity to interact with locals and immerse yourself in the culture. Feast on local food, visit weekend markets, browse the craft tiendas (stores), and delve into the world-renowned coffee culture of El Salvador.
Ruta de las Flores is best experienced at a slow pace. Here is your chance to take a chicken bus from town to town. You know you want to… but shuttles are available for the faint of heart. You can also rent cars or a motorbike to give yourself more freedom to stop. Get your legs back by exploring the towns on foot and see how many colourful murals you can find.
Juayúa (why-ooh-ah) is the most visited town on Ruta de las Flores and the recommended town to lay your head down at night. The cobblestone streets lend character for perfect pictures. Visit on the weekend and enjoy the town’s feria gastronómica (food fair) by enjoying a beer, eating local dishes such as barbequed meats, seafood, and pupusas (sort of like a tortilla stuffed with meat, cheese, or beans). Absorb the festive atmosphere. Plenty of coffee is available at the fair if beer isn’t your thing.
Nearby waterfalls, hot springs, and fresh mountain air lead to a rich experience for locals and travellers alike. A recommended place to hike and swim is Los Chorros de Calera, a series of waterfalls pouring from fractured cliffs. Follow Ruta de las Seite Cascadas along the Rio Bebedero and gaze upon seven pretty waterfalls.
Along the route is the Cordillera Apaneca, a volcanic mountain range containing more waterfalls, mountain bike trails, and pine forest hikes.
Towns like Juayúa and Ataco are leading the frontline in coffee culture. Rather than settling for the mass market, the next generation coffee plantation owners are responding to increasing demand for an authentic, complex blend of coffee beans reflecting the quality of the volcanic soil, high altitude, and hot climate. Coffee enthusiasts can visit a coffee plantation and stay overnight for the full experience.
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Juayúa, Ataco, and Apaneca have the best range of good-value hostels. Some middle-end options are found in farms lining the highway. Camping is available at Chichicastepeque (aka Cerro Grande) at 5,958 feet (1,816 metres) for incredible views of the region.
By visiting the towns of Ruta de las Flores, you will create ripples that sustain small businesses, contribute to local economies, and support communities all over this immense, wonderful world. Consider the road less travelled and become a part of El Salvador.
Check out these other handpicked topics on El Salvador.
Charlotte Tweed is an adventurous soul with a goal to take you on a journey where you don’t just visit—you live it. Graduating with a Travel and Tourism Honours diploma, Charlotte is channeling all her passion and skills into writing for Escape Artist. She began her expat journey on June 15, 2021, and will be chronicling her expat roadmap weekly in the Escape Artist newsletter. Reading, writing, and planning her and her husband’s next expat destination in the world are how she fills her days. As a recently published author, her mission is to transform your life with expat travel—one destination, one adventure, one story at a time.
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