Central America El Salvador

Exploring the Ruta de Las Flores in El Salvador

The Ruta de Las Flores is a winding route of about 20 miles (32 km) through brightly colored colonial towns and many coffee plantations. Wildflowers  growing along the road are responsible for the name. The five main towns on the Ruta de Las flores are Nahuizalco, Salcoatitán,  Apaneca, Ataco and Juayua.

  • When to visit The Flower Route -The best time to see flowers in bloom is between November and February.
  • The Ruta officially begins in the town Sonsonate, which is easily reachable from San Salvador and La Libertad, the main beach town and transportation hub for El Salvador’s beach area. The route then winds through colourful little towns and coffee fincas ending in Ahuachapan.
  • Juyayua is the most popular place to stay and is a great town, but consider one of the more ‘off the beaten track’ little towns! there are some amazing places to stay.
ruta de las flores coffee
Awesome and cheap coffee in many little coffee shops on the Ruta de Las Flores was a highlight for us exploring the area. There are some amazing coffee tours in the area.

Highlight on the Ruta de Las Flores

The whole route is a great experience, but in a nutshell here are some highlights:

  • Going from town to town by chicken bus, walk around discovering murals and drinking coffee.
  • Feria de la Gastronomia food festival on weekends in Juyayua.
  • Swimming under the waterfalls of Los Chorros De Callera
  • Do the 7 waterfalls hike from Juyayua
  • Go on a Coffee Tour, taste fantastic El Salvadorean coffee, walk around the coffee plantations, learn all about production of this fantastic coffee.
  • Zipline in Apaneca.

Getting around the Ruta de Las Flores

  • By Chicken Bus – from Juyayua we explored the route by chicken bus, take bus 249 and 53. Check with your hotel, but bus 249 takes you  around the route to all the towns on the ruta.
  • By local bus from La Libertad – the 287 to Sonsonate  and from the Sonsonate station take the 249 through the flower route.
  • With a Tour – Explore all 5 towns on the flower route and visit the coffee plantations on a full-day tour from San Salvador. Get picked up at your hotel!

Towns of the Ruta de Las Flores

Juayua

Juayua is the largest town on the flower route and most people use this as base for exploring the area. This is the most touristy town (it is still not very busy) and an awesome place to explore the Rutta de Las Flores from.

Facilities in Juayua

  • supermarkets if you need to buy supplies
  • ATM
  • Loved the bakery Pasteleria y Cafeteria Festival

Eat in Juayua

  • There are many comedores (local eateries) in and around the market right next to the church serving cheap meals for $2 to 3 including a drink.
  • Restaurante la Guadalus has nice Mexican food and a good vibe, a meal just over $5.
Alya swimming at the waterfalls at Los Chorros De Callera near Juayua.
Alya swimming at the waterfalls at Los Chorros De Callera near Juayua.

Accommodation in Juayua

  • We loved staying in Hotel Juyayua, awesome location, nice dorm rooms for $10 and doubles available for $35 beautiful views, swimming pool, clean, friendly and helpful management.
  • If you want something more upmarket consider staying in Casa Degraciela Hotel Boutique  in nearby Ataco.
  • For more about this awesome little town see this Guide to visiting Juyayua.

Attractions

  • Don’t miss Feria Gastronomica the “food festival” very popular event in the central square of Juayúa. Vibrant gathering of locals and tourists to eat local dishes and drink a couple of beers with a very festive atmosphere. Some mouth watering traditional dishes are served by local restaurants including plenty of barbecued meats, chorizo, shrimp sticks and fish. For $5 we got a plate big enough for the 2 of us to share.
  • Iglesia de Cristo Negro (Black Christ Church) located on the main square,  named because of the statue’s colour.
  • Los Chorros De Callera – The highlight of the small town Juayua were the amazing waterfalls, Los Chorros De Callera located about 40 minutes’ walk from town. We ended up walking here almost every day. Swimming in the crystal clear water under the beautiful waterfall is a fantastic experience.
  • Do the 7 waterfalls hike, this 6 hour hike starts in town and takes you through coffee fincas and pristine tropical forest, with spectacular mountain and volcano views – you can see all 3 volcanoes Izalco, Ilamatepec and Cerro Verde during the hike. Remember to wear swimming clothes, you pass by many waterfalls ending at Los Chorros De Callera. The hike can be done as a tour with a guide through some hostel including a nice 20m rappelling! Price $14
  • Do the Ruta de Las Flores by public transport from town.

Apaneca

  • The next stop on Ruta Les Flores, small town, cobbled stone streets, quick to explore by foot.
  • Two nearby crater lakes, Laguna Verde (5km from town) and Laguna de las Ninfas (3km from town) are nice to hike to, well marked trails.
  • The canopy tour at Apaneca is very popular with several ziplines taking you over great jungle scenery and coffee plantations, the longest zipline is 420m!
  • Hillside coffee farms surrounding the town are really nice.
  • Good accommodation in Apaneca
apaneca-stingy-nomads
Colorful murals in the picturesque town Apaneca

Nahuizalco

Worth a stop if you make a day of the route, we did it by chicken bus not too hard.

  • Nice church
  • apparently some waterfalls outside the town you can explore

Salcoatitán

  • This town survives on the coffee industry.
  • Cafe La Casona has excellent coffee, good selection of local coffees, worth visiting if you are a caffeine junkie.
  • Festival bakery bakes amazing baguettes.
  • the town has 2 nice churches
  • Accommodation – Cien Fuegos Cafe y Hostal, excellent family run place, great location from $30

Concepción de Ataco

  • Very nice little colonial town
  • Beautiful murals
  • couple of handi craft shops
  • Good coffee!
  • Climb the La Mirador de la Cruz nice view of the whole town.
  • Treat yourself! Casa Degraciela Hotel Boutique Maybe the best place to stay on the whole flower route.
walking-around-ruta-de-las-flores-stingy-nomads
Alya walking around the Ruta de Las Flores.

El Salvador Packing Tips

Travel Security Money Belt

The safest place you can possibly hide your cash. Travel Security Money Belt

El Salvador produces excellent coffee and you can buy top quality for very cheap on the Ruta de Las Flores. Make awesome espresso where you are staying! The Aeropress is probably the best, rugged, light and portable device to have in your backpack for making top notch espresso style coffee! First thing I pack!

 

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