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Most of the nature in El Salvador is barely touched by tourism.

Cascadas de Tamanique: Central America’s Best Secret

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Want to know about the hidden gem of Cascadas de Tamanique? When traveling through Central America, there is an endless amount of natural beauty, and this is a spot you don't want to miss.

Between the giant volcanoes, turquoise seas, and lush jungle, it's no wonder this area of the world is a must visit! The most underrated place we have ever been was El Salvador, and we can't express enough just how much we loved it!

With great food, cheap prices, and not overcrowded with tourists, we don't need to give you another reason to visit this beautiful country. But here it is- a series of pools and waterfalls nestled in the jungle. Here is everything you need to know about how to get to Cascadas de Tamanique on your own.

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Where are Cascadas de Tamanique?

Las Cascadas de Tamanique are situated in the jungle near the small town of Tamanique. Tamanique is just 15 Kilometres from the surf town of El Tunco (just an hour from the capital of San Salvador), and can be reached in 20 minutes in car, or 30 minutes in bus. 

where is Tamanique El Salvador

Tamnique is a small town a little over an hour from San Salvador.

How to Get to Cascadas de Tamanique

There are a few different ways to get to the falls, which make the perfect day trip from El Tunco:

1. Driving to Tamanique

The quickest way to make it to Cascadas de Tamanique is by driving. You can easily rent a car in El Salvador from the airport of San Salvador. We suggest booking in advance, so that you can get the best deals and availability.

Note: If you are deciding to rent a car in El Salvador, you may need a 4x4 depending on where you are going! If you are just visiting El Tunco, it won't be necessary. However, if you plan on visiting other unique locations, we suggest you to give a read to our article about renting a car in El Salvador.

If you decide to rent a car, just plug the falls into your Maps and you will arrive to the start of the trek in 20 minutes. The hike itself to the falls is the long part (although definitely worth it), which we will get to soon.

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2. Doing a Tour to Cascadas de Tamanique

This is definitely the easiest option, but most expensive option. A tour will definitely be an expense. However, it is definitely the safest option, as it can be a tricky hike, since it is not very well marked.

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3. Cascadas de Tamanique On Your Own

This is our personal preference, as we like a little bit of a challenge, and like to explore places on our own. As well, it's a good way to save money. If you ask anyone, they will all tell you that it is impossible, and that you MUST hire a guide, but we are here to tell you that there IS a way, and we have done it! Keep reading to learn how you can do it too.

Cascadas de Tamanique

Cascadas de Tamanique are just 20 minutes from El Tunco, and can be reached in a number of ways.

Cascadas de Tamanique On Your Own

Going on your own can be a little challenging, but it is definitely a fun and satisfying journey. Here's a step-by-step guide to getting to Cascadas de Tamnique on your own.

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Step 1: Take the Bus to Tamanique

The bus to Tamanique is located just up the hill from the center of El Tunco, and runs quite frequently. There wasn't an exact time table, but we heard that they go every 20-30 minutes. Just look for the large colorful buses, and ask for the one that goes to Tamanique. Pictured below is the center square of Tamanique where you can get the bus back.

bus to Tamanique

The buses to and from Tamanique come to the main square.

Step 2: Getting to the Start

When you arrive in Tamanique, the entrance is about a few kilometers away on foot. Keep in mind that Google Maps will show a completely different path, so make sure to ask the locals where the path is towards the beginning of the falls. We highly suggest downloading MapsMe to get the most accurate route. 

Tamanique cows

There were plenty of cows on the road on the way to Cascadas de Tamanique.

We were told it would take about 20-25 minutes, but it took us closer to 45 to get to the entrance. The roads were up and down hills, and temperatures very high, so make sure you have plenty of water and comfortable shoes.

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Entrance to Cascadas de Tamanique

The entrance is not well marked, or actually marked all. We stopped and asked a few people along the way, until we found the start.

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The hill keeps going down, and the road turns a bit, making it not clear at all that this is the start of the hike. We saw a lot of cows on the road, and a small wooden fence, which an old man told us to go through to make our way down to the waterfalls.

Tamanique View point

The viewpoint in Tamanique on the route to the falls.

Step 3: The Hike to Cascadas de Tamanique

Now this is the tricky part, as there are some forks in the path, with no clear signage of where to go. We got through this purely by trial and error, as there weren't any groups around to follow. The trick is, to make sure that you are going along the river, keeping it closely to your right side.

entrance to Cascadas de Tamanique

The entrance to Cascadas de Tamanique is a small wooden gate.

Take the path straight until you reach a gate. It may seem as if you can't go through, but just move the metal hook and keep going. 

Directions for the Forks

gate 2 Cascadas de Tamanique

This is the second gate that you will come across on your way to Tamanique Falls.

The next stop you will reach is a fork, where you will need to go to the right.

fork 1 Cascadas de Tamanique

This is the first fork, where you will need to make a right.

Once you reach the next fork, you will need to stay to the right again.

fork 2 Cascadas de Tamanique

This is the second fork, where you will again need to turn right.

Keep listening for the water flowing, and try to stay close the the river, with it on your right.

fork 3 Cascadas de Tamanique

The third fork you still need to turn right.

You will then reach another gate which you must carefully go through. Make sure not to hit any of the barbed wire!

gate 3 Cascadas de Tamanique

This is the third gate you will need to pass through.

Another fork in the path, and another time to keep right!

fork 4 Cascadas de Tamanique

This is the final fork! Make sure to keep right.

One more fence, and you're almost there.

corn fields Cascadas de Tamanique

The last step of getting to the waterfalls is going through a set of corn fields.

Stay to the right again, and you will reach a corn field. Go left around the field and listen for the water, You will need to climb through a little, and then Voila- You made it!

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Step 4: Enjoy Cascadas de Tamanique!

Congratulations! You have made it to Cascadas de Tamanique on your own! Enjoy the cascading falls, swim through the crystal clear waters, jump off the rocks to get an adrenaline rush, or wander down the river to discover each and every fall that Tamanique has to offer. 

Cascadas de Tamanique

You can jump off the rocks into the falls for fun!

Cascadas de Tamanique Price Breakdown

The amazing thing is that places like this are not only stunning, but won't break the bank. That's the beauty of nature! Here are the price break downs for your different options:

1. Renting a Car: $15-$20/ day

2. Tour: $50-$100

3. On Your Own: $1 (bus to Tamanique and back)

Price Tamanique

Here are the prices for the bus posted inside the public bus.

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Things to Know When Visiting Cascadas de Tamanique

  • People will tell you over and over that it is impossible to go to Cascadas de Tamanique on your own, but it can be done with some hard work.
  • The hike is intense and El Salvador is very hot, so make sure you stay hydrated.
  • Go down all the way to see the most gorgeous area of the falls, with no one around.
  • When you get to the center square of Tamanique, go to the small restaurant there and try their papusas- they are unreal!

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Preparing for Cascadas de Tamanique

Here are a few of the things you should bring with you when you visit Cascadas de Tamanique:

Cascadas de Tamanique

Tamanique Falls are a true hidden gem in Central America, and one for the bucket list!

Travel Planning Tools

Here are some useful tools that you can use for planning your upcoming trip!

Skyscanner is our go-to for flights, as it lets you search for "anywhere", the cheapest places in each country, and the cheapest dates each month for your destination. is what we use to book our hotels, as you can collect points and get discounts the more you travel.

Economy Bookingsthe cheapest car rentals around the world

Local Rent a Car: for the best local car agencies

Bus Bud: the most complete site for bus tickets around the world

Flix Bus US: the cheapest bus tickets in the US

Train Line: our go-to for trains in a ton of different countries

Omnio: our secondary choice for train or bus tickets

Airalo is a company that offers E-SIM cards for almost every country in the world, to keep you connected during your travels.

Get Your Guide is a site that gathers tours from local tour operators for unique experiences around the world.

Radical Storage is a company that connects you to the closest luggage storage spots so that you can explore on your layovers, or for hotels that won't hold your belongings.

Cascadas de Tamanique are a truly wonderful set of waterfalls, and definitely worth the trek. Just 20 minutes from El Tunco, and an hour from the capital of El Salvador, they make the perfect day trip to add to your bucket list!

Want to see more amazing must-see spots throughout the country? We have a ton of other El Salvador Guides for you to check out. Exploring more of Central America? Make sure to check out the rest of our Central American Travel Guides!

Looking to start planning that next trip? Well, now you can sit back and relax while we take care of the hard work. Finding you the cheapest flights, and the most unique accommodation are just a few of the things that we offer. Want to learn more? Head over to our travel planning services page!

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