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One For The Bucket List: A Hot Spring Waterfall in El Salvador

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The world is really fascinating. Just when we think we've seen it all, Mother Nature surprises us with something new! We love a good waterfall, but this is another level of amazing. There is a hot spring waterfall in El Salvador, and it is just as awesome as it sounds. Here's everything you need to know.

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What Exactly Is a Hot Spring Waterfall?

A natural hot spring is water that naturally heated from volcanic activity surrounding it. The waters feel just like being in a hot tub, but without all the chemicals. They are also said to be very good for your skin, as well as your health & wellbeing.

hot spring waterfall flowing

The waters are known for increasing health and well-being.

The Hot Spring Waterfall is where there is a hot spring that feeds into a river, which then flows down into a set of falls! If you're wondering, it is just as majestic as it sounds.


Where Is The Hot Spring Waterfall?

The hot spring waterfall (formerly named Salto de Malacatiupan) is located in the north of El Salvador, just a few miles south of the Guatemalan border. The two major cities that are closest to it are Ahuachapan and Santa Ana. Ahuachapan is 12 km away, and Santa Ana is 30 km away.

map of hot spring waterfall

Salto de Malacatiupan is just south of the Guatemalan border.


How to Get to the Hot Spring Waterfall in El Salvador

Really the only way to get to the hot spring waterfall is by car. The public transportation would make it very difficult to get to, as it is kind of in the middle of nowhere.


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Not only do you need a car to get here, but we highly suggest having a 4x4. We went here twice, and found that there are in fact two roads to get here. One it is necessary with a 4x4, and the other is possible without one, but still recommended. Below we will show you which road is the one you should take.

route to hot spring waterfall

The grey line that says "similar ETA is the road you do not want to take. 

This is the route coming from La Ruta de Las Flores.


We recommend renting your car in advance for the best prices and availability!



Parking & Entrance to the Hot Spring Waterfall

When we arrived, it appeared that the gate was closing. However, the hot spring waterfall is actually open 24/7 and is free of charge! How great is that?

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Hot Spring Waterfall Pin
Hot Spring Waterfall Pin

There isn't really an official lot, so you will just need to park on the side of the road. El Salvador is very safe, and chances are there won't be many other people around, so no need to worry.


The Best Time to Go to the Hot Spring Waterfall

The water is very hot! And well- so is El Salvador. So coming during the daytime would be a big no-no. We suggest coming here early in the morning, or closer to sunset. We experienced it after hiking all day, and it really couldn't have been more perfect.

Hot Spring waterfall sunset

Salto de Malacatiupan is perfect to enjoy early in the morning, or during sunset.


Hot Spring Waterfall: Other Things To Know

You've made it! Now what? Well here are just a few more things to know while visiting the hot spring waterfall.


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Getting to the Salto de Malacatiupan

Once you have entered the gates you will walk down a dirt path. In just a minute you will reach the water. If you go right, you will have a fuller river area to swim in. If you go to the left, you will be heading towards the waterfall.

hot spring waterfall (top)

The entrance to go down to the falls is on. the right of the river.

In order to reach the waterfall you will need to cross the river, and climb down from the right side. There is a rope to help you down, and then plenty of room to relax on the rocks or take a dip inside the hot waters.

climbing down the hot spring waterfall

Grab the rope to help you down into the water.

There are No Facilities

One thing that we love about this place is that it is purely natural. The bad thing? This means no bathrooms, no restaurants, no seating. So we suggest being prepared. Bring snacks, cold water, and toilet paper (as well as a trash bag to put it in). Towels and a change of clothes are also really helpful to have.

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Bring Proper Shoes

This doesn't necessarily mean the same for everybody. Danni hikes in flipflops, and prefers this, while Fede loves wearing sneakers, and it doesn't bother him getting them wet.

Hot spring waterfall Danni

To get to the hot spring waterfall you should bing some good shoes to climb the rocks.

The important thing to know is that you will have to jump over water through rocks to get over to the falls. We suggest water shoes as the best go to. Although they are not 100% necessary, they definitely are more comfortable.


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Packing for the Hot Spring Waterfall

Here are a few things we suggest bringing with you to the hot spring waterfall in El Salvador:


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  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Towel
  • Flip Flops (we personally always get Havaiana flip flops, as they are comfy and long lasting)
  • Water Shoes
  • Zippered Bag or Backpack (to secure your belongings)
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Bathing Suit
  • Action Camera (we use the Insta 360 X3 because it's small & waterproof)
  • Waterproof Phone Pouch (we use the Cafago Waterproof Phone Pouch)
  • Dry Bag 
  • Drone (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and doesn't sacrifice quality)
  • Snacks
  • Tripod (We were the only ones there when we went)

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A hot spring waterfall is truly a unique experience, and one of the places in Central America that isn't overrun with tourists yet! So make sure to add this place to your bucket list and visit this hidden gem on your future travels.


Planning on traveling through El Salvador and want other cool things to do? Well we've been working hard to provide tons of other guides and awesome locations to share! 


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