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Everything to Know About La Ruta De Las Flores

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El Salvador isn't particularly known for its booming tourism. However, the country has so much to offer, and should not be missed when traveling through Central America. One of the most popular (and one of our favorite) areas to explore in the country is La Ruta de Las Flores.


You may be thinking, "what is La Ruta de Las Flores?", or "how long do I need to visit?". Well keep reading and you will have all the necessary information. Here we will cover everything you need to know about visiting La Ruta de Las Flores in El Salvador.

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What is La Ruta de Las Flores?

The name of this actually translates to "the route of the flowers", which during certain months of the year, is exactly what it sounds like.


La Ruta de Las Flores is a route that goes through 5 small towns, and stretches along 35 kilometers. In the "dry season" (from November to May) the route is covered with vibrant flowers in bloom, contributing to the name.

Iglesia Ataco, la ruta de las flores

These five towns are in the best coffee region of El Salvador, and the weather is a little cooler than other areas of the country. La Ruta de Las Flores is great for the coffee, local food, and handmade crafts.


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Where is La Ruta de Las Flores?

The route starts in the town of Nahuizalco, and finishes in Concepcion de Ataco. This small region is in the Northwestern corner of the country, just a half hour inland. Starting with the first town, it is an hour and a half from San Salvador, and a little over an hour from Santa Ana.

la Ruta de Las Flores

How to Get to La Ruta de Las Flores

There are various ways that you can explore La Ruta de Las Flores, by both public and private transportation. Here's all you need to know.


Renting a Car for La Ruta de Las Flores

The CA-8 Highway is well paved and very easy to travel. We rented a car from San Salvador, and definitely found this to be one of the best ways to explore the region.


Rent a car from San Salvador:

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Taking Public Transportation to La Ruta de Las Flores

If renting a car isn't your thing, there are also local buses that can take you from one town to the next. We suggest starting in either San Salvador or Santa Ana. Just keep in mind that the "chicken buses" can be very crowded. Also, they don't have AC, as they are usually very old school buses imported from the US.

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Take a Tour to Ruta de Las Flores

If you are short on time, or would rather go with a group, another great option if to take a tour to La Ruta de Las Flores from San Salvador. This will cover the highlights, and will allow you to have all of your transportation covered.


Want to go on a tour to La Ruta de Las Flores? Here are a few that you can take from San Salvador:


Local Adjustments

Whenever traveling to a new destination, there are a few important things to know before you get there. Here are some things to keep into consideration while traveling to La Ruta de Las Flores in El Salvador.


Currency

Despite being in Central America, the official currency here is actually the US dollar. Especially in La Ruta de Las Flores, most things can only be paid with cash, so make sure to take out plenty.


Language

The official language in El Salvador is Spanish. Some people will speak English, but being that these are small towns, learning some Spanish will definitely help getting around much easier.


Outlets

The electrical outlets in El Salvador are the same as the ones in the US, which are plug types A and B. The country runs on 115 V, and has a standard frequency of 60 Hz.


Water

Only 10% of the surface water in all of El Salvador is deemed potable. Therefore, we recommend skipping the tap water, and sticking to bottled water.


The Five Towns of La Ruta De Las Flores

All five towns along La Ruta de Las Flores are very small, and can easily be discovered by foot. Every one of the pueblos deserve a stop, whether it is for just a couple hours, or for a full day and night. Each town has its own charm, and a reason for visiting.


1. Nahuizalco

This is the first town on the route, and is very tiny. Nahuizalco consists of one main square> Here you can find a large indoor market, as well as vendors lined along the plaza outside of the market. There is a small church, and a few cute stands that sell homemade souvenirs and crafts.

Nahuizalco, la ruta de las flores

Nahizalco is the first town along La Ruta de Las Flores, and has a big market.

We loved this spot for the shops, and the local feel. We feel that an hour or two is enough time to just enjoy the atmosphere of this small town.


2. Salcoatitan

The second town is just 15 minutes past Nahuizalco, and is known for its amazing coffee and yuca dishes. Like Nahuizalco, the town doesn't have much to see, other than the main square in town and the market. This stop is really just great to take in the flavors of the region.

Yucca in Salcoatitan, la ruta de las flores

The best thing to do here

The Coffee Factory, Salcoatitan, la ruta de las flores

 is to try local foods.


The only thing to bring here is your appetite and some cash! Head to The Coffee Factory for an amazing frozen coffee and a dessert. Then head to the market upstairs to El Buen Gusto for some super tasty pupusas. While downstairs, you will find plenty of great yucca dishes as well. 


A bonus? Get a quesadilla with your coffee! No, don't worry- we don't mean the Mexican quesadilla! Actually a quesadilla in this region is a sort of pound cake that is commonly found in cafes and sold on the street.


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3. Juayua

Juayua is the most popular town for people to stay along the Ruta de Las Flores. This is becuase it is in the middle, and home to the famous food festival. Make sure to come on the weekend, as it happens from 11-4 on Saturdays and Sundays.


*Note: This will soon be changing. As of now the festival is only weekends, but there are future plans to start doing the festival every day.


The town of Juayua is actually located 5-10 minutes past Salcoatitan, but off the main road. Some other highlights of Juayua are the red and white church in the main square, and the waterfalls in the area.

iglesia Juayua, la ruta de las flores
Juayua El Salvador, la ruta de las flores
Food festival Juayua, la ruta de las flores

Juayua is the main town, known for its food festival.

Just outside of town you can also visit Siete Cascadas (a set of seven waterfalls), and Chorros de la Calera, which is right next to Siete Cascadas. Check below for a look at Chorros de la Calera.

Chorros de la Calera, la Ruta de las flores

Chorros de la Calera, Juayua


*Note: Chorros de la Calera are currently closed to the public, and need special permission from the owner to enter. We were unable to reach them, so we flew our drone down to check them out.


Where to Stay in Juayua

The one thing we loved about staying in Juayua, was the view we had waking up. We stayed in Hotel Juayua, which has a pool and a beautiful garden area. It also offers the most stunning sunrise with the volcanos as a backdrop. As a bonus they have several cats which are super sweet and cute!

Hotel Juayua, la ruta de las flores

Sunrise at Hotel Juayua is simply magical.

4. Apaneca

The fourth town of Apaneca is known for its craftsmanship and arts. This is a great town to walk around and admire the different murals, as well as the peculiar landscaped hill that backdrops the city.


Apaneca is also a great stop to spend a little extra time, as there are two popular hikes nearby. Laguna Verde and Laguna de las Ninfas are both offered by tour guides in the area, or can be driven to on your own. However, ATV or buggies are popular to rent to get to these. We like this choice because it is safer and more fun.

Apaneca, la Ruta de las flores

Apaneca is know for its green surroundings and local crafts.

5. Concepcion de Ataco

They say save the best for last right? Well Ataco was our favorite of all the towns along la Ruta de Las Flores. We read many blogs saying that Juayua was the most lively, but we experienced that although during the day it was good in Juayua, the night was better in Ataco.


Some of the highlights of Concepcion de Ataco include the many different restaurants and souvenir shops along the streets, the viewpoint at sunset, and the area of Buenos Aires.


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Buenos Aires is located on the other side of town from the main viewpoint, but also has a very nice view at the top. There are shops, a restaurant, maze, a small suspension bridge, and the "casa en el aire". 

Concepcion de Ataco, la ruta de las flores

sunset view at the viewpoint

maze in Ataco, la ruta de las flores

the maze at Buenos Aires

Where To Eat In Ataco

Our favorite restaurant that we went to was Xochikalco. We dined at a small table in the middle of a garden, and had delicious food. We ordered the chicken panini (which we added pesto to), a pupusa de locro (a local flower), and fish with an almond sauce. Everything was super tasty, and it was evident why all the locals ate here.

Xochikalco Restaurant la ruta de las flores

Xochicalco has delicious food and the most beautiful garden area.


Other Things to Do Along la Ruta de Las Flores

Other than the five towns along la Ruta de Las Flores, there are plenty of other things to do in the area! Here are a few other things to check out nearby.


Cascadas de Don Juan

These waterfalls are just a 10 minute detour off the main route, located between the towns of Apaneca and Concepcion de Ataco. The entrance fee is $3, and there is a parking lot and restrooms at the entrance.

Cascadas de Don Juan, la Ruta de las flores

A small trail is just across the road, and can be accessed from 9 am to 5 pm. There is no need for sneakers or anything special, as the trail only takes a few minutes to reach the falls. Take a dip in, or just walk up and enjoy the view.


Los Ausoles

This was actually a little confusing for us, as originally we saw a large sign for "Los Ausoles", and then Google Maps brought us to a different location.


To be clear, there are two different sets of "ausoles", which are geothermal springs. The one that is right near La Ruta de Las Flores is found in the map as BioPark Los Ausoles. It is shown to be open 24/7, but in reality there is a gate, so we suggest going between 9 am and 5 pm.

Los Ausoles, El Salvador, la ruta de las flores

Los Ausoles are natural geothermal springs you can visit near la Ruta de Las Flores.

There is a small restaurant on site, and the geothermal springs take just a minute to walk down to. Right at the gate there is a guy who will take you down, as it can be dangerous to walk around them on your own. I visited and ate in less than a half hour, and spent only a couple of dollars.


The Other "Los Ausoles"

This is the one that Google brought me to, which is quite far from La Ruta de Las Flores. These geothermal springs are called "Los Ausoles de Atiquizaya" on the map and the place is by no means a tourist destination, but definitely a hidden gem.


Los Ausoles de Atiquizaya are much more impressive, but are located in a small town that can only be reached by 4x4. This is important to know, as the road was a solid half hour of horrible rocks, and actually destroyed the bottom of our rental car. However, if you do make it, the sight is stunning, and you will surely be by yourself to enjoy them.

Los Ausoles de Atiquizaya

One of the most beautiful natural phenomenons


Salto de Malacatiupan

This is a little out of the way, as it is 45 minutes further north from the final town in La Ruta de Las Flores. However, it is truly worth it! Due to volcanic activity, the river and the waterfalls here are hot! Bathe in the natural pools made along the river, or climb down and swim to the powerful falls. This was really a highlight of our trip, and was worth the drive.


Getting Around La Ruta de Las Flores

The great thing is that all 5 towns along La Ruta de las Flores are just minutes away from one another. We rented a car, but there are also local buses that you can take to make it from one town to the other.


Note: If you'd like to rent a car to get around, you'll have to do so from San Salvador, as the small towns along La Ruta de Las Flores don't have rental companies.

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Food & Drink in La Ruta de Las Flores

Just to recap, here are a few of our top recommendations for foods:

  • Pupusas: a thick tortilla stuffed with cheese, meat, seafood, or vegetables
  • Coffee: this is best region, and a huge producer
  • Quesadilla: a sweet bread found in Salcoatitan
  • Yuca: the base for a lot of dishes in Salcoatitan

And here are some recommendations for places to eat:

  • El Buen Gusto: for great coffee in Salcoatitan
  • Xochikalco: the best restaurant in Ataco
  • Juayua Food Festival: happens on weekends
Xochikalco, where to eat in la ruta de las Flores

Xochikalco also has an adorable dining area.


Is Ruta de Las Flores Safe?

While most think that this country is dangerous, El Salvador is actually super safe. The people in the towns of La Ruta de Las Flores are extremely friendly, and we always felt very safe and secure day and night.

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Other Things to Know About Visiting La Ruta de Las Flores

Now you know almost everything you need for visiting La Ruta de Las Flores. Don't go anywhere though- here are a few more things to keep in mind.


Weather in La Ruta de Las Flores

El Salvador is hot year round, and has just two seasons. From November to April is the dry season, and from May to October is the rainy season. During this time it is extra humid, and there a lot of thunder storms.


The Best Time to Visit La Ruta de Las Flores

The best time to visit La Ruta de Las Flores is when the flowers are in full bloom, which is between November and February.


Packing for a Trip to La Ruta de Las Flores

There are tons of fun activities in nature around La Ruta de Las Flores, so it's important you pack properly for your visit. Here is a list of what to pack when you go to La Ruta de Las Flores:


  • Sunscreen 
  • Bug Spray
  • Reusable Water Bottle (we use 17oz Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle" rel="nofollow" target="_blank" class="" style="outline: none;">this water bottle from Cafago because it holds the temperature)
  • Flip Flops (we personally always get Havaiana flip flops, as they are comfy and long lasting)
  • Water Shoes
  • Sneakers (for the hikes)
  • Zippered Bag or Backpack (to secure your belongings)
  • Power Bank (we use Anker power banks, as they are super long lasting and sturdy)
  • Bathing Suits 
  • Drone (We use the Mavic Mini Pro 3 because it's super light and doesn't sacrifice quality)
  • 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 (for things that are not waterproof while visiting waterfalls)
  • Travel Adapter (we use Tessan travel adapters as they are affordable and reliable)
  • Cash (and plenty of it for the street vendors and markets)


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Have we convinced you to visit La Ruta de Las Flores yet? This area is not to be missed out on if you are traveling to El Salvador, and deserve a full weekend to enjoy all that they offer.


Planning on visiting other parts of El Salvador? Stay tuned for our weekly blog articles about this gorgeous country!


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