Not many people traveling through Central America ever make it to El Salvador; those who do are typically there to surf and surf alone. However, if you have the time and a bit of an intrepid spirit, La Ruta de las Flores is a magical tour that’s not to be missed.
The 40km mountainous stretch in western El Salvador is named after the fields of wildflowers that bloom along the road from Mid-October to February. But it’s not only flowers that you’ll find—follow the route and you’ll pass through charming colonial towns, inviting waterfalls, beautiful lagoons, artisan markets and so much more.
La Ruta de las Flores is easily navigated, but here are a few of the most delightful spots along the way:
This is the largest city before La Ruta de las Flores. Though there’s not all that much to experience here, this is likely where you’ll pass through to rent a car or catch a bus to La Ruta.
This characteristic town is primarily known for its weekend food market, when the central plaza is filled with live music and dozens of food vendors. You’ll only find it on Saturday and Sunday, but it is worth planning your trip accordingly. Should you miss the market, or if you want to add on to the adventure, then consider visiting the Iglesia de Cristo Negro (where you’ll find a famous ‘Black Christ’ statue), the nearby coffee plantations, or the ‘Scenic Seven Waterfalls Tour’. Be sure to bring a swimsuit along with you to visit the waterfalls as there are plenty of lovely pools to cool off in!
If you stop in Apaneca, a visit to the nearby lagoons is an absolute must. Both Laguna Verde and Laguna de las Ninfas are just a couple of miles from town. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, consider the Apaneca Canopy Tour, which boasts lovely views of Pacaya Volcano in Guatemala.
One of the last stops on the route, Atacao is known for its art shops, large murals on town buildings, and the hike up to Mirador de la Cruz. Atacao is regularly considered to be one of the most welcoming of the colonial towns, and an easy place to spend the day getting lost among its brightly colored streets.
This is the last stop on La Ruta de las Flores. Don’t plan on spending much time here, either; it’s primarily a transport hub for people leaving the route.
The best way to experience La Ruta de las Flores is via car. It will only take about one day to stop at all the towns along the route, though it is certainly worth it to slow down and experience the natural beauty surrounding the colonial towns. The way is easily navigated, marked by designated blue signs. If using the bus as transport, allow 2-3 days to see the route. In the colonial towns you’ll find a handful of small hotels, though don’t expect all of them to have an online presence.
Have you been to El Salvador before?