The Flower Trail
If you’re looking for a region in El Salvador where you can do it all, head on over to the Flower Trail. You’ll discover five charming cities: Apaneca, Juayua, Ataco, Nahuizalco and Salcoatitan, each with their own unique treasures and treats to offer.
Five Towns and Five Amazing Views
The five towns: Apaneca, Juayua, Ataco, Nahuizalco and Salcoatitan, located in the mountain range Ilamatepec – Apaneca have been named the Flower Trail due to the nice crispy weather and amazing floral scenery. The trail will take you through two departments in the western part of El Salvador: Sonsonate and Ahuachapan.
Furniture in Nahuizalco
When traveling through Sonsonate you will first get to the town of Nahuizalco, which in Nahuatl means “place of the four Izalcos” since according to the locals the population of this town used to be four times greater that the one in its neighboring town Izalco. Today Nahuizalco is still one of the most important indigenous towns in the country. This small town in El Salvador is also very famous for its handicrafts and the signature furniture made from wicker and tulle. Another interesting thing to see is their night market which is held every night and lit only by candles.
Handicrafts in Salcoatitan
Salcoatitan is the second most popular destination when going up the mountain range. Salcoatitan means City of the Quetzalcoatl. Located at a little more than 1040 meters above sea level, Salcoatitan was the first place in El Salvador where coffee bushes were planted in the 1860s. Salcoatitan is also well known for its many handicraft stores, even though relatively few people stop on their way – despite the nice option of comfortable new restaurants and galleries that have been recently integrated into the community.
Gastronomic Festival in Juayua
Juayua, which means river of purple orchids in Nahuatl, is located at 1060 meters above sea level. Juayua is a city that has become so popular over the last few years and most of it is probably due in part to its many small hotels and the food festival held every weekend for the last 13 years. In Juayua you can also practice many eco-tourist activities such as hiking the Chorros de la Calera (a natural waterfall located at approximately 2 kilometers from the city center), River Monterrey and dry lagoon also known as the frog lagoon.
The Black Christ Church (Iglesia Del Cristo Negro) is a Catholic church built more than 500 years ago where the image of a black Christ is solemnly venerated here as well as in the city of Esquípulas in Guatemala. The church has been rebuilt three times in the past. Across from it you’ll find the main park, as in most of the colonial cities in the region. Juayua is a charming city where you can well enjoy a weekend or simple visit during a day trip.
Coffee in Apaneca
Located at 1455 meters above sea level and 91km from San Salvador, Apaneca is the highest located city in El Salvador. This is a place where some of the best and award winning coffees are produced due to its height. The city welcomes visitors with picturesque tile roofed homes and astonishing views of the mountains and hills. Apaneca means “the river of winds”, and the city pays respect to the meaning of its name. Along the mountain range you can see many wind barriers made from coffee bushes which add an additional beauty to the panoramic views.
The lagoons formed from volcanic craters and known as “Laguna de las ninfas” and “Laguna Verde” (green lagoon) are some of the most popular places visited in the area. The church of Apaneca used to maintain the original structure, but unfortunately had to be demolished and built all over again alter the damage done by the year 2001 earthquakes and most recently by a seismic wave that originated in the Apaneca region.
Textiles in Ataco
Located at only 5 kilometers from Apaneca in the department of Ahuchapan, Ataco is without a doubt a colorful town and holder of one of the most famous handcraft and textile stores in the region: “Diconte Axul”. The main park is located a couple of blocks from this store and across from the main church which has been recently re-built.
Along the Flower Trail many coffee faros and “beneficios” (coffee recollection sites) can be found, many of which have started offering guided coffee tours throughout their facilities. Some of these tours don’t even have to be paid for. If you plan to take one during your visit, and you will be expected to, in exchange, purchase a small amount of their goods. This generally falls somewhere in between the range of $5 – $10 per pound of gourmet quality coffee.