Monday, December 9, 2013

Volcano Bashing in El Salvador

Our neighbor to the East, El Salvador doesnt seem to get the tourism focused on the outdoors quite like we do here in Guatemala.  So we decided to head over and check things out.

I must say we were pleasantly surprised by what we found.  Only a few short hours from La Antigua, Guatemala you can be cruising the "Ruta de las Flores", an old back-roads Salvador feel with cool little colonial and artisan towns with quaint B&B's and fun bars.

But crusing Salvadors backroads wasnt why we went.  We wanted to check out the rarely visited interior of the country with her National Parks, caves, waterfalls and volcanic peaks.  We headed first for the sulfuric crater lake volcano of Santa Ana.  Its an hour or so hike up to the cone where you are looking down on this super cool blue crater lake.  Its not a super hard hike but is very different from the Guatemalan peaks that we normally hike.

Its an easy 4 hour drive to Santa Ana from Antigua and after your hike its only a bit further to the Ruta de Las Flores where you can find food festivals, outdoor beer gardens, scenic lakes, caves and waterfalls.  We headed to Juayua first and caught up with the street-side feast that was going on.  It was like a little piece of Guatemalan Europe.  Folks drinking beers and eating food in the streets.

Just outside town is a waterfall with a system of caves that you can swim through.  Each tunnel takes you further into the mountainside and into a larger chamber.  Pretty sweet! After lounging in the pools we headed back to town for beers and a night out before we headed over to Lago de Coatepeque, the Salvadoran version of Guate's Atitlan.  It wasn't as big but it sure was pretty, we had seen it from the tops of Izalco and Santa Ana volcanoes and knew we wanted to head over and check it out.

Funny how after so much time here in Guatemala that I had neglected our Central American neighbor.  She's so close and offers so much to do than just hanging on the beach and surfing.  Dont get me wrong, Zonte and the rest of the beaches are pretty stellar.  But this highlands "Ruta de las Flores" side of Salvador was a great change from my normal trip.
We'll most likely be adding this to the long list of amazing trips on the Old Town Outfitters website.  Stop in and get yourself booked up on our next adventure!