El Pital El Salvador is one of the most beautiful and one of the most visited natural parks in El Salvador. It is located in the department of Chalatenango, near the colorful towns of San Ignacio and La Palma. This iconic park is one of the highest points in the Salvadoran territory; it is located at over 8,000 feet above sea level.
This park is a popular destination for many locals and foreigners; it has magnificent biodiversity of many species of flora and fauna, some of which are on the list of endangered species.
Without a doubt, El Pital National park is the coldest place in the country, the temperature usually ranges from −6 °C or 21 °F to 17 °C or 63 °F.
Regularly, it rains at the park at any time of the year. However, over time, unusual events related to cold weather have caused a commotion among the local community; this is the case of the hail storm in 2004 and the snow flurries of 2016. In summary, El Pital is the coldest place in El Salvador.
El Pital is a binational natural park shared with Honduras; the Salvadoran area belongs to the municipality of San Ignacio and the Honduran region to Ocoatepeque.
Every week, many Salvadorans and foreigners venture into this amazing park for many different reasons. People travel to El Pital to go sightseeing, to enjoy the pleasant climate, to breathe fresh air, to admire the landscape, to explore the fauna and flora, or simply to get away from larger cities.
What to do at El Pital El Salvador.
Well, in this park, it is all about ecotourism and staying in touch with nature. The following are some of the activities that you can do at El Pital in El Salvador.
If you are up to the challenge of being active, trekking at El Pital is a popular activity; while trekking, you will get some amazing views of the area and also get to view the local flora and fauna. The two trails that are popular with visitors are to El Mojon and to Piedra Rajada.
El Mojon is located at the highest point in the park; this viewpoint is the border between Honduras and El Salvador; it has astonishing views of the surrounding area.
Then, there is the trail to Piedra Rajada, which means cracked stone. Here you will see two huge boulders separated by a crack that is at least 50 meters deep.
Locals assume that this rock is a meteorite that fell from the sky thousands of years ago and split. Now, you can walk across the boulders if you want to, there is a fallen tree that has been secured with metal wire and serves as a bridge.
To sum up, El Mojon and Piedra Rajada are the most popular trails; but, are not the only ones. At El Pital, you will have plenty of other trails ideal for trekking to choose from.
Enjoy the views.
El Pital National Park has fantastic views of most of the volcanoes in the Eastern and Central parts of the country; furthermore, on clear days, you will be able to see the city of Ocotepeque in the republic of Honduras.
Explore and view exceptional flora and fauna.
At this park, you will be able to contemplate and appreciate plenty of animals, plants, and trees that are native to El Pital.
The park has large vegetated areas with plenty of trees such as pine, cypress, and many species of oak. Furthermore, the Pital has many species of animals, amphibians, and reptiles that are only found at high altitudes.
Take a canopy tour.
Another popular activity at ElPital is their canopy zip-line; this is for those who enjoy extreme sports. The canopy zip-line is not as large as others in the country; however, it’s higher than most.
All in all, the activities at El Pital are about nature and ecotourism. You have the option of being active and hike one of the many trails, or simply enjoy the views, the climate, and fresh air available at this altitude.
The weather at El Pital El Salvador.
This park is the highest point in the country; therefore, the cold climate comes along with it. As previously stated, the temperature at this mountain varies from −6 °C or 21 °F during the cold months, to 17 °C or 63 °F during the warmer months.
Nevertheless, it is recommended that you bring thick clothes to protect yourself from these low temperatures, especially during the cold months or if you are spending the night at the park.
Where to stay at El Pital El Salvador.
If you want to get the most of this park, it is best to spend a day or two exploring and enjoying the area. When it comes to sleeping accommodations, you have three options, camping, renting a cabin, or staying at the local hotels nearby.
By far, camping is the preferred form of accommodation for most of those spending the night at El Pital. The park has numerous areas for camping, some of which end up being in private land.
If you visit during the weekends, you will see a lot of tents all over the camping grounds. If during your camping stay you want a more secluded a quieter camping site, look at staying at the two camping zones near the summit.
Make sure you bring everything you need for your camping trip, here you will not be able to find camping supplies or equipment for sale.
Renting a cabin.
Another option for spending the night is to rent a cabin; the park has four cabins available to rent to individuals or groups.
Each cabin is equipped with a double bed and a bunk bed. And so you know, the toilet is located outside the rooms. The prices for renting a cabin can go from $35.00 for two people to about $120.00 for a group of eight or more.
Also, keep in mind that the cost per cabin may increase during the busy touristic season
Staying at the local hotels nearby.
El pital is located near the border with Honduras, the nearest towns in the Salvadoran side are San Ignacio and La Palma.
Hotels options in this area are limited as most people visiting the National Park opt for camping or renting a cabin. The following are some of the hotel options nearby.
- El Pital Highland.
- El Pinabete hotel
- Hostal Miramundo
- Hacienda los 2 Sauces
- Hotel La Posada del Cielo
- El Pital Lecho de Flores
The hotels listed here are not the only ones available in the area. There might be some other hotels that don’t post their services online. Talk to a tour company in El Salvador and see what they recommend!
Travel to El Pital and spend at least one and night exploring this fantastic park. The accommodations might not be the best, but visiting El Pital is.
How to get to El Pital.
If you are driving to El Pital, I recommend you input the information into a map application and follow the directions; click here to see El Pital location on google maps.
If driving, make sure your car is up to the challenge, especially when it comes to the last five kilometers into the park, from the Canton Rio Chiquito bus stop.
This part of the drive is an uphill dirt road, which is not well maintained; so, a car with 4 well drive is recommended.
If taking the bus from San Salvador, do the following from the East Terminal or Terminal de Oriente.
- Take the bus route N-109 to San Ignacio, Chalatenango, the trip to San Ignacio will be about three hours.
- From San Ignacio, take bus 509 towards Las Pilas; however, you need to get off at the Canton Rio Chiquito stop. You can tell the driver to tell you where the stop is or follow the crowd as I am sure you will not be the only one on the bus heading to El Pital.
- From the Rio Chiquito bus stop, you will have two options to get to the park.One option is to hike the remaining 5 kilometers to the park entrance. But remember, this is an uphill hike over a dirt road; so, it can take up to an hour, depending on fitness level.The second option is to hire a car to get you all the way to the park entrance, the cost will be minimal as it is a shared car.
When going to El Pital, you will notice the following about people, most locals take cars all the way to the park, while most foreigners hike to the park.
National park El Pital El Salvador, one of the best mountains for ecotourism.
Considered as one of the best natural places to camp in El Salvador, El Pital is for those looking for ecotourism activities and also for those who want to escape from everyday life activities and relax in a more natural environment.
There are plenty of adventures and activities to do at this national park, just getting to the park is an adventure in itself.
Visit El Pital and take walks along the paths that converge in panoramic views of the neighboring towns such as San Ignacio and La Palma.
El Pital is a beautiful natural place that you should visit at least once. However, if you don’t want to venture that far out from San Salvador, take a look at the other parks in El Salvador. I am sure you will have a fantastic option near you to enjoy Salvadoran nature.