Ilobasco El Salvador, a City Renowned for its Clay Pottery

By Eddie Galdamez.  |  Mar 11th, 2022
Ilobasco El Salvador
City of Ilobasco in Cabañas El Salvador.

Ilobasco El Salvador is a city and municipality in the department of Cabañas known for its renowned pottery made out of clay. Ilobasco is located in the central region of El Salvador, about 42 kilometers from San Salvador and about 75 kilometers from the international airport.

The city of Ilobasco El Salvador is a well-known charming town that produces all types of unique crafts made out of clay. The clay handicrafts created in the colorful town of Ilobasco are recognized and sold all over the country.

Ilobasco is part of El Salvador’s arts and crafts touristic route. This route focuses on displaying the country’s artistic side by showcasing small colorful towns with deep history and traditions.

The other cities in this route are San Ignacio, La Palma, Suchitoto, Citala, and San Sebastian.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Tourism: A Journey Through Pristine Beaches, Colorful Towns, and Enchanting Parks

The city’s layout is similar to most colonial towns in El Salvador; in the city center, you will find the local church, the park, and governmental buildings.

Ilobasco El Salvador
Catholic church in the city of Ilobasco El Salvadoor.

Ilobasco Pottery and Crafts

Ilobasco’s pottery and crafts are made out of clay and are known locally and internationally. This clay, which is extracted locally, is used for creating miniature items that display daily scenes lived by Salvadorans.

In Ilobasco, you will find different pottery and handicrafts, such as traditional crafts that include pots, pans, and flower pots. Also, religious crafts such as catholic images, the virgin mary, and Christmas decorations. Lastly, there are the typical Ceramic items such as small human figures that represent Salvadoran daily life.

One item from the Ilobasco’s craft that is popular is miniatures that people call surprises. Surprises are a clay item covered with another piece of clay shaped and painted in the form of a fruit or an egg. The first part can be removed, and then the surprise piece can be viewed.

Ilobasco El Salvador
Ilobasco’s surprise crafts.

You can buy these items in numerous colorful shops along the streets of the city. Visit Ilobasco, one of the top pottery markets in the country.

A Short History of Ilobasco

Ilobasco, like all the towns in the Cabañas departmental area, is located in a territory formerly occupied by Lenca tribes and conquered at the end of the 15th century by Yaqui or Pipil invaders.

The town began to resurface in the early 1600s, with the name of San Miguel de Xilobasco or Hilobasco. It was then when the locals built the first church in the heart of what is now the city of Ilobasco.

El Salvador crafts
Clay arts and crafts made in Ilobasco.

About Ilobasco El Salvador

The territorial extension of Ilobasco is 249 square kilometers. The city is divided into the neighborhoods: San Sebastián, San Miguel, Los Desamparados, El Calvario, and La Cruz.

The economy of Ilobasco is based on cattle ranching, corn farming, commerce, and pottery, the activity for which Ilobasco is best known.

City of Ilobasco
City of Ilobasco.

Getting to Ilobasco in El Salvador

From San Salvador, take the Pan-American Highway towards Cojutepeque in the department of Cuscatlán. About nine kilometers after Cojutepeque, you will get to the small town of San Rafael Cedros; from here, you must take a detour towards Ilobasco. Click here to see the city on Google maps. If you prefer to take the public bus, take route 111 that goes from San Salvador to Ilobasco.

If this is your first time in El Salvador, I recommend using the services of a tour company; let them worry about driving and traffic.

Ilobasco El Salvador

Ilobasco is famous for its pottery and crafts. Additionally, this is one of the oldest artisan towns in the country. For that reason, the city receives many tourists every year.

It is said that the pottery techniques in Ilobasco initially had a pre-Hispanic style; then, the creations were perfected in the colonial era.

Ilobasco is a city worth visiting and exploring. This town is part of the El Salvador arts and craft Tourist Route, which is heavily promoted by the Ministry of Tourism of El Salvador (MITUR).