Juayua El Salvador. Great colonial town in Sonsonate

By Eddie Galdamez  |  Jun 23rd, 2022
Juayua El Salvador
Juayua El Salvador. Photo by @esimpressive

Juayua El Salvador is a colorful small colonial town in Sonsonate surrounded by mountains and vast vegetation; the city is part of the La Ruta de Las Flores touristic route.

This astonishing small municipality is located in the middle of mountains with spectacular landscapes; it is a top touristic destination for locals and foreigners alike.

Juayua in El Salvador
Juayua in El Salvador. Photo by @MITURElSalvador

The colorful town of Juayua attracts visitors for many different reasons; some of them are the fantastic scenery, the numerous cultural events, and the excellent history and traditions.

In the urban area, visitors will find craft shops, cafes, nurseries, restaurants, and art galleries, and on weekends you can taste different dishes in its famous gastronomic festival.

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

Juayua’s Tourism

The town of Juayua in Sonsonate has become a tourist attraction mainly due to being part of the La Ruta de Las Flores tourist route.

Also, the area around the town has numerous coffee plantations that produce some of the best Salvadoran coffee beans. Visitors can sample these great coffee beans at local coffee shops and restaurants.

The town is clean and well preserved. Here, visitors will see plenty of colonial architecture. Additionally, the walls around many stores or homes are covered with murals; these murals display local historical events or traditions.

The Santa Lucia Church

If you visit a colonial town like Juayua, you have to visit the local church; it goes hand in hand. With its marvelous architecture and history, the colonial church represents what the culture of the town is.

Some people visit this church because of faith; they do it mainly during the city’s patron saint festivities, from January 8th to the 15th.

People of faith visit the church to give thanks for the blessings received during the previous year; and pray that the upcoming year they get blessed as well.

Here are some interesting facts for you to know about Santa Lucia Church.

  • Many Salvadorans refer to the church not by its official name but as the Cristo Negro church or La Iglesia de Cristo Negro in Spanish.
  • The Santa Lucia cathedral highlights a colonial-era statue of the Cristo Negro or Black Christ.
  • The Black Christ statue was carved by Quirio Cantano in the late 16th century.
  • The statue of Black Christ in Juyua is a sister statue to that of the revered Basilica of Esquipulas in Guatemala.

The Santa Lucia church has been rebuilt twice. The first church was built around 1557 with Colonial Adobe and was destroyed by an earthquake.

The second church made out of wood in a neoclassic style was destroyed by a fire. The third church was built in the same location as the first two in 1957.

If you happen to make it to Juayua, visit this fantastic colonial church. It is one of the best churches in El Salvador.

It doesn’t matter if you are religious or not; the Santa Lucia church will have plenty for you to appreciate and view.

Santa Lucia Church
Santa Lucia church in Juayua.

What to do or see in Juayua?

The best things to do in Juayua are to attend the food festival, visit the Los Chorros de La Calera waterfall, or tour a coffee plantation. Additionally, you can explore the iconic Santa Lucia church and the many murals around town.

The Juayua Food Festival

Attending the food festival in Juayua is one of the main things to do while visiting. The festival attracts hundreds of national and international tourists. Every Saturday and Sunday, the food festival is held in the central square of the town.

Local merchants offer traditional dishes that include chicken soup, pupusas, yuca with pork, tamales, and many other popular Salvadoran foods.

Juayua Food Festival
Juayua Food Festival.

According to many local merchants, the Juayua Food Festival has been in existence for more than 25 years. It has become one of the favorite events for thousands of local Salvadorans and foreigners.

The Juayua gastronomy festival is a top attraction in the La Ruta de Las Flores tourist route.

Los Chorros de La Calera Waterfall

A popular activity in Juayua is visiting the Los Chorros de La Calera, a beautiful cascading waterfall outside the town.

These charming waterfalls descend through the mountain and reach the area where the swimming poods are located.

Getting to the waterfall is an excellent hike through rough terrains and coffee plantations. The walk can take about an hour or more, depending on if it’s summer or winter.

But, if you don’t want to walk to the waterfall, you can get a moto-taxi that will take you there for a cost of about $3.00.

A few quick tips to keep in mind, go with a guide or someone who knows the way. Also, because of the terrain, wear comfortable shoes.

Lastly, if you plan on jumping into the pools, wear your swimsuit from the start. There are no changing rooms at the waterfall.

Chorros de la Calera Waterfall
Chorros de la Calera Waterfall in Juayua. Photo by @esimpressive

The Coffee Tours

Juayua is located in a mountainous area perfect for growing coffee; visitors will not have difficulty finding an excellent coffee cup here. The region around Juayua is part of the touristic coffee route in El Salvador.

A popular activity in Juayua is to take a coffee tour to one of the plantations in the area.

During these tours, visitors will be able to observe the entire process of making coffee beans. For example, the roasting process involved, the exact temperatures needed, the measurements, and much more.

If you are in the Juayua area, take the time and visit a coffee plantation. Crafting the perfect cup of coffee is not that easy.

The Colorful Town and its Murals

A sure way to appreciate and enjoy the colorfulness of Juayua is to immerse yourself in the town and its culture; walk around and see what you can find.

In the town of Juayua, you can shop for souvenirs and support the local economy at any of the many small stores in town.

Generally, all the shops will have locally made handicrafts. These crafts are perfect as gifts or to keep at home as decorations.

Also, while exploring the city, you will notice all the murals around town.

The Juayua murals are created by local artists and have their own stories to tell. These murals convey a narrative, but most of them are about life in small towns like Juayua.

By all means, you don’t have to walk around town to experience the local culture; you can just hang out at any coffee store or restaurant.

Sit at a local coffee; try the local dishes, and soak in the culture. Immersing yourself in the city is the best way to explore Juayua’s culture.

The Conga Bus

Another fun thing to do in Juayua is to take a ride on the Conga Bus. This double-decker tour bus with an open-top will take you around the La Ruta de Las Flores. Get rid of stress on a fun tour of the other towns on the Ruta de Las Flores aboard the La Conga Bus.

The Happy Trains and Horse-Drawn Carriages

You can get to know Juayua by taking the happy train that takes you through the main streets of Juayua. Additionally, you can take a horse-drawn carriage around the city.

Is Juayua Safe to Visit?

The town of Juayua in Sonsonate is one of the safest towns in Salvador to visit. Because of the number of local and foreign tourists that visit the area. Extra security is always around, especially in tourist areas. Year after year, Juayua keeps being one of the most visited small colonial towns in El Salvador.

Accommodations in Juayua El Salvador

Juayua is a small colonial mountain town with a colder climate. It’s a nice place to spend a few days exploring the city itself and the surrounding areas.

The rest of the La Ruta de Las Flores cities are within 45 minutes or less from Juayua. It is good news if you plan to visit the other colorful towns.

Most of the accommodations at Juayua will be in small Hostels or bed and breakfast type of locations; here are a few of them.

The places listed above are not the only ones available; they are just some of the most popular.

Getting to Juayua in Sonsonate

If you are planning to take the local bus to Juayua, follow the following steps. First, you need to make it to Santa Ana, Sonsonate, or Ahuachapan.

  • From Santa Ana, you can take bus route 238 directly to Juayua.
  • From Ahuachapan, take 249 south and disembark at Juayua.
  • Lastly, from Sonsonate, take 249 North and disembark at Juayua.

Now, you can get to Ahuachapan or Sonsonate by one of the following ways.

  • From the coastal areas of La Libertad, you can take bus route 287 that takes you to Sonsonate.
  • From San Salvador, you can take bus route 205 to Sonsonate or 249 to Ahuachapan.

If you are driving, the best way to get there is to input Juayua into your map application and follow the directions. Click here to see Juayua on google maps.

City of Juayua El Salvador
Juayua El Salvador.

Juayua’s History

Juayua in Sonsonate is a Pre-Columbian town of Pipil origin. According to historians, in 1550, its population was about 300 inhabitants. By 1577, Juatyua was a town of catechization for the Franciscans priests living in Sonsonate.

Towards the end of the 16th century, priests in the area planted an image similar to the Black Christ of Esquipulas. It was there that they erected the first hermitage of what eventually would become the Church of Santa Lucía.

Juayua obtained the title of a villa in February 1877, but its name at that time was “El Progreso.” Thanks to the cultivation of coffee, the area had become a prosperous and picturesque town.

In 1906, a legislative decree changed the name of the Villa from El Progreso to what it is now, Juayua. It also changed the title from Villa to city.

Juayua El Salvador

Juayua is probably the most attractive town on the La Ruta de Las Flores tourist route. This town has a fantastic waterfall, excellent food, tasty local coffee beans, and much more.

Without a doubt, Juayua is one of the best colonial towns to visit in El Salvador. So, if you happen to be in El Salvador, take a trip to Juayua!