La Palma in Chalatenango. A Colorful Mountain Town

By Eddie Galdamez  |  May 8th, 2022
La Palma Chalatenango
Town of La Palma El Salvador. Image by Karolina

La Palma Chalatenango is a mountainous municipality and city located in the department of Chalatenango. The town of La Palma El Salvador is known for playing a significant role during the civil war peace negotiations and for the unique type of crafts made here.

The colorful small town is known for its handcrafted objects made out of wood or Copinol Seeds. These crafts are made in numerous shops all over town and sold all over the country.

The city is located at an elevation of about 1000 feet above sea level; therefore, it enjoys a colder mountainous climate almost the entire year.

La Palma in Chalatenango is about 80 kilometers from San Salvador and about 10 kilometers from the Honduran border.

First Dialogue for Peace in La Palma in 1984

The city of La Palma was the location of the first dialogue between the FMLN guerrillas and the government of ex-president Jose Napoleon Duarte.

The peace meeting of La Palma was the first of its kind; both sides agreed to get together and discuss how to end the armed conflict.

The historic meeting would take place with strong opposition. Some argued that getting together with guerilla fighters would give them legitimacy.

The La Palma’s meeting went on as scheduled, but both sides didn’t reach an official agreement. Later on, and by a Legislative Decree from the Salvadoran Legislative Assembly, the town of La Palma was proclaimed as the Cradle of Peace or La Cuna de La Paz in Spanish.

La Palma in Chalatenango
La Palma in Chalatenango.

La Palma, Part of El Salvador Artisan Route or Ruta Artesanal

The colorful city of La Palma is part of the Artisan tourist Route or Ruta Artesanal. This tourist route is an enjoyable tour that combines various attractions that revolve around local arts, crafts, and history. The other towns on this route are San Ignacio, Citala, San Sebastian, Ilobasco, and Suchitoto.

Fernando Llort and Naif Art from La Palma

Renowned Salvadoran painter Fernando Llort moved to the city of La Palma in the early ’60s. Llort is credited with the creation of Naif art, a type of art design recognized all over the country.

Naif art is a technique that consists of representing moments of everyday rural life, as well as typical flora and fauna into Copinol Seeds or wood. These types of crafts are the most recognizable from La Palma.

Llort came to La Palma in the 1960s, at which point he worked on developing Naif Art. A technique that he shared with others in the city.

La Palma Chalatenango crafts
La Palma’s crafts

Activities in La Palma Chalatenango

These are some activities that you can do while visiting La Palma. They are recommendations that can help you enjoy your visit to this colorful town.

Go shopping for local crafts. Buying some locally made crafts is a must when visiting La Palma; these items are great as souvenirs. Support the local economy by spending at a few local stores; everyone in town will appreciate it.

Visit a local artisan shop. If you want to know how handcrafted items are made, visit a local shop that will allow you to see the process. At these shops, you can see all the work and effort that goes into making each piece; some of these shops will also allow you to participate and create your object.

Enjoy the ecotourism in the area. La Palma is surrounded by dense forest; therefore, there are plenty of ecotourist activities that you can enjoy, such as camping or hiking.

Enjoy the weather. Because of its location, the town enjoys a colder suitable climate for almost the entire year. This weather is perfect for relaxing and enjoying the local atmosphere.

Try the local coffee. The coffee plantations in the area are not as widespread or popular as others in the nation. Nevertheless, the coffee from this region is fantastic, and it has won many coffee awards in the country.

Stroll around town and get to know the locals and the city. The best way to explore and enjoy La Palma is to wander around town. Visit the central park, the church, the stores, and the local market. Immerse yourself into the local culture, even if it is just for the day.

Even though La Palma is a small town, visitors have plenty of activities that can be done in a day or a few days.

Other Activities Near La Palma

These are some activities that are available to do near the city of La Palma.

Visit Miramundo. Miramundo is part of a foggy forest located about nine kilometers northeast of La Palma, near El Pital. This area is one of the coldest in the country.

Miramundo sits at over 2,200 feet above sea level; you will get some astonishing views of the Salvadoran territory from here. Furthermore, Miramundo is an ideal place to go camping and enjoy the colder mountainous climate.

Go to San Ignacio. You can visit San Ignacio, another colorful small town in the Artesian touristic route. This small town is about three kilometers away from La Palma.

Visit Las Pilas, a rural area belonging to the municipality of San Ignacio. It’s about nine kilometers from the city of La Palma, near the border with Honduras. This area is ideal for those who like spending time outdoors; also, it is a popular camping site.

Lastly, El Pital Mountain. El Pital mountain is one of the most beloved and famous national parks in El Salvador; it is about 15 kilometers from La Palma. El Pital is the highest point in the Salvadoran territory, at over 2,700 feet above sea level. The area is ideal for climbing, ecotourism, biking, and camping.

City of La Palma
City of La Palma in Chalatenango

Accommodations in La Palma

The city of La Palma and its surrounded areas have numerous hotels where you can enjoy a quiet weekend with family or friends.

These are some popular accommodations in the city and its surroundings, Miramundo Hostal, Alla Arriba Hotel and restaurant, Hostal de Montana El Limo, and Cabana Las Pilas.

There are other options available in addition to the ones listed above. Furthermore, in this area, you will find fantastic camping options.

La Pama
Sunset at La Palma in Chalatenango. Photo by @Erick_Carreros

The City of La Palma in Chalatenango

The colorful city of La Palma is a fantastic place to get away from the hustle of city life or hot weather.

At La Palma in Chalatenango, you will find a relaxed atmosphere with plenty of character, great handmade crafts, and a fantastic cup of coffee to keep you warm. Additionally, the views from this town high up in the mountains are just astonishing.

So, Travel to El Salvador and visit the colorful city of La Palma. The weather is fantastic, the people are amazing, and the scenery is even better!