Panchimalco El Salvador: A Colonial Town with Fantastic Charm and Culture near the Capital

By Karla Ramos  |  Mar 25th, 2023
Panchimalco El Salvador
Town of Panchimalco El Salvador.

Panchimalco El Salvador is a colorful Pre-Columbian town nestled in the mountains of San Salvador. This attractive town is worth visiting because of its historical importance to the country and its cultural traditions.

Panchimalco is one of the two cities in the country that still has deep links to the indigenous Salvadoran people, the other one being the town of Izalco.

The town of Panchimalco originates from the 16th century; here is where the Pipil Indians fled during the Spanish takeover of San Salvador.

The Pipil Indians settled with the already existing Mayan population of Panchimalco, and to this day, the locals have maintained many of their indigenous customs and traditions.

Panchimalco El Salvador
Panchimalco’s Church.

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

What to do in Panchimalco El Salvador?

In Panchimalco, you can visit the colonial church, the house of culture, the Panchimalco Sculpture Park, and the Encuentros workshop. Additionally, you can explore the murals and sculptures found all over town, and enjoy the scenery.

Visit the oldest colonial church in the country.

When the Spanish took over Panchimalco, they made it a village; therefore, a church was built to maintain and promote Catholicism.

The Church’s original construction dates back to 1725, making it the oldest colonial church in El Salvador and one of the most significant historical monuments in the country.

The Santa Cruz of Panchimalco church has a baroque-style facade, which to this date, preserves much of its original materials and design. And the inner part of the church is supported by 16 wooden columns on stone bases.

The church of Panchimalco, which is more than 290 years old, is an architectural treasure in the country and one of the highlights of Panchimalco.

Visit the house of culture in Panchimalco.

If you want to learn more about local history and culture, stop by the house of culture.

This is the organization in charge of promoting and executing cultural activities that help rescue and maintain the traditions and customs of the town.

The building has a colorful façade, and within its facilities, you will find some architectural pieces on display.

At the house of culture, you will see amazing photos of Panchimalco in the past that will give a better understanding of the town. Also, images of traditional festivals with all its customs and traditions.

Explore the Panchimalco Sculpture Park

The Panchimalco Sculpture Park is located behind the town’s municipal park, near the colonial church.

Here, you will find murals that display the indigenous population and some that exhibit pre-Columbian life. Also, at this park, you will find carving on rocks and sculptures created by local artists.

Encuentros workshop and art school.

Encuentros art school and workshop is a small space located in Panchimalco; here, children, teens, and adults can venture into and appreciate the art world and see the identity of this colorful town.

At the art school, you will see fantastic paintings done by renowned Salvadoran artist Miguel Angel Ramirez, who has done many murals around town.

Exploring the colorful murals and sculptures found all over town.

A fun thing to do in Panchimalco is to walk around and see the murals and sculptures. Local artist makes sure the town remains colorful by building paintings and sculptures whenever possible.

Many of the town’s shops or homes have the outside painted as murals; most of the images on these murals describe indigenous times or colonial times.

Sculptures are another thing that you will find in Panchimalco; right at the entrance of the town is a large sculpture representing Jesus.

There are many sculptures scattered in the city and even on the banks of the San Esteban creek.

Walking around town and seeing the paintings and sculptures is a fun thing to do.

Enjoy the scenery.

Panchimalco is a mountainous town surrounded by vegetation; this is more visible during the winter months or wet season.

From the city of Panchimalco, you can see the magnificent landscape; and also, a very famous rock formation well-known all over the country called La Puerta del Diablo or the devil’s door.

Festivities in Panchimalco El Salvador.

The following are the two most popular festivities celebrated in Panchimalco.

The May Festivities.

The flowers and palms festival is one of the most colorful in the country; it is usually held on the first Sunday in May, coinciding with the start of the rainy season.

This festival combines pre-Columbian traditions such as traditional dances, with Catholic religious activities.

Panchimalco El Salvador
Photo by Robert Easton

The September festivities.

The patron saint festivities of Panchimalco are celebrated in honor of the Lord of the Holy Cross of Rome on September 13 to the 14.

These festivities are mostly religious in nature; nevertheless, if you have the chance to visit during this time, do it. I am sure you will enjoy how colorful the town is during these festivities.

Tips for visiting Panchimalco El Salvador.

These are some recommendations that can help you save time when visiting Panchimalco and also help you get more done during your visit.

  • If this is your first time visiting, I recommend you do it with a tour company or someone who knows the area. It will save you time and headache if you don’t have to navigate the Salvadoran traffic.
  • If you have the time, go visit the devil’s door or Puerta Del Diablo, it is about nine kilometers from Panchimalco.
  • On the way back, you should stop by at Los Planes de Renderos. This area has fantastic local cuisines and amazing views of the city of San Salvador.
  • Visiting Panchimalco during the rainy season is better as you will see the vast vegetation around town.

These are just a few recommendations that can help you enjoy your visit more.

Panchimalco El Salvador.

In Panchimalco, you will see fantastic murals painted by local artists; besides, all the sculptures and carvings.

Panchimalco is one of the last remaining towns in El Salvador that is linked to colonial times and to the indigenous people, which makes it a popular destination for tourists.

This colorful colonial town is only about 15 kilometers from the Capital, San Salvador. So, if you have the chance, venture into Panchimalco El Salvador and explore it!