Suchitoto El Salvador is a laid back historic colonial town in the Department of Cuscatlan. Suchitoto has fabulous cobblestone streets, gorgeous colonial houses, an iconic church, rich cultural traditions, and magnificent panoramic views of Lake Suchitlan.
Everyone should visit Suchitoto; it is the perfect colonial town to learn about Salvadoran culture and History. Not to mention that this town is located in an amazingly beautiful and densely vegetated area.
Why visit Suchitoto El Salvador?
Everyone should visit Suchitoto because of its history and culture, the beautiful area, the colonial architecture, the activities, and lake Suchitlan.
The small town caters to all types of visitors; those looking for adventure can go into Lake Suchitlan, explore the Guazapa volcano, and visit the Los Tercios waterfall.
On the other hand, those looking to relax can stay in town, visit the church, go shopping, try the local gastronomy, interact with locals, and much more.
Suchitoto is an option for all types of visitors. So, there is no surprise as to why this small town is regularly mentioned as the one place you should visit while in El Salvador.
Short info about Suchitoto El Salvador.
The town sits between the Guazapa volcano and the Lempa river, about 47 kilometers from the capital, San Salvador.
During the armed conflicts of the 1980s, not that many tourists visited the town. They stayed away because of the fighting around the Suchitoto area, specifically near the Guazapa mountains.
However, since the civil war ended, the town has become one of the most well-known tourist destinations in the country.
When visiting, you will be amazed to see how the colonial-style architecture is very well preserved throughout the town; especially, the cobblestone streets and colonial-style homes.
Suchitoto is a must-see destination for anyone traveling to El Salvador; the town will give you the feeling of being in the Hispanic colonial era.
Top 10 things to do while visiting Suchitoto.
Suchitoto is more than just a laid-back colonial little town; there are plenty of activities to do. Here are the best of them!
1- Visit the Santa Lucia Church.
As soon as you get closer to this colonial town, the first thing that you will notice is the Santa Lucia Colonial church. Even from a distance, the church stands towering above the rest of the structures.
This iconic church stands tall in front of the city’s municipal park. It has an antique wooden interior which has been completely restored over the years.
The inside of the church is beautiful, it has hand-carved panels, six iconic columns, and sculptures definitely worth seeing.
The church was built in 1853 and is one of the main attractions in Suchitoto. Santa Lucia is one of the best Churches in El Salvador.
2- Venture Into Suchitlan Lake.
Lake Suchitlan is also a top attraction in Suchitoto; it is an impressive artificial lake that resulted from the construction of the nearby reservoir in 1973.
There are quite a few ways to enjoy this lake, but first, you need to head down to the port of San Juan located a few miles from Suchitoto.
You can get to the port by car or take the local bus that leaves every 20 or so minutes from the center of town, the bus will cost about $0.35.
The port of San Juan is a touristic complex with amazing views of the lake. At the complex, you will find rest areas, about 8 small restaurants, souvenir shops, a Swimming pool, and much more.
From the port, you can take boat rides along the lake and enjoy the views. Also, you can visit and explore some of the small islands in the lake, such as Island of the donkey, Island of the Hermit, Trinidad Island, and Bird Island.
Additionally, you can take a ferry and explore the small towns along the lake, like San Francisco Lempa or San Luis del Carmen.
3- Visit Los Tercios Waterfall.
Los Tercios Waterfall is located at Las Animas Creek, a few kilometers away from the center of the town. A short hike will lead you to the unique waterfall; the fall’s wall was built from hexagonal-shaped rocks created by ancient lava flow.
If you visit during the wet season, the wall will stand behind a flowing stream of water. But, if you visit during the dry season, the flow of water will be minimal, if any at all.
During the dry season, you will get to appreciate more of the rock formation usually covered by the stream of water.
While visiting the waterfall, take the time and go to the lookout, which is nearby; you will get a fantastic panoramic view of the lake and the surrounding mountain.
4- Visit the Alejandro Coto Museum.
Another main attraction in Suchitoto is the house-museum dedicated to Salvadoran filmmaker and writer Alejandro Coto. This museum preserves important cultural and historical treasures related to the filmmaker and the town of Suchitoto.
Alejandro Coto was not only an international recognize filmmaker but also an individual who worked hard promoting projects for the development of Suchitoto.
Visit this house museum and appreciate its stunning gardens and the fascinating terrace overlooking Lake Suchitlan, among other things.
5- Visit Ciudad Vieja.
Ciudad Vieja is an archaeological site located roughly about 10 kilometers from Suchitoto; it was the original location of San Salvador, now the nation’s capital.
According to Salvadoran historians, Ciudad Vieja was built in 1525, but it was abandoned because of the native’s resistance. Then in 1528, the re-foundation of the city began to what is now known as the original San Salvador.
For many years, Ciudad Vieja was abandoned and in private hands. Then, in the 1970s, the Salvadoran Academy of History promoted the purchase of land; they succeed, as now the area is owned y the Salvadoran government.
Since 2014, plans have been developed to make Ciudad Vieja a better archaeological site for the public. Among the top recommendations are the consolidations and interpretative reconstructions of the old foundations. This would allow a better enjoyment and understanding of the archeological place.
In 1975, a legislative decree declared Ciudad Vieja as a Salvadoran National History Site.
6- Explore the Guazapa Volcano.
Exploring the nearby Guazapa mountains is a great outdoor activity in the Suchitoto area. You can either hike on foot or do it by horseback riding.
The Guazapa mountains were instrumental during the civil war of the 1980s. These mountains were a stronghold of the FMLN guerillas during the conflict. Therefore along the trail, you will see shelters created in the ground, bomb craters, and of course, clandestine cemeteries.
Local guides that lead these tours know every aspect of the forest and will share their knowledge of the conflict. But, these local guides are not bilingual; so if you don’t speak Spanish, you might not get everything from the trip.
Usually, I don’t like recommending companies, but this is an exception. If you don’t speak Spanish, but want to explore these mountains. Get in touch with Gringo Tours, they are a local tour company in Suchitoto that offers bilingual services.
7- Visit the museum of 1,000+ Plates.
This is a peculiar museum where you will find plates from different parts of the world, plates from famous painters, handmade plates, and hand-painted plates.
There is a wide variety of plates to see with religious images, children’s drawings, famous international singers, and much more.
Visit this museum and appreciate the effort it has taken to collect all of these plates. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity of buying local crafts. These crafts make the perfect gift from El Salvador.
8- Take a Salvadorian Civil War Tour.
Almost everyone knows about the civil war of the 1980s that cost the lives of over 80,000 Salvadorans.
A Suchitoto Salvadorian Civil War Tour will take you to places where the war was lived first-had. You will see campsites, made up hospitals, schools, trenches, bomb craters, and cemeteries.
I recommend you speak to a Salvadoran tour company and ask them about which Salvadoran civil war tour they suggest.
You will have the option of taking the Cinquera Civil War tour or the Guazapa tour. By the way, the Guazapa tour has the option of being done on foot or by horseback.
9- Take an Indigo Dyeing Workshop.
Another sure way to get to know the local culture is y taking an Indigo Dyeing workshop. The town of Suchitoto has several options that will allow you to learn the art and create your own work as well. The majority of these workshops are hands-on.
10- Go kayaking and birdwatching on the Cerron Grande Reservoir.
Although this activity can be considered part of venturing into the lake Suchitlan part, kayaking and birdwatching are their own venture.
If you want to do kayaking and birdwatching, you will need to start the trip at around 5 am. Yes, even though the lake is a short distance away.
What is the best way to experience Suchitoto El Salvador?
At first sight, Suchitoto might resemble a typical Salvadoran town. However, once you experience a day or a few days exploring it, you will realize why so many people suggest visiting this colonial town.
One of the best ways to experience Suchitoto is to go walk around and interact with the locals. Obviously, you also need to take advantage of the activities as well.
Walking around Suchitoto.
When visiting Suchitoto, take your time and walk around town. Go into the many local shops and support the local economy by spending some money. Buy some local craft, the locals will appreciate it.
Walk on the cobblestone streets, view the vibrant colonial homes, and interact with the locals; some of them might even invite you to come into their homes and talk.
Hang out at the municipal park.
Suchitoto is a small town, you can get a lot done in one day. A great way to unwind after a day doing activities is to hang out at any of the cafes or restaurants around the municipal park. The best time to do it is in the late afternoon, the climate is fresher, and things are winding down.
Because it is a small town, most of the locals know each other, a lot of them hang out at the park after a long day of work. Spend time at the park and get a glimpse of the local culture.
Additionally, this is a great time to continue to support the local economy by trying one of the local dishes from the many small shops around the park.
How to Get to Suchitoto, El Salvador.
To get to Suchitoto, you can drive, take the local bus, go with a tour company, or hire a private shuttle; this part is entirely up to you. Now, depending on where in the country you are starting from, there are many different routes that you can take.
If this is your first time in Suchitoto or traveling to El Salvador, I recommend for you to either go with a tour company or hire a private shuttle; given that, navigating the roads in El Salvador is stressful.
Accommodations in Suchitoto, El Salvador.
There are plenty of accommodations at Suchitoto that will satisfy all types of visitors; furthermore, you can make it your base of operations and take day trips to explore other parts of the country.
Accommodations in Suchitoto are by small locally own hotels. Here are a few of them.
Obviously, there are more hotels and hostels in this colorful town, these are some of the best that also happen to have great reviews.
Visit Suchitoto El Salvador.
To sum up, visit Suchitoto El Salvador, this is a charming colonial town with rich cultural traditions and plenty of things to do. Regardless if you visit for a day or a few days, you will enjoy your visit and will get some great memories.
Without a doubt, Suchitoto is one of the best colonial towns to visit in El Salvador. Now, if you are looking for other small towns to explore, take a look at Juayua, Nahuizalco, or any other town in the Ruta de las Flores route.