Ruta de las Flores Couple in front of Mural El Salvador

You must visit Ruta De Las Flores! In this El Salvador guide we share what this beautiful area has to offer. We visited the towns of Nahuizalco, Salcoatitán, Juayua and Apaneca and each has their own unique attractions to explore. There are weekly food fairs, the Seven Waterfalls and thermal pools of Chorros De La Calera, Apaneca Zipling, hedge mazes and more! This is one of the best places in El Salvador to visit and we hope that we convince you to add it to your next Central America travel itinerary.

Short on time? Here are our Ruta de las Flores El Salvador top recommendations:

Highlights: explore the charming small towns, sample delicious food at the food markets and get a thrill rapelling down a waterwall.

Activities: book your El Salvador Tours with Get Your Guide.

Accommodation: we use to find the best hotels.

Flights: find cheapest flights with cashback on WayAway.

Airport Lounge Access: start your holiday the right way with Priority Pass.

Travel Medical Insurance: SafetyWing Nomad Insurance is the ideal choice for long-term travellers and digital nomads.

About Ruta de las Flores

Juayua Robot Statue El Salvador
Reminds us of the cartoon Transformers!

Ruta de las Flores, or Flower Route, is one of the most beautiful regions in El Salvador. Set in the western highlands of El Salvador, this is a popular tourist destination for both foreigners and locals. It is filled with charming colourful towns, gorgeous mountain views, plenty of farms and coffee plantations and of course streets lined with flowers. This area has something for everyone. Foodies will delight in the weekend food festivals, those wanting a bit of rest and relaxation will love the relaxed atmosphere and fresh mountain air and there are also plenty of high adrenaline activities for adventure lovers!

Where is Ruta de las Flores?

Ruta de las Flores is in the department of Ahuachapán near the border with Guatemala in the western El Salvador. There are 6 municipalities that make up Ruta de las Flores:

  • Ahuachapán – the city of Ahuachapán is the capital of the department of Ahuachapán
  • Concepción de Ataco
  • Apaneca
  • Juayua
  • Salcoatitán
  • Nahuizalco

Getting to Ruta de las Flores

Colourful Local Bus El Salvador
Colourful Local Bus

One thing we loved about El Salvador travel is how cheap and easy it is to get around the country. You can easily get around the Ruta de las Flores on the colourful local buses for just a couple of dollars. You can also catch these buses to get to this region from other parts of the country. It cost us only $2 USD and 3 hours to get here from the beachside area of El Tunco.

Buses run along the Ruta de las Flores at regular intervals and we loved the experience of travelling with the locals. Just keep in mind that buses stop at around 7pm.

Juayua Crate of Ducks on Local Bus Guatemala
Ducks on our Bus!

There are also vans called colectivos that you can hop on to get to where you need to go. They are a little bit more expensive than buses, but they are a good and slightly quicker alternative.

How long to spend at Ruta de las Flores

Ruta de las Flores was our favourite area in El Salvador and it really does have something for everyone. You can explore most of what the area has to offer in a few days, but we’d recommend staying here for a week to relax and enjoy the area.

Where to stay when visiting Ruta de las Flores

Tourist Train at Juayua El Salvador, El Salvador Tourism, Ruta de las Flores El Salvador
Tourist Train at Juayua

Juayua is a popular base for staying in the Ruta de las Flores. It is a lovely small town which has a good selection of hotels and restaurants and other amenities like a supermarket and an ATM.

We found a really nice homestay in the small town of Salcoatitán called Hostal Titan. Salcoatitán is a quiet town with a park, a food court and a couple of other restaurants. There’s not too much to do in the town, but it is a good base for exploring the area. Our homestay hosts were really lovely and our time with our hosts is what really made our stay special. They really went out of their way to share their country with us. They gave us a personal tour of their avocado farm, which had spectacular views out to Santa Ana Volcano.

Avocado Farm Tour Salcoatitan El Salvador
Avocado Farm Tour Salcoatitan

What to do in Ruta de las Flores

Sample local food at the weekend food fair in Juayua

Grilled meat at Juayua Feria Gastronomica El Salvador, Ruta de las Flores
Assorted grilled meats at Juayua Feria Gastronomica

A popular town to stay in when visiting la Ruta de las Flores is Juayua. Juayua has a good range of facilities, including ATMs, a supermarket, a tourist centre and plenty of accommodation and restaurant options. On weekends a must visit destination the Feria Gastronomica Food Fair in the heart of Juayua. The town comes alive with dozens of food stalls, lively music and street performances. And for kids there are plenty of activities such as toy cars, a tourist train and horse rides.

Rappel down waterfalls in Juayua

7Waterfalls Tour Apaneca El Salvador, Woman rappelling down waterfall, couple wearing safety helmets
7Waterfalls Tour Apaneca

An activity not to miss in Juayua is the Seven Waterfalls Tour. We’d recommend doing this on the weekend so that you can finish your tour with a swim in the thermal pools, also known as the Chorros de la Calera. The thermal pools are only open on weekends. For adventure lovers, you can choose a tour which includes rappelling down the waterfalls. Rappelling in El Salvador was a lot of fun and we’d definitely recommend it to anyone wanting a bit of adventure! We booked through a hostel in Juayua, and depending on the number of people in your tour group the price of the tour is around $15 – $25 USD per person (prices as at 2020). For more on this El Salvador adventure experience, check out our Seven Waterfalls Juayua vlog.

Visit the magical town of Apeneca

Woman standing in front of Mural at Apaneca on Ruta de las Flores El Salvador
Mural at Apaneca on Ruta de las Flores El Salvador

A town not to be missed on the Ruta de las Flores is Apaneca. This magical town or pueblo magico is filled with colourful murals and cute little stores. One of the main attractions in the area is Apaneca Zip Lining with Apaneca Canopy Tour. This zip lining tour covers 13 cables across 2.5km. Tours leave from their office in the town of Apaneca which is open from 9am to 4pm. The cost is $35 UD per person (prices as at 2021) and includes transport to and from the canopy tour from their office in the town of Apaneca as well as all of your equipment, guides and the tour itself.

Lookout at Apaneca Canopy Tour El Salvador, Ruta de las Flores El Salvador, Zip Line Tour
Lookout at Apaneca Canopy Tour

Also be sure to check out Café Albania while you’re in Apaneca. There is a $3 USD cost of admission (price as at 2020), but that includes entry to the hedge maze as well as the café. The views from the cafe across the valley are absolutely stunning! Café Albania El Salvador activities includes the Cafe Albania El Salvador zipline. You can even ride a bike along a tightrope!

Woman drinking Hot Chocolate at Cafe Albania Apaneca El Salvador, Hedge Maze in background, Ruta de las Flores El Salvador
Cafe Albania Apaneca El Salvador

Relax in the natural hot springs

Woman Standing in front of Waterfall at thermal pools in El Salvador, Salto de Malacatiupan El Salvador
Salto de Malacatiupan

While you’re in the area, don’t miss a visit to one of the natural hot springs. We visited Salto De Malacatiupán. It’s on the outskirts of the Ruta de las Flores, but it’s well worth the visit.

To get to Salto De Malacatiupán we travelled by bus to the town of Atiquizaya (this should cost about $1 USD per person depending on which town you are coming from and how many buses you take) and had a 15 minute tuk-tuk ride for $5 USD the rest of the way (prices as at 2021 and the tuk-tuk price is negotiable).

It was such a nice end to the day to bathe in the warm thermal waters. There were also pools with cool water for a nice contrast. You could sit under the waterfalls, which provided a great aqua massage. We loved that we were the only foreigners there, which was a common theme for many areas in El Salvador.

Getting back to town after our stay at the waterfalls was a little bit trickier as not many tuk-tuks go that way, but fortunately a passer by offered us a lift back to Atiquizaya on the back of their van.

Be entertained at the night food market in Nahuizalco

Women selling food at market stall at Nahuizalco Night Market El Salvador, RUta de las Flores El Salvador
Nahuizalco Night Market

A highlight of our time in Ruta de las Flores was experiencing the night food market in Nahuizalco. We were the only locals there on the night we went and it was great being able to experience the festive atmosphere of a truly local activity. It was such a fun night out with plenty of food and entertainment. We particularly enjoyed watching the Michael Jackson impersonator and trying out all the El Salvadorian food on offer. Make sure you eat plenty of pupusas during your El Salvador trip. Pupusas are the national dish of El Salvador. We are absolutely addicted to these local delicacies!

Spend some time in the town of Conecpción de Ataco

Concepción de Ataco is one of the more popular places to stay along the Ruta de las Flores. It has plenty of accommodation options, heaps of local and international restaurants as well as many colourful murals. Fabric making on lever looms is a handy craft that can be found in the area.

Tour a coffee farm in Ahuachapán

Coffee Bean Ruta de las Flores El Salvador
Coffee Bean in El Salvador

The municipality of Ahuachapán is known for its coffee plantations. We have toured a few coffee farms while in Central America and we found it very interesting to learn about the process of how the coffee is grown and produced. Don’t forget to end your tour with a delicious cup of El Salvadorean coffee!

Money in Ruta de las Flores

The currency of El Salvador is the US Dollar, which also simplifies your travel experience. While some larger hotels and restaurants accept credit cards, El Salvador is mainly a cash based economy, so make sure you carry some cash with you. ATMs are not plentiful in this part of El Salvador, but some of the larger towns have one or two ATMs. As at 2021 there were ATMs in the following towns:

  • Nahuizalco
  • Juayua
  • Concepción de Ataco
  • Ahuachapán

Is Ruta de las Flores safe?

El Salvador Man Holding Snake
Someone’s afraid of snakes!

We found the Ruta de las Flores extremely safe. We travelled around on our own day and night with no issues.

Other general safety considerations for travel in Ruta de las Flores:

  • Drinking water – The tap water in El Salvador is not safe to drink. Everywhere we stayed while we were in El Salvador provided bottled water for guests to use
  • Mosquitoes – As the Ruta de las Flores is in a mild mountain climate, it does not have mosquitoes
  • Road safety – We often travelled standing up in the back of vans or in vehicles without helmets or seat belts. Be aware that this does come with an element of risk
  • Water safety – If you do the Seven Waterfalls Tour, keep in mind that the safety standards may be a bit more relaxed in Central America than in countries like the USA. We were provided with a helmet and a rope to hold on to when rappelling down the waterfalls, but no safety harnesses were provided
  • Sun safety – The UV Index is very high in Central America, so sun protection such as sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses is very important to ensure you don’t get burnt.
  • Dogs – In many countries in Central America, stray dogs are common. For more on dog safety while travelling, check out this video

As with any destination, take all of your normal safety precautions.

Final thoughts on Ruta de las Flores

Food Stalls at Juayua Feria Gastronomica El Salvador
Food Stalls at Juayua Feria Gastronomica

If you only visit one place in El Salvador make sure it’s the Ruta de las Flores. This area has so much natural beauty, so many things to do, so much delicious food to eat and above all it has some amazing people. This truly is a very special area and it definitely deserves a spot on your Travel Bucket List!

If you want to learn more about visiting Ruta de las Flores, check out our Ruta de las Flores video.

El Salvador Blogs

For more information on visiting El Salvador, you can find our El Salvador travel blogs below.

Ruta de las Flores Couple in front of Mural El Salvador

Visiting the Most Beautiful Area of El Salvador: Ruta de las Flores

You must visit Ruta De Las Flores! In this El Salvador guide we share what this beautiful area has to ...

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