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  • Writer's pictureDave Jackson

Ruta de Las Flores itinerary and highlights

Updated: Jun 10, 2023

Ruta de Las Flores was one of the highlights of our trip to El Salvador. We didn’t visit when the flowers were in bloom, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t worth visiting. Read on to find out all the things you need to know and how to spend 3 days enjoying the Ruta de Las Flores.


Best time to visit Ruta de Las Flores


The best time to visit the Ruta de Las Flores is between November and February. This is when all of the wildflowers, that give the route its name, are in bloom. If however, you can’t make it between these months head there at any time of year and you’ll be sure to have a good time!


Ruta de Las Flores itinerary, how we spent 3 days



All of this can be explored using the 249 bus which runs daily until 6 pm. The price of the bus depends on the journey length, but ranges between $0.50 - $0.90 per person per journey. We really only scratched the surface as we wanted some downtime and to really explore the Juayua food festival. You could spend much longer exploring the individual towns if you wanted to.


Ruta de Las Flores map



La Feria Gastronomica | Juayua weekend food festival


Being foodies, it should come as no surprise that we visited the food festival in Juayua a couple of times during our time on the Ruta de Las Flores. The food festival is on every weekend during the daytime. Limited stalls on Fridays, with most of the action on Saturday & Sunday between 10 am - 5 pm.


Food ranges from $1 for snacks and main meals between $4-8. It’s quite a meat-heavy affair with limited choice for vegetarians, but super tasty for fellow carnivores.


We had some great grilled meats & local snacks, just follow your nose, it was all good. A couple of things to look out for on the market are the coffee truck which sits on the square for you to sample some great, well-made, local coffee for $2 & the pineapple juices served in the pineapple skins $3 for just juice & $3.50 with rum… At that price, it would be rude not to! 😉


Although you will likely see a few gringos at the Juayua Food Festival is definitely not just a tourist trap with 99% of the people there being locals and domestic tourists. It’s a great way to spend a few hours people-watching & enjoy some really tasty food and drinks.


Grilled prawns at La Feria Gastronomica | Juayua weekend food festival
Grilled prawns at La Feria Gastronomica | Juayua weekend food festival

Siete Cascadas | Seven Waterfalls hike


The Seven Waterfalls hike is the highlight of many people's visit to the Ruta de Las Flores. The hike starts from the town of Juayua as it’s around 20 minute walk from the town to the trailhead. The hike can only be done with a guide & the costs vary. We booked ours with a lady called Elizabeth as some friends we met on the road had used her & said it was great. We paid $15 per person as no one else booked on the tour that day, but it is $10 per person for groups, so if there are a few people in your hostel considering going it’s probably best to buddy up.


Elizabeth can be contacted via WhatsApp +503 6113 7277 and will arrange the tour with either herself or her fellow guide, Jonathan.


Standing in front of the first waterfall on 7 Waterfalls hike before getting wet
Standing in front of the first waterfall on 7 Waterfalls hike before getting wet

Santa Teresa hot springs, Ahuachapán


Hand on heart, these aren’t the most amazing hot springs we’ve been to, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth a visit. 40 hot springs of varying temperatures from scolding hot, down to tepid. There is a mixed bag of pools under the shade & ones open to the elements if you are there to work on your tan.


The nicest pools are close to the restaurant at the top of the hill, don’t make the mistake we did and spend most of your time at the bottom before realising these are the most manicured ones at the top. The ones at the top also smell better. The lower down, more rustic pools are very strong smelling of the natural sulphur gases that heat them.


Getting to Santa Teresa hot springs

As with the rest of the Ruta de Las Flores, Ahuachapan is serviced by the 249 bus. Unfortunately, the hot springs are just outside Ahuachapan and a little off the main road. Your options, if you’re not driving, are to walk 20 minutes from the main road as we did, or take the bus into Ahuachapan and arrange a taxi or tuk-tuk.


Santa Teresa hot springs opening hours & cost

The springs are open daily between 8 am - 10 pm. The cost for an adult ticket is $10 and $5 for a child.


2 pools at Santa Teresa hot springs
Santa Teresa hot springs

Concepción de Ataco | Street art & church


Concepción de Ataco is a beautiful town, if you can’t visit the Ruta de Las Flores on a weekend this would be a great place to base yourself. Highlights are the amazing street art all over town, Santuario Inmaculada Concepción de María (a beautiful church) & if you are feeling up to it hike up to the Mirador de La Cruz.


Taste the best local coffee at Geko’s Coffee, Concepción de Ataco


Whilst you are in Concepción de Ataco, take a break and try some of the finest local coffee. The barista at Geko’s has a great selection of beans & makes a great coffee!


 Concepción de Ataco | Street art
Concepción de Ataco | Street art

Get lost in the maze | Laberinto de Apaneca


The Laberinto de Apaneca was a lot harder than we thought it was going to be, but great fun! The maze is just outside the town of Apaneca. At the complex there isn’t just the maze but zip lines, a humungous slide & rope swings too.


We had a bit of confusion there over prices. When we arrived we said we wanted to go in the laberinto (maze) & we were each asked to pay $5, and we were given a receipt with $5 on. Then we were pointed in the direction of the maze. When we got to the maze entrance there was no attendant but we saw a sign stating the maze was $3 so we went to find someone at the cafe to query it and see if we could $2 each back. After a long confusing conversation (our Spanish is poor) the guy ended up giving us a voucher for $2 each that we could spend in the café apparently. We tried to ask for cash but it wasn’t an option. This did however pay for a beer as our reward after the maze, every cloud and all!


On a side note, we met some Swiss guys who also went to the maze & paid the $5 entrance. They realised however that the $5 receipt is actually a token to use on any of the attractions or restaurants. When they reached the maze entrance there was no attendant either, which they took as an opportunity to spend the $5 on the giant rope swing. I’m not condoning their actions, however, this information may help your budget if you choose to follow in their footsteps.


Laberinto de Apaneca (maze)
Laberinto de Apaneca (maze)

Fried Yucca in Salcoatitán


We always try to try local cuisine where the locals eat and the owner of our hostel had said the best place to eat fried yucca is at Plaza Quetzalcoatl, so that’s what we did, YUM!


Eat Pupusas at Pupusería Esmeralda, Juayua


You will see Pupusas all over El Salvador but these were the best ones we had during our trip. Pupusería Esmeralda is only open between 5-10 pm so only applicable if you are staying in Juayua or driving. If you are though, make sure to give it a try!


Where to stay on Ruta de Las Flores


Most travellers will stay in one or 2 towns, Juayua or Concepción de Ataco (unless they do a day trip). Both towns are really nice & great spots to visit. Out of the two, I would recommend staying in Juayua, especially if you visit at the weekend. The weekend food festival is really good & this will give you a chance to visit more than once! We stayed at Casa Mixtepek which was really fab, the owners couldn’t have been more helpful and it was so clean and had a very well-equipped, shared kitchen. They do only have private rooms though. We did hear good things about Bourbon Hostel in the town too, but we’ve not personally stayed so can’t recommend it.


Summary


Ruta de las Flores was one of the best places we visited in El Salvador. By all means you can take a tour but there is so much to see 1 day trip would be far too rushed. We spent 3 nights there but could have definitely spent longer, make sure to add the Ruta de las Flores to your El Salvador itinerary! For information on how to get to Ruta de Las Flores, check out this post.


If you go we’d love to hear from you about how you got on not just because we love to hear about others' travel experiences, if anything has changed it’s good to know so we can update the information for fellow travellers.


Happy travels!!


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