The enchanting colonial town of Suchitoto (‘place of birds and flowers’) just a short drive north from the capital, is one of the country’s most popular attractions. It has emerged from its pivotal role in the civil war to blossom as a centre for arts and culture. Visitors flock to explore the cobbled lanes flanked by squat, red-roofed adobe houses, its exquisite chalk-white baroque church and viewpoints over the surrounding countryside. But it is not just a tourist destination; much of its appeal lies in the fact that it is still a working town, with boutique hotels sitting alongside thriving markets.
When to go
Suchitoto has a tropical climate all year round with temperatures hovering around 30°C. The dry season is Nov-Apr. The rainy season, May-Oct, is characterised by mostly evening and nocturnal showers. Weekends in the town are lively, with artistic performances taking place on many Saturdays. The February arts festival is a big attraction and well attended.
Getting local currency
US dollar. The former local currency( colon) was phased out in 2003. You can obtain US dollar cash or exchange travellers cheques locally in banks and money exchanges (casas de cambio) and may be able to obtain cash advances from a couple of ATMs in Suchitoto among other large towns and cities. You should authorise your bank first, and withdrawals may be limited.
GMT -6 hrs
A visit to the lovely colonial town of Antigua in Guatemala, similarly a centre for the arts (6-7hrs by road crossing the land border at La Hechadura); the Ruta del las Flores (112km by road to Juayúa, 1hr 45mins).
The town is a 1.5hr drive from San Salvador via the Panamerican Highway.
Festival Permanente de Arte y Cultura, Suchitoto, Feb annually. An important festival with many events attracting international performers: opera, concerts, theatre and film are all represented.
Semana Santa, Easter. Among other religious celebrations, a victorious figure of Christ parades through town on an ass on Palm Sunday. There are also street mosaics blanketing a selection of roads.
Día de la Cruz, Suchitoto, 3 May. Processions with fruit and flowers and sweets offered to Santa Cruz.
Fiesta del Aniversario el 15 de Julio, Suchitoto, 15 Jul. Colourful folklore presentations throughout the town.
Fiestas Patronales Virgen de Santa Lucia, Suchitoto, 12-13 Dec. Many cultural activities including masked performances and processions in honour of the town’s patron saint.