If you’re searching for colonial Salvadorian charm, look no further than Suchitoto. Roughly an hour and a half north east of San Salvador, Suchitoto is a peaceful town with a ton of charm.
When we arrive, the hotel we had picked out ahead of time is closed – for the season or for good, I’m not sure. Either way, we have to figure out somewhere else to stay. A short distance down the road is Los Almendros de San Lorenzo. It’s more upscale than anything we’ve stayed in so far, but Emma and I decide to splurge. And let me tell you, it’s worth it.
Before we make our decision, the manager walks us through a few different rooms from which we can choose. While he shows us around, he asks where we’re from. “Seattle” I tell him. He let’s out a surprised exclamation. He lived in Seattle for about 5 years before returning to El Salvador. What a small world.
We decide on the least expensive room as it’s already eating up more of our budget than we originally planned. But since it’s the off-season, we’re offered a 20% discount, making it slightly more affordable.
I spend many hours in these chairs outside our room watching the evening rainstorms, drinking a bottle of wine with Emma, reading and just enjoying being here. We practically have the place to ourselves.
Say hi to Lorenzo. He’s the mascot of this place. I’m not joking. His father is the namesake and there is more than one large painting of him hanging on the walls.
Each morning we sit at one of these tables, eating a delicious Salvadorian breakfast, listening to the trickle of the water fountain, talking to Lorenzo whenever he graces us with his presence. It’s bliss.
Just looking at this pool makes me wish I was back swimming in it, margarita in hand. The sun is intense though, so I stick to the tiny shady spot in the corner to avoid getting a sunburn. It mostly works.
The view from the rooftop is pretty spectacular overlooking Lake Suchitlan.
Once we’re comfortably settled in, we set off to explore the town. It’s hard to leave the delightfully air conditioned room, but this town isn’t going to take pictures of itself.
Suchitoto is another Salvadorian town that doesn’t have much in the way of sites. But the quiet cobblestone streets and colorful buildings have a charm all their own.
Compared to other cities in El Salvador, it’s remarkable clean and well preserved.
A short distance from our hotel is the town square and cathedral.
I spend an afternoon reading in the shade here, since it’s one of the places in town with relief from the sun. I could have instead read on our porch at the hotel, and I spend a lot of time doing that, too, but it’s nice to be out with the rest of the townspeople, living life like they do.
Love this view.
Next we wander down the street towards the lake. Since we just went hiking through a bunch of waterfalls the day before, Emma isn’t too keen on the longish (30 minutes, according to the hotel manager) walk to the lake. I would have liked to check it out as that’s where the main activities of this area are located, but it is some distance, and with the nice weather again, it’s another hot and humid day. I’m drenched in sweat by 9am. Instead we make due walking about halfway there.
The streets are so quiet. Have you noticed there’s almost no one in any of my photos? Normally I spend a lot of energy trying to have as few people in my photos as possible. But Suchitoto is practically a ghost town – we see almost no people beyond the main square. But signs of life are everywhere.
When I travel, I always like to buy a few small souvenirs – a magnet and Christmas ornament to remember the trip. But finding any sort of touristy trinkets has been hard as El Salvador as it does’t have a huge tourist infrastructure. So imagine my surprise when I come across the most touristy shop I’ve seen in awhile, here in the middle of this small, out of the way town. I wonder if there are more tourists here during high season?
Casa de la Abuela is also a cafe and boutique hotel. After shopping, we sit awhile for a leisurely coffee. It’s delicious.
Back to wandering the streets.
The lake looks so close, but there’s no access via this street. You need a long and somewhat indirect road to get there.
While I didn’t get a chance to explore any of Suchitoto’s real tourist activities – I hear the hiking and waterfalls are lovely, and a boat ride on the lake is quite enjoyable – the town itself is an enjoyable place to spend a couple days.