That might be the cheesiest blog post title in the history of blog post titles. But it’s how I reminded myself of the pronunciation of the next town we visit. Until my arrival in El Salvador, I butchered Juayua over and over again. Who-ay-a. Wha-ya. Ju-a-yu-a. I took Japanese, French and Hungarian in school, so Spanish has never been my strong suit. My apologies to all the Spanish speaking people around the world. The good thing with Spanish though is that it’s a very phonetic language. Remembering that the J in Spanish sounds like an H, if you sound it out exactly like it’s spelled, you are good to go.

But back to the town. I first heard about Juayua from Globetrotter Girls. I wanted to do more in El Salvador than just visit the beach (not that I have anything against the beach), and Dani highly recommends the Ruta de las Flores – Flower Route. Juayua ends up being the best town to serve as a home base because of the food festival that happens every weekend, as well as the 7 Waterfalls hike nearby.


We’re staying in Casa Mazeta, one of only two hostels in town. This place came recommended by other travelers, and from what I can tell, is the only place that organizes the 7 Waterfalls hike. You don’t have to stay here to take part in the hike, but it does make things easier.

casa mazeta

The inside is nice, though the walls are quite thin. Fortunately we don’t have an issue with anyone being too noisy after 10pm. Though we do find out that the roof is very leaky during one of the many evening storms we experience.

The courtyard outside is a delightful place for coffee and breakfast in the morning. These colorful chairs remind me of home. I painted a bunch of old chairs in rainbow colors a few summers back, similar to these.

Hey turtle! How’s that sunny patch? Keeping you warm? I wouldn’t mind lying down with him (or her). We’ve had so much rain on this trip, with thunder storms every afternoon, and most days being cloudy. It’s a nice break to have a bit of sun!

Once we settle in to our room, Emma is still not feeling so I strike out on my own to explore the town. It isn’t very large, so I simply head in the general direction of the church. The food tents should be set up nearby.

Since I know Emma wants to experience the festival as well, I promise her I’ll wait for the next night so we can go together. But I that doesn’t mean I can’t get a little preview. Fragrant smoke billows out of the food tents while loud music pours out of speakers in the town square. I don’t understand much of what they are saying, but I watch awhile anyway.

I push my way through the throngs of people to the church on the other side of the square. One thing I’ve noticed about the churches in El Salvador is that they all have every door thrown wide open. I’m not sure if this is to give it an open air feel, but it’s a very welcoming setting. By contrast, none of the churches I saw in Cuba were unlocked, let alone standing open for anyone to come in. Perhaps this is a difference in Catholic and Communist cultures?

I spend perhaps and hour walking around and see everything there is to see, that’s how small Juayua is. I even get a little lost on the way back to the hostel, not remembering exactly how many streets over I’m supposed to go. But that’s okay. It’s another excuse to wander around a bit more and take a few more pictures. I’ll find the hostel sooner or later.

The next afternoon, Emma’s feeling well enough to walk around the festival with me. We check out the vendors selling trinkets and knickknacks. It’s overwhelming how much stuff there is available to buy.

Cheers to beer candles!

Finally it’s time to try the food! All of the stands seem to sell more or less the same thing for the same price (~$5), so your options are limited. Often they’ll even let you try a bit of the meat before you purchase a plate. I think the deciding factor for me was this plate had a side of macaroni. Sold!

There’s so much food that Emma and I split the plate and are plenty full for the rest of the evening. I’m so glad we chose to come when we did.

Traveling the Ruta de las Flores
Meeting Santa Ana's Locals