"All About La Laguna" La Laguna by thelukey
La Laguna Travel Guide: 62 reviews and 66 photos
I called the small town of La Laguna home for 4.5 years, first as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and then just as the municipality’s resident gringo. If you’re interested in what it is that a Peace Corps Volunteer does, check out the “general tips” attached to this page. If you’re more interested in finding out just about all there is to know about the municipality of La Laguna, keep reading, and then check out the rest of my tips.
All about La Laguna
The municipality of La Laguna is located in the northern part of the Department of Chalatenango. The town of La Laguna is situated 18 kilometers north of the departmental capital of Chalatenango, at 14º09’42” north latitude and 88º56’39” west longitude, at an elevation of 905 meters above sea level, on a small plain located on the western flank of the mountain known as La Montañona. La Laguna is bordered by the following municipalities: Dulce Nombre de María, Comalapa, Concepción Quezaltepeque, Las Vueltas and El Carrizal. It also shares a border with the Department of Lempira, administrative division of the neighboring Republic of Honduras. The size of the municipality is approximately 25.82km2.
In addition to the town of La Laguna – which is divided into four barrios (El Centro, Las Delicias, Las Victorias, and Los Guevara) and one colonia (Divina Providencia) – the municipality includes five cantones (Pacayas, Los Prados, Plan Verde, San José, and La Cuchilla) and at least twelve caseríos (Aldea Vieja, El Jute, Corral Viejo, Tierra Colorada, Cerro Verde, Ocotalito, Los Alvarado, Armita Vieja, Los Mejía, Cuatro Pinos, Los Gatos, and Las Vegas). According to the much-maligned 2007 national census, the population of the entire municipality is 3,923 (compared to a 2003 estimate of 5,062). It is also worth mentioning that many La Laguna natives have abandoned the country, especially for the United States, where there are large communities of La Laguna ex-patriots in Miami, Los Angeles, and New York.
Even though the municipality is called “the lagoon,” there is no such body of water in or near the town. There is, however, a history that explains the name. La Laguna appears in government records as far back as the year 1806, when the village was located 2km south of its current site (the present-day location of Aldea Vieja), alongside the edge of a small lagoon. On August 14, 1845, La Laguna was the site of a brief battle between Salvadoran forces directed by Col. Indalecio Cordero and Honduran forces led by Col. Manuel Quijano. The invading army defeated the Salvadoran forces in combat, forcing their retreat, and then proceeded to burn the town to the ground. Due to this disaster, and the fact that the town’s original location was considered unhealthy due to its proximity to a lagoon that served as a breeding ground for mosquitoes, Salvadoran authorities and local residents agreed that the primitive settlement should be abandoned, so the town of La Laguna was relocated to its present site. Furthermore, the lagoon that gave the town its name has since dried up. Yet, although the town of La Laguna is no longer located in its original site, where the lagoon that gave the town its name no longer exists, the name remains.
Due to its strategic location on the slope of La Montañona, La Laguna was the site of near-constant skirmishes during the armed conflict of the 1980s. A number of the town’s homes were damaged or destroyed during the war, and many La Laguna natives lost their lives. The remains of a government airplane that was downed by FMLN fighters can still be found in Cantón San José (where one of the plane’s wings is used as a bridge over a small stream), and various relics of the war (including bomb craters, defensive trenches, and two underground shelters built by the revolutionary forces to serve as a field hospital and a radio transmission room) can be found in the La Montañona forest.
The residents of the municipality of La Laguna take advantage of the region’s cool climate to produce various vegetables (including tomatoes, green peppers, onions, cucumbers, etc.), grains, beans, and coffee. Remittances sent from relatives in the United States form an important source of income for many local families. La Laguna also benefits from tourists who come to the municipality to visit El Cerrito and its temple dedicated to the Virgen of Fátima, the series of waterfalls and swimming holes formed by the Pacayas River, and the La Montañona forest. La Laguna celebrates its fiestas patronales, in honor of the town’s patron saint Santiago Apóstol, on July 25. La Laguna also holds religious celebrations July 26 (in honor of Santa Ana), January 6 (in honor of the Niño de Praga), and May 13 (to celebrate the Virgen of Fátima).
The town of La Laguna is connected to the Troncal del Norte by the Anillo Periférico de La Montañona, a paved road that connects the seven municipalities that surround La Montañona. Unpaved roads connect the cantones and principal caseríos to the town of La Laguna. The road that passes through San José and Los Prados continues on into Cantón Cuevitas (Dulce Nombre de María) and eventually connects to the road that runs between the municipalities of Dulce Nombre de María and San Fernando. The road that connects La Laguna to Pacayas continues on through Cantón Candelaria (Comalapa) and eventually connects to the Anillo Periférico de La Montañona.
Bus routes 126 and 189 provide direct service to San Salvador (trips depart from the capital’s Eastern Terminal at 7am, 12noon, and 3pm). There are at least seven busses (though fewer on Sundays) that make the one-hour and twenty-minute trip between La Laguna and the departmental capital of Chalatenango. One bus each day makes the trip between Pacayas and Chalatenango, and another travels between Los Prados and Chalatenango (passing through San José and La Laguna along the way) every day but Sunday.
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