"Concepción de Ataco, End of the Flower Route" Concepción de Ataco by thelukey

Concepción de Ataco Travel Guide: 16 reviews and 62 photos

Although Concepción de Ataco was perhaps the last of the five "Flower Route" towns that lie between Sonsonate and Ahuachapán to begin advertising itself as a tourist destination, the town's tourism committee is working hard to attract ever more weekend visitors. Houses along the main street leading from the highway to the central park are all painted in bright, vibrant colors, giving visitors a positive first impression of the town. At 1,221 meters above sea level, Ataco is second only to its neighbor Apaneca in the ranking of the country's highest altitude towns, so it enjoys a very comfortable cool climate year-round - perfect for enjoying hikes to nearby attractions such as la Cruz del Cielito Lindo, el Mirador de la Montaña, and Cantón El Arco, among others.

An excellent time to visit Ataco would be September 7, the "Noche de Farolitos." In a tradition that dates back to 1893, townsfolk prepare wood and paper farolitos (literally "little lighthouses") of various shapes, sizes, and degrees of creativity to accompany the annual nighttime procession that commemorates the birth of the Virgin Mary. Although the "Noche de Farolitos" is also celebrated in the neighboring city of Ahuachapan, local residents convincingly claim that this unique tradition initiated in Concepción de Ataco, and that their version is the real deal.

In addition to the nearby natural attractions, the town of Concepción de Ataco has quite a few man-made attractions that also draw visitors. The town has a long tradition of producing various wooden crafts, including the ornate wooden masks that the town is known for, and handmade textiles. DiConte - Axul, on the corner of Calle Central and 2 Ave. Sur, is a very attractive, even stylish shop that sells a variety of unique creations that in some cases blur the line between crafts and art. Their paintings and fabrics (made on premises using the same type of loom that is more famously associated with the hammock makers of San Sebastián in the department of San Vicente) are particularly notable. Even though the staff here is not particularly friendly, this is still a good place to go shopping for quality gifts and souvenirs. The same family has a second shop, Artesanias Madre Tierra, on Ave. Central, between 2 and 4 Calle. Also check out Esculturas Guadalupana, on Ave. Sur between 4 and 6 Calle Ote.

Many of the town's restaurants only open their doors for the weekend. Some recommended choices include the following: Casa de Bambu, on the corner of 2 Calle Ote. and 8 Ave. Sur, is a small cafe that serves good food in a pleasant, informal setting. Entrees run from $3 - $6, and many different varieties of tamales can be had for less than a buck apiece. The owner, a local doctor, is a great source of information on local points of interest. La Carreta, on the corner of Ave. Central Sur and 4 Calle, is a better-than-most comedor that serves comida tipica in an attractive dining room. A house specialty is the gallo en chicha, available only on the weekend. Buenos Aires, on 7 Calle Ote. between Ave. Central and 2 Ave. Nte., is still a work in progress. It currently has a restaurant and one swimming pool. A second pool is in the works, and a hotel is in the property's long-range plans. Café de Ataco, located behind city hall on 1 Ave. Nte, and the restaurant at the pleasant guesthouse La Posada de Don Oli, located on 1 Ave. Sur between 2 and 4 Calle Pte., are other options.

Directions:
Concepción de Ataco is served by the 249 bus that travels between Sonsonate and Ahuachapán, and also by the smaller mini- and microbuses that provide service between Ahuachapán and Apaneca.

  • Last visit to Concepción de Ataco: Oct 2005
  • Intro Updated Jul 28, 2008
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