"Travel Notes from Santa Ana" Santa Ana by gdilieto

Santa Ana Travel Guide: 33 reviews and 145 photos

The Unfulfilled Destination

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I stopped by in Santa Ana in my second trip to El Salvador to visit the second Salvadorean city per importance and - I had read - the only one retaining some attractive Spanish colonial architecture. The City was also referenced as a good base for exploring Western El Salvador so I decided to stop by. Santa Ana did not meet my expectations and did not excite me at all.

As a matter of fact there are few examples of colonial architecture in the Main Square - the Theater, the Cathedral, the City Hall - but I found that too little to make the visit to the City appealing, considering that besides those few sights there is nothing else worth visiting. I did not enjoy wandering the streets either: the city center was certainly bustling and lively during the day-hours but when the sun set, not too late in the afternoon, it got scarily deserted, leaving me with the uncomfortable feeling I would be better off in my hotel room than outside. In the end I used Santa Ana as the base for my excursion to Volcán Izalco and then left to Juayua and the Ruta de las Flores.

The One-Month Fiesta

Cultural events, street parades and religious masses make up the Fiesta Julias in Santa Ana. The festivities last throughout July and pay homage to the city's patron saint, Santa Ana. The coronation of the Fiesta Queen is the high point of the month. The chosen beauty is carried around the streets as part of a colourful parade, with numerous local bands, mariachis and clowns joining in the fun.

A National Icon

Volcán Izalco is a national icon of El Salvador and the quintessence of a volcano. Its cone-shape is close to perfection and in my imagination no volcano looks like a volcano more than Volcán Izalco. Today Izalco experiences only fumarolic activity but it has erupted almost continuously from 1770 (when it formed) to 1958 earning from sailors the nickname of "Lighthouse of the Pacific". Volcán Izalco can be climbed with a four-hour guided tours starting from the Parque Nacional de los Volcanes. The National Park is reached with a one and a half bus drive from Santa Ana. You better be in good shape if you are planning to do the climb. I do not have good photos of Volcán Izalco (what I have in my Travelogue) but you can find some good ones at Ministry of Tourism of El Salvador website here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:A good base for exploring the Parque Nacional de los Volcanes
  • Cons:Not a tourist destination worth itself
  • In a nutshell:Just an alternative to San Salvador as base for visiting Western El Salvador
  • Last visit to Santa Ana: Jul 2008
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (5)

Comments (2)

  • Sep 7, 2013 at 1:13 AM

    Thanks for all the great info on the main points to explore in El Salvador. I was actually born on the coast near La Libertad. Next week I'll be taking my wife to see where I grew up. I am planning on taking her to Juayua and Nahuizalco as well. I have no doubt we'll have a great time. I'm glad you have been able to experience the natural beauty of this little country. Only the best whishes in your voyages!

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Mar 15, 2009 at 12:20 AM

    Thanks Giuseppe for the tips! Later this year I plan to go to Santa Ana for a couple of days to visit the vulcanos Izalco and Santa Ana.


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