Posted by: missopinion | November 6, 2009

Celebrating Sonsonate – Chivo El Salvador


We have travelled Ahuachapán and Santa Ana and now we come to our third Chivo El Salvador departamento, Sonsonate. Sonsonate the land of beaches and fun and home to my favourite holiday spot but more of that one later.


Sonsonate is the centre of a rich and busy manufacturing, maritime and agricultural district.  Sonsonate has particular significance in El Salvador’s rich and at times sad history. On 8 June 1524 Pedro de Alvarado a Spanish conquistador arrived in Acaxual, a village of Sonsonate. Here a battle between the Indians of El Salvador, the Pipiles and the Spanish conquistadors was fought. History records that the Pipiles wore cotton armoury 3 fingers thick and armed with long lances while Alvarado’s army arrived with weaponry not seen by the Pipiles before. According to historic records the conqueror (Alvarado) noted the proximity of a nearby hill and figured that his rivals could use it as a hiding place. Alvarado pretended that his army had given up the battle and had retreated. It was then that the Pipiles, believing they had won the battle, emerged from their strategic position only to walk into a bloody defeat – A defeat not assisted by the heaviness of their cotton armoury and as such were slaughtered by Alvarado’s army. The conquistadors was not complete unscathed, history recounts that Alvarado himself was struck by a sling in the leg which became infected and left him partially crippled for the rest of his life.


Sonsonate is made up of 16 municipalities and not being able to go into each one in detail I will show you some of the most interesting municipalities in this great departamento.

Izalco is approximately 55km from the city of San Salvador on the outskirts of the most important geographically feature of this town, the volcan de Izalco, which stands about 440 meters above sea level.  Izalco was one of 4 towns devastated by the slaughtering of countless peasants in the indigenous revolt of 1932. In 1932 a peasant uprising, led by Farabundo Marti a liberation activist of the time, tried to march on the country in an outcry against economic, racial and political oppression of the peasant and indigenous people of El Salvador. It is approximated that around 30 000 indigenous peoples were killed. This mass slaughtering deeply penetrated the towns of Sonsonate (departmental head of Sonsonate), Juayúa, Sonzacate, and Izalco.


Despite the bloody past this beautiful town still maintains is colonial style atmosphere, sites of traditional religious and indigenous importance while growing into a highly attractive tourist destination.

iglesia_antigua juayua


Juayúa is one of El Salvador’s primary tourist destinations for food lovers. Juayúa is full of natural beauty from the Rio Monterrey, Laguna de las Ranas to Los Chorros de la Calera which was an amazing experience for me.

Los Chorros de la Calera are hidden between high mountain valleys and the most daring of us take the trek up a narrow dirt path to reach this natural wonder. Walking up the mountain path you soon discover the cool fresh climate that welcomes you with the leafy trees and sounds of the birds announcing your arrival with their song. After a while you hear the roaring thunder of the cascades, particularly when in rainy season, though you cant tell which way its coming from for about 10 mins. You look up and then, wow, the cascades are before you and you can do nothing but smile and soak in the beauty and breathe in the fresh air. Due to earthquakes and natural erosion the cascades have been reinforced with a retaining wall, which serve a dual purpose of creating a man made pool where we enjoyed a wonderful, but very ice cold swim. Be warned the water is COLD. There are two cascades that you can travel between though the pitch dark tunnel that joins them together, but be careful, about half way through the tunnel there is a pressure outlet that tends to cause a strong current which can try to suck you out. You definitely do not want that to happen because if you are not careful and you get sucked out you may well fall over the edge into the valley.

los chorros 2

In El Salvador you will find two words that are synonymous with Juayúa, Feria Gastronomica, the food festival. Here you will find a variety of traditional and modern Salvadoran cuisine, everything from the everyday pupusa to nuegados (deep fried batter balls served with melted palm sugar), to unusual dishes like frog and sopa de garrobo – garrobo being a reptile in the caiman family (small alligator). Usually held on a Sunday you can travel there by car or you may wish to take a ‘day vacation bus’ which you board in the San Salvador or from many towns around the country and they will take you to Juayúa and back. On special days you may find yourself listening to El Salvador’s many bands accompanying your meal with some spicy cumbia sounds or let you shop in rhythm.


Having an entire coastline of beaches is of great advantage to Sonsonate as it houses El Salvador’s main port of Acajutla. Acajutla is El Salvador’s exporting gateway to the world. Here you will find coffee, sugar, balsam and other goods being exported to destinations all over the world. Acajutla is what makes Sonsonate El Salvador’s key economic departamento.


This coastline is not only of economic benefit and importance to El Salvador through importing and exporting but also through its sun filled beach destinations famous for its incredible surf. You can enjoy fun in the sun at Playa Dorada (Golden Beach), Playa Metalio (Metalic Beach), Playa Costa Azul (Blue Coast Beach) and Playa de Acajutla. The one beach resort that is my most favourite of all and which I have been to 3 times for a week each time is Royal Decameron Salinitas in Sonsonate. It is not a 5 star resort but to relax, have fun in the sun, enjoying the all you can eat buffets, snacks bars and all the piña coladas you can drink and more was enough for me. They had a great entertainment crew that got people out playing beach volleyball, kayaking, pool volley, dancing and other fun activities and competitions. The entertainment crew also provided a sexy dance show at night and encouraged the involvement of the audience. The only thing that I noticed was that they spoke in Spanish 90% of the time and they probably should have done a bi-lingual show for those that didn’t speak Spanish. I however, enjoyed myself and had the best time ever.

Tropical Resort

Sonsonate has come a long way from its bloody history to present where it is now known as a place of success and party.



And thanks to the sites below for use of some of their photos…/_PVIc-SWSKPKXJ4_1-W8pA…/gbNWMZaPHQ6ajBVJBvACfQ


©missopinion all rights reserved 2009



  1. […] Celebrating Sonsonate Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)Threats against Radio Victoria, Sensuntepeque Cabañas, El SalvadorIs El Salvador a Lost Cause?Celebrating Ahuachapán – EL SalvadorNewly discovered fun stuff […]

  2. Chivo Juayua, quien no lo ha visitado, se pierde de lo bonito que es

    • si Juayua es una de las joyas guardades del encanta. gracias Armando!

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