Few places exist in the world that offer beautiful natural landscapes, incredibly well-preserved colonial architecture, and authentic cobble-stoned streets that have not been compromised by an endless supply of tourists -- Suchitoto is one of these rare gems that has managed to avoid this trap. Only a one-and-a-half-hour bus ride from the capital city of El Salvador, San Salvador, not only is Suchitoto well worth a visit in its own right, but it is also easily accessible and not terribly expensive. Being so accessible, it is a popular destination for San Salvadorians, who flood the main square on weekends; the square then becomes a focal point for fiestas and live musical performances that reflect the culture and history of the town.
Suchitoto is set on the crest of a hill and from some areas offers views of the picturesque Suchitlán Lake, an artificial lake that was formed from the Lempa River and the construction of the nearby Cerrón Grande Dam. Tours of the lake are available by boat -- they stop at Bird Island, which hosts more than two hundred species of migratory birds dependent on the time of year.
The town is based around the Plaza Centenaria, which features an imposing, pure white, post-Colonial church Santa Lucía built in the nineteenth century. In the centre of the square is a fountain, which is encircled on all sides by various coffee shops and restaurants, where you can kick back with an ice cream, or indulge in the popular local dish, pupusas (made with corn tortillas). From Friday to Sunday, the Plaza Centenaria hosts the weekly artisan market, where you can buy handmade handicrafts. Your Suchitoto hostel is the perfect base from which to visit all of these sights.
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