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Route of the Maya 2015

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Pre-trip: El Salvador: Colonial Suchitoto & the Flower Route

The smallest country in the Americas, El Salvador is a gem often overlooked by international travelers. Journey here to discover its friendly people and flourishing culture, explore lush rain forests and towering volcanoes, and visit the traditional villages along the Ruta de las Flores.

It's Included:
Accommodations for 1 night on the Pacific Coast, 2 nights in Suchitoto, and 1 night in Ataco
8 meals—4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 2 dinners
6 small group activities
Services of an expert local guide, who speaks English and the native language
All transfers
Porterage for 1 bag per traveler
    • Accommodations:

    Arrive in San Salvador today, where your OAT Trip Leader will meet you at the airport and assists with the transfer to our seaside hotel just south of the city, on El Salvador’s tropical Pacific Coast.

  • This morning after breakfast and a little time to relax, we travel overland to Suchitoto, a beautiful colonial town brimming with Salvadoran history and culture. We arrive in time for lunch at a local restaurant, then set out to explore Suchitoto. We’ll stroll the town’s cobbled streets, stopping to admire the whitewashed façade of the Santa Lucia Church and enjoy views of Suchitlán Lake, the largest lake in El Salvador. This evening, we gather for dinner at a local restaurant.

  • Following breakfast, we depart our hotel for a look into El Salvador’s recent past as we visit Hacienda los Nacimientos, the location of a former guerilla camp during El Salvador’s Civil War. This war, which lasted from 1980 to 1992, pitted El Salvador’s military government against left-wing guerillas. Today, the hacienda is the site of an organic farming initiative, dedicated to rebuilding the community by providing jobs to the war’s victims.

    One of the farm’s key products is indigo, a blue dye harvested from the leaves of the xiquilite plant that has been in use since the time of the ancient Maya. We’ll have the opportunity to observe the process of its production, including its extraction, drying, and milling. We have lunch at the hacienda, and then explore the archaeological site at Cihuatán, the ruins of the impressive capital city of a post-Maya, pre-Hispanic civilization. The city was founded some time around the year AD 900, after the collapse of the Maya empire. Cihuatán was burned to the ground by unknown invaders, and then lay forgotten until excavation began in 1925. We’ll spend some time exploring the site, discovering its temples, ball courts, and artifacts. Afterwards, we return to our hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.

  • This morning, we enjoy breakfast at our hotel, then set off to explore Cerro Verde National Park.

    Situated at an altitude of around 6,600 feet and nestled amidst three imposing volcanoes, Cerro Verde is home to an abundance of plant and animal life, especially birds—the park is a nesting ground for 17 species of hummingbirds alone. We’ll have some time to explore the rain forest this morning, and cap our stay with a discovery of Izalco Volcano, which—prior to entering a period of dormancy in 1966—was known as the “Lighthouse of the Pacific” due to its near-continuous eruptions for the previous 160 years.

    After lunch on your own, we’ll visit the village of Ataco, renowned both for the colorful weavings produced by the villagers, and the elaborate murals that adorn many buildings throughout the town. Enjoy some free time this evening to explore more of the village, or perhaps the lush mountain landscape surrounding our hotel before returning to Ataco for a Farewell Dinner at our hotel.

    • Meals included:

    We check out of our hotel this morning and travel through the towns of Juayua, Nahuizalco, Sonsonate, Izalco along the Ruta de las Flores (Flower Route). We arrive in San Salvador, the capital city of El Salvador and the second-largest city in Central America, in time for lunch on our own. This afternoon, we meet the rest of our traveling companions and begin our adventure along the Route of the Maya.