The drive to Volcanoes National Park is about 68 miles (110 kilometers), approximately 2.5 hours. The drive to the Flower Route is about 46 miles (74.5 kilometers), approximately 1.5 hours. Walking in the park on trails, about 2/3 flat, 1/3 with inclines/declines. Wear hiking shoes with a closed heel and toe, a hat, bring water, sunscreen.
At the hotel.
After checking out, we’ll board our motorcoach for a field trip to Volcanoes National Park where we’ll take a nature walk with a local park expert and our Group Leader. The altitudes of its three main peaks range from 1,640 feet to 7,808 feet above the sea level. Ilamatepec — Santa Ana Volcano — is the tallest in the country and one of the most active, with an enormous, boiling crater lake in its center. Izalco Volcano is one of the youngest volcanoes in Latin America, “born” in 1770 and has been quite active in the past. Wooded trails encircle Cerro Verde and the mountain forest is home to birds, coffee bushes, and exotic flowers. Next, we’ll travel to a nearby farm home for a workshop on pupusas, the national dish of El Salvador. For thousands of years, corn has played an integral part in sustaining the peoples of Mesoamerica. Pupusas are thick, hand formed cakes made of corn stuffed with either white cheese or ground pork and beans. After the filling has been put inside, the pupusas are grilled and served with curtido, pickled cabbage slaw, and salsa roja, a tomato sauce, for dipping. After seeing how it’s done, we’ll try our hands at making our own pupusas.
At the farm, we’ll have a traditional lunch including the pupusas we’ve made.
Continuing at the farm, we’ll engage in a “Share Smiles” activity with children from the community. Share Smiles is a local non-profit organization whose aim is to help children in rural areas complete high school. For 15 years they have provided children in local communities with school supplies, transportation to school, leadership and development programs and English classes. They also offer children exposure to the tourism industry, so that after high school graduation they can benefit from the economic opportunities of a growing industry in their country. We’ll also have a presentation on non-profit work and community development through tourism. We’ll then drive along the Ruta de Las Flores — the Flower Route — a scenic, 22-mile stretch that winds through the Cordillera Apaneca, a volcanic mountain range in western El Salvador. The route gets its name from the variety of flowers that are mostly in towns where they are cultivated. As we ride, we’ll have views mostly of hills, mountains, coffee plantations, surrounding vegetation, and picturesque colonial towns. After late afternoon arrival in Ataco, we’ll check in to our hotel with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
On your own to enjoy what you like.