After a visit to Apaneca, I take the bus to Ataco, or Concepción de Ataco, as it is officially called. The bus drops me off at the very edge of town, and when I set my first steps into town, I immediately feel the difference with the other Ruta de las Flores towns.It is busy here, more geared towards tourism, with more people around in the streets: it almost feels bustling. I come across several murals, and would soon find out they are all over town. But first, I head straight up to the viewpoint, from which Ataco seems to lie at my feet, basking in the afternoon sun. It is time to descend and explore properly. The town starts at the Calvario church, at the top of one of the long cobble-stone streets that runs the entire town to hills on the other side.
One of the first murals I see once back on street level, has a political statement: we see a man on his knees, with a helicopter in the sky, pointing a laser light to his head, barrels of guns sticking through a fence, and a police van in the background to which a policeman drags another supposed illegal immigrant. Welcome to Tijuana, is the title. It is actually part of a bigger mural about the poor and the oppressed. There are many more, colourful paintings of the coffee harvest on the mountains around Ataco. Then, there are quotes of famous people, politicians, authors, and other celebrities, that make you pause and think while walking the streets. It adds to the impression of a lively town, of a people concerned with the world, with prosperity.
There are plenty of shops here, selling souvenirs and handicrafts, but also locally grown coffee. There is a market where I find tasteful fruits. There is yet another white-washed colonial church, the Inmaculada Concepción, near the main square of town. Even though Concepción de Ataco is geared towards tourism, I do not see many around town. It is interesting to see how, along the Ruta de las Flores, the various towns have all retained their character, and they all have their own feel. When the sun is on its way down, I decide to sit on one of the roof restaurants, order a tasty meal, and watch the sun go down over this attractive Salvadoran town after a long day of exploring this pretty region of mountains, lakes, and colonial towns. Even when it is already dark, it is easy to find a bus back to Juayúa, my base for exploring the region.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Concepción de Ataco (). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Concepción de Ataco.
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