When I get off bus 129 and walk back half a block, the sun is just setting on the white-washed Santa Lucía church of Suchitoto, giving it a warm orange glow. At its feet, I find a square full of life. Locals take a stroll, talking, looking up at the fountain, examining the souvenir stalls, or just sitting on a bench, chatting, and watching their fellow townsmen walk past. I immediately feel at home. After dropping my bag at a hostel, I am back on the streets for some more exploration before the last touch of daylight is squeezed out of the sky and off the houses. The next morning. I get up with the sun, and wander the colonial streets of Suchitoto. The warm glow is back, now from the east: it gives a soft touch to the cobble stones, to the pastel colours of the houses, to the flowers that stand and it casts a slant shadow of the metal bars that protect the windows. It is easy to fall in love with this romantic town.
After a visit to the ruins of Cihuatán, I walk from Suchitoto to Tercios waterfalls, even though I know there will be no water. What makes the place stand out, are the tall hexagonal rock formations over which water normally runs, and which now stand as tall towers. A little higher up, there are good views over Suchitlán lake. I am back in town when the light starts to warm, and sit on one of the sidewalks, watching the villagers lead their quiet lives. Every now and then, a bus pulls up, taking villagers to Aguilares or San Salvador. When they leave again, the town is its own peaceful self again, until the next bus reminds everyone of the world outside Suchitoto. This town was established well before the Spanish arrived here, and a prospering town decades ago, but suffered greatly during the civil war in which most inhabitants left and houses in town crumbled. It has been revived, and its picturesque look has drawn tourism to the town. Fortunately, the town has retained its appeal of an attractive town, and apart from stalls with souvenirs and artsy cafes, it is certainly not drowned in tourism (yet).
The next day, I am up early, and watch the sun rise, casting shadows on the coloured walls of the houses. There is an abundance of flowers in and around the windows. Every now and then, a villager walks by, saluting me with a friendly Buenos días. I walk the same streets as before, find that the Parque San Martín is closed for renovations. The mill at the corner of the main square seems to work non-stop, emitting a monotonous sound, with people dropping in to have something milled. It is time to walk down the steep road to Suchitlán lake. I find fishermen here, small boats, and a handful of houses. Islands are dotted around the manmade lake that looks like a scratch free mirror in the early morning quietness. After sweating my way back up the mountain, I find the museum of Alejandro Cotto just open. This lovely mansion was home for the most famous son of Suchitoto, the cineast and author whose fame reaches far past the borders of town, or El Salvador. It holds a fine collection of paintings and objects, with attractive garden with a great viewpoint over Suchitlán lake, and also the last resting place of the film director. My time in Suchitoto is up, and after a last walk through town, I reluctantly board a bus back to the capital city.
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Suchitoto (). 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 Suchitoto.
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