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The 7 Waterfalls Tour – Ruta de Flores – El Salvador

LashWorldTour at waterfalls on Ruta de Flores

enjoying waterfalls – 7 WF tour

The 7 Waterfalls Tour – Ruta de Flores – El Salvador

The Ruta de Flores in western El Salvador consists of a collection of small mountain towns with art galleries, colorful murals, a smattering of colonial architecture and heaps of great outdoor places to visit like waterfalls, hot springs, small lakes and hikes in forested mountains. I wrote in detail about Ruta de Flores here.

One of my best experiences at Ruta de Flores was the awesome half-day 7 Waterfalls Tour, offered in Juayua town at the lovely Hostel Casa Mazeta. In fact, the tour exceeded my expectations!

waterfall on the 7 Waterfalls Tour

waterfall on the 7 Waterfalls Tour

I knew from the tour description that we would – obviously – visit several waterfalls and that we would be descending by rope through at least one of them. Sounded fantastic enough to me.

But in addition to that, we walked through coffee plantations, hiked along narrow mountain ridge trails and enjoyed amazing panoramic views of nearby volcanoes and dense, forest-clad mountains.

Our knowledgeable guide, Carlos, also pointing out birds, flowers and butterflies. He educated us briefly about coffee growing and the growing/production processes there in El Salvador.

Carlos - our 7 waterfalls tour guide - all set with machete

Carlos – our 7 waterfalls tour guide – all set with machete

And he made sure each and every one of us were safe on the ropes by leading each of us individually down the slopes and falls, keeping himself a few feet down-hill while also holding onto the same rope, and pointing out the footholds.

Our tour started at 8 am at Casa Mazeta where Carlos came to meet four of us. Soon we headed out, walking right from the front doors through town and out into the mountains.

We first stopped by his mother’s house just outside town to pick up the ropes, all of which sturdy Carlos slung around his neck for the duration of our 6-hour trip. Carlos’ two dog mascots also joined us there.

Before we knew it, we were walking through coffee plantations. Carlos stopped to tell us about different kinds of coffee plants, the history of coffee growing in the region, workers wages and other interesting information.

He also gave us red ripening coffee ‘cherries’ to eat! I never knew we could eat the fruit as well as the beans. They tasted completely different from coffee and had a pleasant fresh flavor.

volcano view on 7 Waterfalls Hike - El Salvador

volcano view on 7 Waterfalls Hike – El Salvador

We continued walking through the mountains on narrow footpaths that none of us could ever have found or followed alone. That was actually one thing I greatly appreciated about the tour – Carlos lead us on a route completely un-doable without an expert local guide. Nice!

After about an hour we reached the top of a near vertical mountainside that we had to descend by rope. We all waited at the top while Carlos patiently tied off the ropes around a tree and then descended the route to get the ropes into place properly.

20170828_110928The two dog mascots knew the route well and promptly laid down to rest at every possible moment. They looked like huge lazy-bones sleeping in the forest all the time.

Before we headed down the rope, one by one, we all put on safety helmets. Then Carlos guided each of us down the cliff face. Fun!

From the bottom of that section we then descended a much longer waterfall by rope. Carlos retrieved the rope tie-off from above and then set up the next route for us. After he’d reached the bottom, he climbed back up and then, once again, he guided each of us down the waterfall individually, pointing out each footstep.

All in all, Carlos climbed up and down that waterfall six times! And set up the ropes. And dismantled and re-coiled the ropes. And then carried those heavy wet ropes over his shoulders for the rest of the hike back. I was mightily impressed with his stamina, devotion and energy.

Getting ready to descend the waterfall by rope

Getting ready to descend the waterfall by rope

From the bottom of the valley, we followed a small river a short ways, passed another two waterfalls and then had to climb up out of the valley. Up along the side of the mountain we followed more narrow paths with fantastic mountain views until we eventually reached another waterfall, where we took a break for lunch.

Carlos ready to lead us down the ropes

Carlos ready to lead us down the ropes

As if Carlos hadn’t done enough already, as soon as we stopped, he began preparing our lunches – sandwiches that he made from scratch right there on the rock. Meanwhile, we all sat around resting.

I felt like a true slacker, I can tell you. But I was famished and I dug right into my own lunch while he was making sandwiches. And then I ate the sandwich too!

After eating and resting, we continued along the trail to visit the final two waterfalls. The last one is called Los Chorros and is actually just a short distance outside Juayua town. We’d almost completed a loop.

At the base of Los Chorros locals have built a wide shallow pool for swimming. Everyone in our group soon jumped in for a cool dip… except for me, that is. The mountain river water was much, much too cold for me! I did manage to get my feet and legs in up to the knees, but that was it for me.

Los Chorros - El Salvador-001

Los Chorros near Juayua town – Ruta de Flores

After everyone was refreshed and rested, we finally headed back into town, a 30 minute walk, reaching the hostel at about 2:30 pm.

It was a great tour- fun, educational and good exercise. I highly recommend it to any adventurous travelers visiting El Salvador.

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You might also find the following articles useful:

Introduction to El Salvador

Ruta de Flores – El Salvador

Preparing to Visit El Salvador

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