La Golondrinera waterfall, El Salvador

La Golondrinera

Looking for a nature adventure in El Salvador? Here is one I am sure you will love. 

El Salvador, aside from all its great mountains and volcanoes, also has several waterfalls that are worth seeing and visiting, some of them are very popular and some are still gems to discover. This time I will talk you about "La Golondrinera".

About "La Golondrinera"

La Golondrinera waterfall, is one of the many beautiful and least explored waterfalls in El Salvador.
The waterfall is located in Nahuizalco, Sonsonate; one of the little towns that are part of Ruta de las Flores, which I will talk about in another post.

It is aproximately 70 meters height, and to reach it you will have to go through trails, rocks, and descentes that require some physical effort.

I managed to go with my family a few years ago, and this was the very first trip I did on my own (without  joining a tour company), unfortunately I found very little information on how to reach this place before I went, so I will share all the tips I wish I had before starting the trip, in case you want to visit. I am sure you would not regret it.

The view is incredible all the way to the waterfall, it seems like you are in some kind of jungle on your way there. There are some exotic animals, like "garrobos" which are some sort of big lizards.

How to get there?

You can easily get to Nahuizalco from San Salvador city by car or bus. Once you are in Nahuizalco, you need to look for Tourism Office at the center of town. If you can't spot it, you can ask anyone around and they will assist you or let you know where to find it. 

Nahuizalco's tourism office schedule:
8:30 am - 12:00 pm.

Tell them you want a guide to go to "La Golondrinera" waterfall and they will quickly look for someone to accompany you. The guide will charge you based on the number of people that's doing the hike to the waterfall. My family and I were 5 people and they charged us $25 USD for the whole trip which is not so bad, considering that getting to the waterfall is not so easy if you don't know the place.

Is it reachable by car?

You can't get to the waterfall by car, you will have to walk a few kilometers to get to the actual waterfall, but you can get significantly closer. To do so, it is important that you tell the guide that you want to get as close as possible to the waterfall by car. You will not be as close as walking to the beach, but you will save a few worthless kilometers if you don't walk from the center of the town and get closer instead. There's a small place where you can leave your car and start the hike.

What do you need to take with you?

  • Comfortable shoes 
  • Water shoes - you will need to cross the river, so if you don't want to damage your boots or shoes, it is better if you take a water shoes pair with you.
  • Fresh clothes
  • 1 LT of water minimum
  • Energetic bars
  • Swim suit in case you want to dive into the water.
  • Sunscreen
  • Camera to take beautiful photos
My family and I brought a food basket with sandwiches and beverages. We had lunch down at the waterfall while we enjoyed the sound of the water and the view. It was a great idea however the extra weight in a basket was probably not the best choice. It is better if you bring a backpack with you, so you can keep your hands free at all times and easily keep your balance.

We went to "La Golondrinera" on January 1st, 2017. It was not raining season in El Salvador. If you go in raining season, you might want to consider that there will be more water both in the waterfall (which would be great) and the river, which means you'll have to be more careful when crossing it.

How long is the walk?

The hike is about 1-2 hours approximately depending on your pace, you don't need to be an expert hiker but you will need to be in good physical condition. Once you get to the waterfall you can enjoy the view and swim in the cold water. The guide is so kind that he will patiently wait for you to enjoy before heading back to Nahuizalco town.

The difficulty is beginner level. As I said, you don't need to be an athlete or regular hiker but it will be easier if you are in a good shape and excercise regularly.

A few things to consider before the trip:

  1. Make sure to watch your step all the time: you'll have to pass through very narrow paths, and depending on the season you go, dirt may be dry and you may fall if you are not careful. 
  2. Travel light: don't carry more than necessary. Even though  the hike is not too hard, any extra weight could make you lose your balance and nobody wants any accidents.
  3. If you bring food to the waterfall remember to take all the garbage with you and leave the place clean before you leave.
  4. It is easy to get lost if you don't know the place, don't go on your own, it is better to have a local tour guide showing you the path.

After your trip to "La Golondrinera" you can go back to Nahuizalco town or any of the other beautiful towns in "Ruta de las Flores". Salcoatitán is the town that is right next to Nahuizalco, where you can enjoy the delicious yuca, at the town's park, or you can have a delicious piña colada served in the pineapple shell, and if you like sweet desserts, you can ask for the famous quesadillas, which is a cheese based sweet bread, very traditional of El Salvador. 

If you go to El Salvador, you definitely cannot miss this experience. 

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