About an hours drive by car, but much closer than it sounds is the small colonial era town of Suchitoto. It was originally built by the Pipil peoples and served as their capital city of Cuscatlán, but after several years of warring with the Spanish this ancient city was abandoned. Here in April of 1525 the Spanish explorers built the first permanent settlement in what is today modern El Salvador. This was called La Bermuda and later San Salvador, and in 1546 King Charles I of Spain granted this settlement the title of city.

Thus it is possible to take in the old San Salvador while visiting the modern city. There is a direct bus that runs to the city every 15 minutes or so, but a rental car or car and driver is probably the best bet. The city isn’t far, but the road conditions vary from fair to bad in parts. The city is known throughout El Salvador for its famous church, as well as its rock roads, which is part of the reason travel can be slow going. It is one of the few areas in the country that still has rock roads, not cemented ones.

This was the site of the colony’s capital for 15 years from 1528, and while the name moved down the road (and then again after the volcanic eruption of 1917) the colonial town was not entirely abandoned. It makes for a nice diversion from the modern city and has quaint cobblestone streets, while offer views of Lake Suchitlán and Volcán Guazapa.