Planning a Trip
From San Salvador, take bus no. 129 from Terminal de Oriente. Buses leave every 15 minutes, cost 80¢ (40p), and arrive in 1 hour and 45 minutes. Buses stop 1 1/2 blocks from the main square.
If you're driving from San Salvador, follow the Pan-American Highway (Carretera Panamericana) past Lago Ilopango until you see the sign for San Martin. Take the San Martin exit and follow it to the Plaza Central, where you will find signs leading you the remaining 28km (17 miles) to Suchitoto.
Orientation & Getting Around
Most of what you'll want to see in Suchitoto is within a 5-minute walk of the central plaza, known as Parque Centenario. The town is small and walkable, and its streets are quiet and largely traffic free. Avenida 15 de Septiembre runs north-south in front of the plaza and 2A Calle Oriente runs east-west by the plaza, becoming 2a Calle Poniente west of the plaza. Lago Suchitlán is an easy, 30-minute stroll out of town along Avenida 15 de Septiembre but a tough 45-minute climb back.
A ferry also transports cars and people across Lago Suchitlán to the north daily from roughly 7am to 5pm for $7 (£3.50) per car and $2 (£1) per person. To get to the launching area, turn left just before the Turistico Puerto San Juan tourist center and follow the dirt road down to the lake.
Visitor information is easy to come by in Suchitoto. For the formal scoop, head to the tourist office (Av. Francisco Morazán, 2 blocks off the main square; tel. 503/2335-1782), which is open daily from 8am to noon and 1pm to 4pm. The office has an English-speaking staff that can offer tips on Suchitoto's attractions and hands out town maps. For a locals' perspective, sit a spell with a cup of coffee on the porch of Artex Café (tel. 503/2335-1440) on the southeast corner of the square. Eventually you'll be joined by an assortment of expats, business owners, and other characters, who come here to use the Internet, enjoy a pastry, or simply pass the time.
The town also has one official English-speaking guide, Rene Barbón (tel. 503/7118-1999 or 2335-1679; firstname.lastname@example.org), who offers excellent outdoor adventure and history tours. Finally, local restaurant owner and English expat Robert Broz (tel. 503/2327-2351; email@example.com) will be more than happy to give you the lowdown on town and maybe a ride in his pickup truck around town.
Fast Facts -- Suchitoto has only one ATM, which is on the square. Since this ATM doesn't accept all bank cards, it's a good idea to bring all the money you'll need in advance of your stay. Air-conditioned, $1 (50p) per-hour Internet service is available at the InfoCentros chain (Calle Francisco Morazán on the main square; tel. 503/2335-1835). The post office (tel. 503/2304-0104) is on the other side of the square from InfoCentros, near the corner of Avenida 15 de Septiembre and 2a Calle Oriente.
For health emergencies, you can head to Hospital Nacional de Suchitoto (Av. José María Pérez Fernández; tel. 503/2335-1062). Farmacia Santa Lucía (tel. 503/2335-1063) is just off the square at Avenida 5 de Noviembre and Francisco Morazán.