84km (52 miles) N of San Salvador; 50km (31 miles) W of Chalatenango
La Palma is a thin, rectangular-shaped town wedged along a mountain side. And, at first glance, it seems like any other small, scruffy mountain town high up near the Honduran border. Yet look closer, and you'll see its telegraph poles are painted with bird and flower motifs. The small plaza wall has colorful renditions of armadillos and anteaters, and murals bearing chickens and snakes dot the town. La Palma is in fact the unlikely center of a famous art movement and is the former home of El Salvador's most revered living artist, Fernando Llort. Today, visitors come from around the world to snap photos of the dozens of Llort-style murals decorating the town's walls and browse its many artisans' shops.
Llort moved to La Palma in 1972 and taught the townspeople to create art using available materials to reflect their lives. The resulting works are filled with color, geometric designs, and natural and religious symbols. Llort eventually left La Palma, but the artists he inspired continue to create works on display in the galleries and on the buildings along La Palma's two main roads.
Despite its remote location and small size, La Palma has numerous restaurants and a couple of nice hotels. La Palma is also an excellent jumping-off point for hikes up nearby El Pital mountain, which is the highest point in El Salvador and summits on the border with Honduras.