La Esperanza

The tree-filled Parque Central and the two colonial churches in the center are worth a quick look, but they won't keep you interested for long. The town's main attraction, La Ermita, is a small shrine and chapel on the hillside that's home to the statue of the Virgin of Fatima on the west end, where you can get a good view of town. The Casa de Cultura, in the municipal building on the western side of town, has a few displays on Lenca culture and old photographs of the city alongside a small artesania shop.

The NGOs based here have actively tried to set up tourism initiatives in the villages outside of town. A trip about 11km (6 3/4 miles) outside of town through the Valle de Azacualpa takes you to Chiligatoro, a small lagoon with rowboats for rent. Several rural Lenca villages are here, spread out along the farmland, where the residents still sport traditional dress.

One of the more interesting attractions is Cerro Los Hoyos, 6km (3 3/4 miles) northeast of La Esperanza, a 1 1/2-hour hike up to a forest-covered plateau that overlooks the farms of the Valle de Azacualpa. Cylindrical holes found here of various sizes are believed to be pre-Columbian obsidian mines, though outlandish theories claim that the holes are left by extraterrestrials.

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