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Santa Ana's main attractions are its Gothic-style cathedral, old-world-style theater, and the nearby Maya ruins of Tazumal. Many also visit simply to stock up on supplies at the city's modern grocery store before heading north to the Parque Montecristo. In addition to these major attractions, you may also wish to take a peek at these notable buildings: The Centro de Arte Occidental (tel. 503/2447-6045), opposite the Santa Ana theater, once housed an art museum, but now offers arts classes to local children. You can poke around the mildly interesting building for free if you ask at the front desk. Also on the square is the Palacio Municipal, which is Santa Ana's town hall and is usually filled with folks standing in line to do all the things one does at city hall. Though there's not much to see here overall, the palace's courtyard is surprisingly inviting and serves as a respite of peace and quiet from Santa Ana's more hectic main square. You can peek in for free Monday to Saturday from 8am to noon and 2 to 6pm. The Casino Santaneco is a private club across from the national theater with a swank, restored interior. Though it's not open to the public, it can be glimpsed if you manage to convince the guy at the front door to let you in.

Spanish Classes

Escuela Sihuatehuacán (Calle E Polígano N2, Urbanización El Milagro; tel. 503/2441-4726; www.salvaspan.com) will do more than just improve your Spanish. The school organizes day trips to surrounding attractions, activities, and salsa classes. Homestays are available, as are short or long structured Spanish courses.

Festivals

If you are in Santa Ana in July, you'll want to check out the "Fiestas Julias," or the July Festival. This month-long celebration involves parades, carnival rides, and music and is also known as Fiesta Patronal, since it honors the city's patron saint.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.