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 per car and $2 per person. To get to the launching area, turn left just before the Turístico 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 1 to 4pm. The office has an English-speaking staff that can offer tips on Suchitoto's attractions and hands out town maps. For a local's 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.
Vista Conga Tours (Final Pasaje, Cielito lindo 7, Barrio Concepcion; tel. 503/2335-1679 or 503/7118-1999; www.vistaconga.com) offers an array of tours that provide an excellent sense of the region's history and natural beauty. Their most popular outing is a 6-hour trip that involves hiking in the 3,921-hectare (9,689-acre) Parque Ecológico de Cinquera and visiting the historic civil war village of Cinquera. The tour also includes a 1 1/2-hour presentation by Cinquera resident Don Pablo, translated by a guide, who gives a firsthand account of the gruesome realities of the civil war. Other tours include a 3-hour hike to a nearby waterfall, horseback riding, and nighttime animal-watching tours, as well as a 5-hour flat-water canoe-paddling tour. Tours range from $15 to $35.
Eco Tourism La Mora (tel. 503/2323-6874; www.ecoturismolamora.es.tl) offers Spanish-only hiking and horseback tours to nearby Volcán Guazapa, also known as Cerro Guazapa. This 1,435m (4,708-ft.) mountain is home to 200 plant species and 27 types of birds, as well as many types of butterflies and reptiles. Two- to 5-hour tours cost $16 to $40.
Gringo Tours (Calle Francisco Morazán #27; tel. 503/7327-2351; www.elgringosuchitoto.com) is run by local restaurant owner and American expat Robert Broz. He is more than happy to give you the lowdown on the town, in addition to offering fascinating tours that specialize in the archaeological heritage and civil war history of the area, including a tour of Cinquera. Tours start at $50 for a half day for a group of one to four. Robert can also organize accommodation and custom-built itineraries.
In town, you can take a 2-hour Historic Building Walking Tour via the Suchitoto tourist office (Av. Francisco Morazán; tel. 503/2335-1782). The tour consists of visits to 32 historic Suchitoto buildings, including the former homes of three presidents and a former convent now serving as an arts center. The tour is in English and Spanish; can be booked with 24 hours notice; and costs $10 for 1 to 5 people, $15 for 5 to 20.