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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Go Between City and Sand in San Salvador


5. Oddball Day

El Salvador's largest inland body of water, Lake Suchitlán, is dotted with tiny islands.  

Head an hour outside the capital to revisit El Salvador’s colonial past in the town of Suchitoto, which was deeply affected by the civil war but has emerged as a placid destination with cobblestone streets and whitewashed architecture. Start by exploring Parque Centenario, home to neoclassical Iglesias Santa Lucía, an 1858 church that was recently restored with a grant from the Spanish government. Nearby, you’ll find quality handmade indigo products like blankets and napkins at Tierrazul, where the staff can also arrange day-long trips to nearby indigo plantations for hands-on workshops and demonstrations. Stop for lunch at Los Almendros de San Lorenzo, a former private hacienda turned into a hotel that houses the best restaurant in town. In a glass-enclosed dining room facing the property’s elegant gardens, Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef Hervé Laurent serves a menu that features local dishes, but opt instead for his take on bistro staples like French onion soup and hanger steak. Next, head three blocks away to La Casa del Escultor, the studio where Argentinean sculptor Miguel Martino displays his large-scale works alongside pieces made by Salvadorean up-and-comers. (On Sundays, Martino and his wife transform the studio into an informal restaurant.) Finish the day with a visit to man-made Lago Suchitlán, lined with restaurants, small shops, and walking paths, about twenty minutes from town. If there’s time, hop on one of the lanchas (covered wooden boats), which offer hour-long tours of the lake’s tiny islands and a chance to spot the countless herons, cormorants, and ducks that come here year-round. Head back to the city for a glitzy dinner at six-month-old Relmora Lounge (Calle La Reforma; 503-2298-3382), housed in a neoclassical estate where white-suited waiters serve global small plates to well-heeled diners until 2 a.m. on weekends.

Published on May 12, 2011 as a web exclusive.

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