This Year’s El Salvador Cultural Festivals: Top 8 Picks

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El Salvador, like most of Central America, has some notable festivals — here is a list of a list of those not to miss for your travel bucket list. The first one is coming up in July in Santa Ana.

Fiesta Julias (July 1-31)

Held in Santa Ana, El Salvador’s most colonial city, the July festival takes the form of cultural events, street parades and religious masses. All these activities are done to pay homage to the city’s patron saint Santa Ana. Lots of bands perform in the streets, mariachis and clowns are aplenty.

Panchimalco Flower Festival (May)

Every May you’ll find La Fiesta de las flores de Panchimalco in the small town of Panchimalco near San Salvador. This is a very colorful celebration that starts at 4 a.m. on the last day and the woman and children dress-up. You won’t know when the flowers end and the costumes begin.

Fiestas Patronales (July 17-26)

During July 17-26 is Fiesta Patronal for Nuestra Senora de Santa Ana with special masses.

In Tacuba, in ecotourism destination in the middle of full panic mountains in western El Salvador, it’s from July 17-22 for patron Saint Mary Magdalene. The celebrations included a beauty queen.

Fiestas Agostinas (August 1-6)

Held at San Salvador, the August festival starts at 4am with the Alborada Matinal band playing along the streets giving you a wake up call. A lot of activities are involved in this festival from sports tournaments, art exhibits, food fairs and theatre festivals.

El Salvador Del Mundo (Aug 1-7)

This festival is a nationwide week-long festival in celebration of the nation’s patron saint. Other cities have their own patron saint celebrations at other times.

Festival del Invierno (August)

This winter festival is held in Perquin, the wartime headquarters of the FMLN which still contains some revolutionary museums and sites, celebrates the signing of the Peace Accords. This is a big art and music party with a young hip crowd of college-age students. This can be a busy time to visit Perquin.

San Miguel Carnaval (November)

Held in San Miguel, it lasts for the whole month of November. Dancing and parades abound in honor of the patron saint of the city. National and International bands fill the streets with music ranging from samba, reggae and meringue tunes (merengue and regueton/reggaeton and other Latin American styles are popular in El Salvador which doesn’t have its own national style). This is also the time of San Miguel’s Fiesta Patronal. The Carnival culminates on the last Saturday of November.

Festival Internacional Permanente de Arte y Cultura (February)

This large national and international art festival with food and music is held every weekend in Suchitoto, kind of an artist colony in northern El Salvador.

Above photo: women decorate coconut palm fronds with flowers during the Panchimalco Flower and Palm festival in San Salvador.  Photo credit: AP Photo/EdgarRomero.

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