Santa Ana, El Salvador's second most important city, lies in the beautiful Cihautehuacan valley surrounded by green peaks with slopes of Volcan Santa Ana rising to the southwest.
Gently decaying colonial streets and facades exude a certain bourgeois indifference. From Santa Ana visitors will find the archaeological sites of Joya de Ceren, San Andres and Tazumal. Joya de Ceren was a pre-Hispanic farming community, buried under the eruption of the Laguna Caldera volcano in 600AD. The importance of this site today, is the fine preservation of this adobe community, and gives an insight into the lives of the Central American people of this time.
Southwest of Santa Ana, lies the town of Sonsonate, in the highlands of El Salvador and the principle cattle, coffee and tobacco farming region. The peaks of Cerro Verde, Volcan Izalco, and the crater lake Lago Coatepeque provide striking backdrops and good hiking opportunities. Although Sonsonate is mainly a bustling commercial town, it is on the Ruta de las Flores, a drive through pretty countryside and colonial towns famous for crafts, night markets and festivals; the most interesting being Ataco. The route was named after the abundant white coffee flowers visible during May and the wild flowers that colour the hills and valleys from October to February. This area is also home to El Imposible National Park; some 31 square kilometres of varying climatic zones and 300 species of birds.