Salvadoran Naive Art and Mountaintop Hitchhiking in La Palma

Salvadoran Naive ArtLa Palma is in the northernmost reaches of El Salvador, just across the border from Honduras.  It’s home to world-famous Salvadoran painter Fernando Llort.  He founded a style called ” naive art ” which became extremely popular, and then he taught lots of locals how to duplicate paintings in this style, turning them into craftsmen with income-generating businesses!  Because of naive art’s fame and brilliance, and the many capable painters in town, La Palma has the most public murals per capita of anywhere in the world!  Every wall, business, house, telephone pole, curb, EVERYTHING is painted in this vivid, simple fashion.

Salvadoran Naive Art

Salvadoran Naive Art

La Palma is surrounded by lush mountains and the temperature is quite cool–yay!

Salvadoran Naive ArtOnly 12 kilometers away is Cerro El Pital, the highest peak in El Salvador, at 2730 meters (around 9000 feet).  San Ignacio, the next town over from La Palma, is the departure point for this hike.  The climb is not very daunting, as a road goes most of the way up, so you only have to hike the last 5km of the trail to the summit.  Of course we missed the bus going up, but as we started walking uphill from San Ignacio, we saw some people jumping into a pickup, confirmed that they were heading uphill, and joined them!  The views as we rode in the back of the truck, climbing higher and higher, were outstanding!

Salvadoran Naive Art

Even better, when we got to the trail and asked the driver how much we owed him, he just smiled and replied, “Nada!”  Finally, a first hitchhiking success after many fruitless attempts!  The trail up the summit took us about an hour and a half and was steep but not too strenuous.  Unfortunately, due to our inability to get up early, clouds were rolling in as we climbed and we couldn’t see anything but white fluff from the top.  During clear times (early morning) you can supposedly see into Honduras and Guatemala from the top.  So learn from our mistake and if you want to have great views from the summit, go early!

Salvadoran Naive Art
Zach, victorious, at the summit

Hiking back down, we got some more partly cloudy views.  Again, there was no bus in sight, so we just started hiking down the road hoping a car would pass and pick us up.

Salvadoran Naive ArtLuckily, just as our knees were starting to feel it on the steep slope, a bread truck with two guys in it stopped and crammed us in.  They were super friendly and gave us a free ride not only to San Ignacio, but all the way back to La Palma, since they were going that way anyway.  Hurrah for hiking and hitchhiking success!!!!!

Enjoy this post about Salvadoran Naive Art and hitchhiking to the top of El Salvador’s highest mountain? Check out our archives for other adventures! Also, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram @laaventuraproject and subscribe to our Youtube Channel.

Hotel La Palma in La Palma, El Salvador

Hotel La Palma is a vivid yet rustic hotel for travelers looking to take in the art scene in La Palma or climb El Salvador’s highest peak, Cerro El Pital.

Hotel La Palma

Although the hotel shows its age a little bit, the bright murals throughout the halls and rooms of Hotel La Palma make you feel happy and energetic.  Rooms are spacious and bathrooms have hot water.  There is also a restaurant serving local classics for all three meals, as well as an “Indian hen” special on weekends.

Hotel La Palma

For further recreation in between hikes and adventures, Hotel La Palma has a swimming pool, basketball court, and tons of hammocks for lounging.  There is also a sizable wooden patio with a great view of the passing Rio La Palma.  The whole property is surrounded by peaceful woods, although colorful La Palma town is just outside the front gate.

We would definitely recommend Hotel La Palma with one caveat–bring a mosquito net as they are not provided and window screens are lacking.

Services Offered:


Hot water

Restaurant on site


Basketball court

TV in lounge

Conference rooms

Tourist information

Gift shop


Address: Barrio El Tránsito, La Palma , Chalatenango

Phone: 23359012 or 23058483




$14 per person

This post is sponsored by Hotel La Palma.