Located just 30 minutes from the Salvadoran capital, Panchimalco welcomes visitors at its entrance with the spectacular, huge and colorful figures made of cement by local native artists. This place is known for its history and customs and belongs to the municipality of San Salvador. It has a population of more than 41 thousand inhabitants.
Its pre-Columbian people were Toltec and during the conquest of the territory by the Spanish forces the place was called “El Fuerte;” the concave shape of the land gave the local indigenous community an advantage. This is one of the many stories of this region that in 1770 belonged to the San Jacinto parish and after six years became part of San Salvador.
In Panchimalco visitors can enjoy various places of interest. There’s the Parque Balboa, which was built for visitors to enjoy the flora and fauna of the place. There is also the Parque de la Familia where there are horses for visitors who enjoy horsebackriding, and there is a skating rink for young people. La Puerta del Diablo is another of the many attractions of this municipality, located in the Planes de Renderos.
In the urban part of town, visitors can also find interesting attractions such as the Casa de la Cultura, the Casa Taller Encuentros by the renowned painter, Miguel Ángel Ramírez, Centro Cultural las Cruces, El Parque Escultórico, La Casa del Artista and the Parque Acuático Municipal.
In Panchimalco travelers enjoy gastronomic festivals offered on the weekends, where local visitors and tourists can experience the local cuisine. There are also museums, restaurants, and hand-weaving workshops.
The Church of Panchimalco, another cultural and religious attraction, was built around the year 1730 by the indigenous peoples, led by religious friars. Its façade is baroque and measures 40 meters long by 18 meters wide. Its vault is reinforced by 16 balsam wood columns.
The patron saint festivities of Panchimalco are celebrated between September 13 and 14 in honor of the Santa Cruz de Roma. However, the first Sunday in May the town celebrates the “Feria Cultural de las Flores y las Palmas” or simply, “Procesión de las Palmas” in honor of the Virgin Mary. This is the most popular and colorful festival.
On this day there are representations of the traditional dances of the Chapetones and the Historiantes.
The event is made colorful by the religious procession. Assistants carry coconut palms decorated with seasonal flowers. The crowd departs from three points in the town carrying images of the Virgin Mary. The event culminates in a mass in the church. In the middle of the celebrations visitors can purchase traditional Salvadoran food.
The film El Pirata Negro was filmed in Panchimalco in 1954, and local inhabitants intervened as extras. In this area, the colorful striped and checked clothing worn by women is representative of the region, although at present they only use the beautiful garments during cultural events. Its inhabitants are known as “Panchos” or “Panchitas.” Nahuatl is also spoken and taught in different places.
To get to Panchimalco by vehicle travel 14 kilometers past Los Planes de Renderos. By bus, board any of the routes: 17, 17-A or 17-B; these are destined for Panchimalco and Rosario de Mora.
Mauricio Alexander Cáceres García is a renowned Photojournalist and Documentarian from El Salvador. His work showcases the power of human stories. Among his specializations, Cáceres has reported on The Migrant Route along the Guatemalan border, Mexico and the United States. He accompanied migrants along the migrant route to the US on four occasions. Cáceres has a degree in Migration from the Universidad de Centro América, UCA. Cáceres has served as an Editor of the newspaper Más, EDH and elsalvador.com. He has extensive experience in national and international news coverage, studied journalism has won several photography awards throughout Latin America, including second place on a photographic contest centered on the migrant woman, and earning the Santa Clara de Asís prize for his report on the migrant route.