Recently we took a day trip to Suchitoto and Lake Suchitlan. I’d heard good things about Suchitoto: a beautiful old Spanish colonial town referred to as the “Cultural Crown Jewel of El Salvador”; compared to Antigua, Guatemala, and Granada, Nicaragua in guidebooks; and named by the Mayans, “Suchitoto”, place of birds and flowers. Suffice it to say, my expectations were rather high. The only thing I’d heard about Lake Suchitlan is that it’s a manmade lake with contaminated water. As you can imagine, my expectations for the lake were rather low.
Having visited Antigua, Guatemala years ago, I was expecting to see lots of color and vibrancy. The parts of Suchitoto that I saw lacked both. To be fair, I was there during the week and I hear it’s a livelier place on the weekends. We walked around the main square and visited a few stores and a bakery. Then we headed to Lake Suchitlan for lunch.
The Puerto San Juan entrance to Lake Suchitlan is very welcoming. At the open-air restaurants, housed under one roof, we were greeted by women wearing traditional dress. We ate lunch while looking out onto the lake. After, we took a thirty-minute boat tour. Our guide told us fun facts with now forgotten details about the surrounding land that used to be rich farmland. I definitely got the message that the dam radically changed the surrounding areas for better and for worse. The day we were there, the air was hot and the breeze from the boat was divine. I felt buoyed surrounded by water, clouds, birds, and green islands and glad to be in that thoughtful state you enter when floating on a body of water.
It’s okay to have expectations. I certainly enjoy looking forward to seeing places that I’ve heard good things about. It’s okay to feel disappointed too. Perhaps the idea is to go and see for yourself, decide what you think, and find what strikes your fancy. For me, I’m interested in going to Suchitoto again, if only to pass on through and head to Lake Suchitlan.
Centro Turistico Puerto San Juan