The two charming villages Juayúa and Ataco are famous for its weekend food fair or ‘fería gastronómica’ how it is called in Spanish. Both cities are part of the Flower Route (Ruta de las Flores) and offer other sights and activities which complete your stay at these picturesque villages. The ‘Fería Gastronómica’ in Juayúa is the older and more famous one. It started in 1997 and nowadays attracts about 5’000 visitors during one weekend. The food fair in Ataco opened its doors in 2003 and is called ‘Feria de las Flores’.
The food fair opens at 10 o’clock in the morning and goes on until the evening. The vendors gather around the central square and the diverging streets. Music is playing, small shows are going on and the atmosphere is like on a fun fair. Many artisans set up their stalls to sell souvenirs and also many of the local souvenir and artisan shop only open their doors during weekends for the flock of tourists coming in. The Food fairs are popular between Salvadorans for a weekend trip with their family. Nowadays, also international tourists acquired a taste for this spectacular food fair. So be prepared, it will be crowded.
You can choose between what seems like 100 different plates, ranging from traditional Salvadorian dishes, over international plates to rather exquisite and uncommon food. Normally, each food stall offers something different in order to not compete with one another. Typical dishes include barbecued meat, filled chicken breasts, marinated pork or coney. If you are looking for something more exotic, go for the fried frog skewers or the barbecued guineapig. Do not miss out on the dessert either. Homemade cakes with a cup of tasty coffee, a huge variety of ice cream and sweet buns in form of iguanas and turtles let your mouth water.
Even though Juayúa was the first village to open the food fair, many visitors prefer the one in Ataco. Ataco is an impressive and colourful village and many visitors like the more relaxed atmosphere of the food fair. Here you will also find various small and charming cafés around the main square, inviting you for a relaxing drink while observing the hustle and bustle on the square. Many shops offer fresh coffee beans from the region and small artisan shops open their doors, selling typical wooden or batik souvenirs. In contrast, the food fair in Juayúa is bigger and offers more exotic food. Here, artisans from around the country come to set up their market stalls and sell a huge variety of souvenirs.
From the capital San Salvador you can take a the bus #205 to Sonsonate. From there you take the bus #249 which goes in the direction Ahuachapán and you get off earlier at Ataco. There are frequent busses between Juayúa and Ataco.