The small, colourful town La Palma lies in the mountain region in the eastern El Salvador, only a jump away from the Honduran border. The town played an important role in the solution of the Civil War in 1984. It is the place where negotiations between the Guerrilla and the Government took place. However, nowadays it is known as the biggest artisan center of the country. In fact, the majority of its economy is based on this sector.
Most impressing are the mural paintings, which are found everywhere around town. The houses are decorated with colourful and abstract murals, the lamp posts are adorned with small paintings, even the stairs, the basketball hooks and patches on the floor are coloured. Benches are ornamented with multicoloured mosaics. The whole town seems to be fallen into a paint-pot and explodes in various colours. The murals are a tribute to the famous artist Fernando Llort, who lived in this municipality and developed the artisanal industry in the region during the 1970ies.
Nowadays, about 100 artesanal shops can be found in La Palma and its surroundings. All of them influenced by the ‘Estilo Palmeño’ (Palmeño Style) or ‘Arte Naif’ brought to them by Fernando Llort. Originally, a seed of the copinol tree was painted with brilliant colours, featuring abstract scenes of the rural quotidian life or typical flora and fauna from the region. Today, any wooden surface is used to display their artistic paintings. Common souvenirs are bookmarks, pens, boxes, letters and many others, all of them hand-painted in vivid colours showing the typical motives of quotidian life, flora and fauna in an abstract style.
La Palma is also a good starting point for excursions into the mountains. You can visit the hill Miramundo, a cloud forest with colder climate, located 13 kilometers from the town. Another hill in the middle of the cloud forest is the Cerro el Pital, 12 kilometers from La Plama. A nice panoramic view over Honduras and El Salvador offers the viewpoint La Piedra Cayahuanca, which is a boundary stone located between the two countries.
You can take a direct bus from San Salvador. Another option is to cross border from Honduras, coming from Santa Rosa de Copán. The bus at from the border to San Salvador will stop at La Palma.