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How to Find The Most Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador

How to Find The Most Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador

El Salvador is jam-packed full of amazing waterfalls. Some of the most visited waterfalls in El Salvador include Tamanique Waterfalls and Salto de Malacatiupan. There are also the Juayua waterfalls, Los Chorros de La Calera and the Seven Waterfalls (Siete Cascadas), located on Ruta de Las Flores. These waterfalls are definitely worth visiting. But, there are many unknown waterfalls hidden in a less explored area of El Imposible National Park. These crystal clear waterfalls in El Salvador are the best falls in the country.

Discovering these waterfalls is definitely one of the best things to do in El Salvador. So, in this guide, we’re going to tell you all about finding these hidden gems in El Salvador. Of course, we think there are many other fantastic waterfalls to visit throughout the country. For completeness, we’ll also detail some of the other best waterfalls in El Salvador.

Check out our guides on the Seven Waterfalls Tour and Tamanique Falls

Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador Tour

Otherwise known as Las Cascadas Escondidas, the Hidden Waterfalls Tour run by El Salvatours is the only way to explore these hidden falls. El Salvatours have a monopoly on this area of El Imposible National Park. This means you’ll need to hit these guys up if you’re wanting to chase these secret waterfalls. Plus, it’s not possible to find these waterfalls without a tour guide. There are no maps to find these places in El Salvador. These waterfalls are buried deep in the forest and gorges at El Imposible National Park.

Beck sits on a rock in a gorge in El Imposible National Park

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Chasing Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador With El Salvatours

Led by the charismatic and loveable El Salvador tour guide William and local guide Edwin, El Salvatours are discovering otherwise unreachable waterfalls. They do so by exploring the relatively untouched northern part of El Imposible National Park.

Most of the well-known cascades at El Imposible National Park are located around the main entrance, which is reached from the southern part of the park. The team at El Salvatours base themselves in and explore the national park from Concepcion de Ataco. It’s a gateway to the northern part of El Imposible that’s been rarely visited or seen by tourists.

These waterfalls are so unknown, that only two of them have names. There is Cascada La Cueva and Cascada El Perol. Not to be confused with Salto El Perol – another waterfall in El Salvador. Because there are many cascades and waterfalls to explore, it’s hard to distinguish and number an exact amount of hidden waterfalls during the hike. Basically, there are around half a dozen major waterfalls and many other cascades in between them. Try counting them for yourself and see what number you come up with!

Anyway, to chase these mesmerising hidden waterfalls, you’ll need to get in touch with El Salvatours. You can message them on Whatsapp (+61 448584472 [best number if you don’t speak Spanish] or +503 60139955), Facebook or Instagram. They also offer another fantastic trekking experience in El Imposible National Park such as the La Llorona hike.

So, now you know how to find these hidden waterfalls in El Salvador, we’ll give you a little taster of what’s to come.

Our brilliant trekking guides, William and Edwin, from El Salvatours
Our trekking guides, William and Edwin, from El Salvatours

Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador Trail Preview

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 9.7km
  • Time: 5–6 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 535m
  • Difficulty: Moderate

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Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador Hike

After a bumpy ride in a 4×4, you’ll initially follow a wide and winding dirt road. Soon, you’ll reach a beautiful dense forest, typical of El Imposible National Park. A side trail then leads you down and into the forest! The well-defined trail is fairly overgrown in sections. So, hiking trousers are a good idea to avoid getting scratched!

Throughout the hike, William will call you over to show you interesting plant species. He knows the area like the back of his hand. He’s really a local expert on the local flora. He’ll even show you plants that have medicinal value.

Soon enough, you’ll reach the first of the hidden waterfalls. Here, you have two options. You can cliff jump into the waterfall, swim and walk to the next waterfall. Or, you can continue along a trail connecting to the next waterfall. Our entertaining Dutch mates, Guido and Remco, decided it was time to rock jump.

Beck and I decided we’d continue the trail on foot! After all, we are hiking die-hards.

Guido rock jumps into a waterfall in El Salvador

More Cliff Jumping

It’s more of the same at the next waterfall. William will advise you on how to safely cliff jump into the swimming hole below. Otherwise, it’s possible to continue hiking the trail. Afterwards, there are a series of serene and tranquil cascades. The trail continues along the cascading streams. So, you’re in a prime position to enjoy them and their surrounds. This is surely one of the most gorgeous places in El Imposible National Park. Better yet, it’s only seen very few tourists.

Guido performs rock jumping into a waterfall in El Salvador.

Cascada La Cueva

Both the first and second waterfall that you’re able to rock jump into, are at quite tame heights. But, once you reach Cascada La Cueva, your nerves will be tested more. Given the option of a steep scramble or a cliff jump, Beck and I decided it was time to trade the hiking boots for aqua shoes.

As you approach Cascada La Cueva, William will throw a rock into the swimming hole below. This signals where you should jump. It’s a nerve-racking experience and one that really gets the adrenaline pumping!

Beck rock jumps into Cascada La Cueva – an unknown waterfall in El Salvador.

After plunging into Cascada La Cueva, you’ll swim to the edge of the swimming hole. Sit back, relax and soak in this majestic waterfall. You’ll then walk around 20 metres inside the gorge, and reach a small rock. You’ll do a small jump into the water and swim to the opposite side. Around the corner, you’ll meet William and Edwin. Carrying all of the groups’ bags, they scramble up the cliff face and meet you on the other side. That’s dedication to the waterfall chasing cause!

It’s hard to imagine, but this trekking adventure gets even better. Another nice waterfall can be found a little further along the gorge. Surrounded by orange-covered rocks, this waterfall is set amongst a lush riverbed setting. It’s only a short set of falls. But, given the tranquil surroundings, it’s one of our favourites on the hidden waterfalls in El Salvador hike.

Cascada El Perol

The trail then bends and winds, following a series of small cascades. Around the corner, the most impressive waterfall is waiting for you. By far the highest waterfall, Cascada El Perol gently cascades down an uneven vertical cliff face.

Once you reach the top of Cascada El Perol, you have two options. You can either hike to the bottom via a forest trail. Or, you can hike and scramble down the side of the waterfall. We highly recommend you hike down the side of Cascada El Perol. That’s so you can enjoy this waterfall from different angles as you climb down.

It’s now time for the biggest cliff jump of them all! There are options to jump in at 6, 8 and 10 metres. Beck decided to sit this one out and play photographer. So, it was the boys turn to put on a show. Personally, I settled on the 8 metre rock jump. That was definitely enough for me! Being pleased to have gotten away with a clean pair of Budgy Smugglers after the adrenaline-inducing jump, we enjoyed a nice lunch next to Cascada El Perol.

William even mentioned that not many locals visit this waterfall. Aside from our group, during the hidden waterfalls in El Salvador hike, we didn’t see another soul from start to finish.

Forest Trekking

After seeing all of the waterfalls, you’ll finish the hiking loop by trekking back up through the forest. Expect to feel knackered as you battle the heat and upward hike. Especially, since you would have already spent a lot of energy forest trekking, cliff jumping and swimming. As you hike through the El Imposible National Park forest, you’ll pass by an area of bamboo.

The trail eventually exits onto a wide dirt road. You’ll then follow the winding and gradually ascending road back to the starting point of the hike. It’s not the most interesting part of the hidden waterfalls in El Salvador hike.

Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador Recap

To see the best waterfalls in El Salvador, you’ll have to visit the northern part of El Imposible National Park. Sure, there are better known and easier to reach waterfalls in El Salvador. But, the beauty of these hidden waterfalls, is that they’ve rarely been chased before. You’ll genuinely have one of the most adventurous experiences in El Salvador, exploring these lesser-known waterfalls.

Other Waterfalls in El Salvador

Other than these awesome hidden waterfalls in El Salvador, there are other epic falls throughout the country. For a relatively small nation, El Salvador has plenty in the way of brilliant waterfalls. So, after you’ve checked out the hidden falls in El Imposible National Park, it’s time to chase other waterfalls! Let’s look at the other best drops in El Salvador.

Beck stands and admires Salto de Malacatiupan.
Salto de Malacatiupan

Juayua Waterfalls

Not far from the hidden waterfalls in El Imposible National Park, Juayua is an area of many beautiful waterfalls. Let’s looks at some of the best Juayua waterfalls. Then, we’ll detail some other waterfalls around the country.

Seven Waterfalls (Siete Cascadas)

Not to be confused with the hidden waterfalls in El Imposible, the Seven Waterfalls Hike or Seven Waterfalls Tour is a popular activity in Juayua, located along the Ruta de Las Flores. Similar to the La Llorona hike, you’ll be rappelling up one of the waterfalls. This is an incredible experience!

To be expected, there are some cracking waterfalls along this trail in Juayua. The first waterfall is called La Toma and is the highest and most impressive. Our next favourite is the third waterfall, which reveals a rainbow at its base. It’s been aptly named Rainbow Falls!

Read more: Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador – Epic Trail on the Ruta de Las Flores

Los Chorros de La Calera

Los Chorros de la Calera is an outstanding waterfall in Juayua El Salvador, that’s located along the Ruta de Las Flores. It’s often included as part of the Seven Waterfalls Tour, as an additional waterfall to visit after the seven waterfalls. But, unfortunately, in early 2022, this waterfall is closed due to the pandemic.

Hopefully, by the time you visit, Los Chorros de la Calera has re-opened. That means you’ll see an eighth waterfall as part of your Seven Waterfalls Tour! Otherwise, to visit individually, it’s easy to reach this waterfall from Juayua. It’s only a half an hour’s walk from town. Or, if you want to save your energy to swim in the waterfall, it’s only a $2USD tuk-tuk ride from town.

Tamanique Waterfalls

Not far from San Salvador, the Tamanique waterfalls are some of the most popular in El Salvador. Similar to the hidden waterfalls in El Imposible, and the Seven Waterfalls hike, the Tamanique waterfalls are a group of falls. Made of four major waterfalls, the Tamanqiue Falls are seriously magnificent. Beck and I agreed that the Tamanique Waterfalls were one of our favourites in El Salvador.

Read more: Tamanique Waterfalls Hike – The Ultimate Guide

Cascada Los Tercios

Located in the lovely town of Suchitoto, Cascada Los Tercios is a superb waterfall in El Salvador. It’s a 40 metre-high waterfall that majestically rolls and drops over columnal volcanic rock structures spread across the vertical cliff wall. Better yet, you don’t need a guide to visit this waterfall! You’ll find the falls is only a 10–15 minute walk from town.

Unfortunately, when Beck and I visited El Salvador in early 2022, this waterfall had dried up during the dry season. So, we didn’t visit. To ensure Cascada Los Tercios is at its best, visit during the rainy season.

Cascadas de Don Juan

Located on the famous Ruta de Las Flores, and close to Juayua, Cascadas de Don Juan is another brilliant waterfall. In between Concepcion de Ataco and Apaneca, this waterfall is easily reached on a short trail from the main road. The hike should only take 5–10 minutes. Entrance to the waterfalls is around $3USD. Expect to see many butterflies, serene orchids and other tropical flowers during your visit.

Salto El Cubo

Salto El Cubo is another waterfall just outside the town of Suchitoto. Overshadowed by the more well known Cascada Los Tercios, Salto El Cubo doesn’t see anywhere near as many visitors. This is justified, however, as this waterfall commonly runs dry. And, even when the waterfall is at full capacity, it doesn’t look quite as impressive as many other waterfalls in El Salvador. Expect a roughly 30 minute walk to reach this waterfall from town. Unfortunately, we’ve heard the trail is quite littered.

Salto de Malacatiupan

Salto de Malacatiupan is one of the most extraordinary waterfalls in El Salvador. It’s about 1.5 hours north of Juayua, and only 30 minutes north of Ahuachapan. These thermal waterfalls are a genuine natural phenomenon. Swimming in the warm water of the falls is super relaxing. The force of the falls provides a brilliant massage as you soak in the heated base of the waterfall.

Cascada de La Golondrinera

There are so many great waterfalls located along the Ruta de Las Flores. In Nahuizalco, you’ll find a rarely explored waterfall called Cascada de La Golondrinera. Involving a 5–6 hour guided trek, this waterfall is hard to reach. So, if you decide to chase this waterfall, don’t expect to see many others on the trail. Part of the trail is through an epic gorge. This is a highlight on its own! Plus, after some heavy rain, this waterfall is mighty spectacular.

Cascada de La Golondrinera doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s definitely one of the most underrated waterfalls in El Salvador!

Salto El Perol

Also known as Turicentro El Perol, this 10-metre high waterfall certainly isn’t the highest in El Salvador. But, Salto El Perol has a serene forest backdrop and tranquil swimming hole. This makes your trip to this waterfall in El Salvador so worth it. Located in the Morazán department, you’ll find a nice forest trail to reach Salto El Perol.

Cascada El Escuco

Otherwise known as Salto El Escuco, this 80 metre high waterfall is located in Parque Aquatico El Escuco in Santo Domingo. Accessed via a short 500 metre trail, there’s such minimal effort to reach this glorious waterfall. During the rainy season, this waterfall is particularly meaty and powerful. The waterfall isn’t located too far from Sonsoate. So, it’s not too far off the beaten track to explore.

Cascadas Rio Huiza

Found near the coastal town of La Libertad in Huizucar, Cascadas Rio Huiza is one of the less visited waterfalls in El Salvador. Cascadas Rio Huiza is a short and compact set of falls. The swimming hole provides welcome relief to the usual hot weather around La Libertad. It’s uncommon to find waterfalls near the coast of El Salvador. So, if you’re sick of lazing on the beach, get your butt moving and visit this waterfall!

Hiking Essentials For Chasing Hidden Waterfalls in El Salvador

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Make sure to also pack swimming gear, 2L of water, snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat.

Bonus Travel Tips

  • Explore other areas of El Imposible National Park: Find out more about other hikes in El Imposible like the El Imposible National Park Loop and La Llorona.
  • Don’t skip El Salvador: If you’re travelling in or planning to travel around Central America, make sure to check out these hidden waterfalls in El Salvador #dontskipelsalvador
  • Don’t just chase waterfalls in El Salvador: make sure you also hike the best El Salvador volcanoes, including Santa Ana, Izalco, Conchagua, San Miguel and San Vicente.
hidden waterfalls in el salvador pinterest

Want to chase waterfalls in El Salvador? Share this post with your nature-loving mates! Or, read 20 Epic El Salvador Hiking Trails Not To Miss.

Daniel Piggott

Dan is a travel blogger, physiotherapist, hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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