The Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador is a thrilling trek that involves rappelling up one of the waterfalls! Commonly known as the Seven Waterfalls Tour in Juayua El Salvador, it’s one of the most popular adventures along the beautiful Ruta de Las Flores. Indeed, this hike is one of the best things to do in El Salvador. There are also other great waterfalls to explore in and around Juayua, including Los Chorros de la Calera, Salto de Malacatiupan and waterfalls in El Imposible National Park. We’ll make sure to cover some information on these other waterfalls in this guide.
But, first thing’s first, we’re going to comprehensively talk about the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador. To kick off this guide, we’ll provide a detailed description of the hike, including a run-down of all seven waterfalls. We’ll also recommend a local guide, discuss how to get there, show off some awesome action photos and even cover some bonus travel tips.
We hope you find this guide useful. For other fantastic El Salvador waterfall hikes, check out our guide on Tamanique Falls and the Hidden Waterfalls Hike. Or, read our awesome 20 Epic El Salvador Hiking Trails Not To Miss.
Table of Contents
Seven Waterfalls Hike El Salvador: Trail Preview
- Type: Loop
- Distance: 4.6km
- Time: 2.5–4 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 205m
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Trailhead: Seven Waterfalls Hike Trailhead
- Map: Wikiloc
Seven Waterfalls Hike El Salvador
As you approach the trailhead, you’ll see Santa Ana Volcano, Izalco Volcano and Cerro Verde in the distance. Once you arrive, you’ll notice coffee plantations by your side as you follow a dirt road towards a dry forest. The trail immediately descends and winds its way through the trees. Soon enough, you’ll have your first glimpse of the waterfalls, from a viewpoint just off the main trail. Better yet, a little further along, you’ll arrive on a flat section with views of more of the waterfalls.
From here, the trail becomes steeper with some slippery and narrow sections. You’ll then arrive at your first river crossing. Once you’ve skipped along a few rocks and headed further along the stream, you’ll arrive at the first waterfall.
Waterfall One: La Toma
The first waterfall on the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador is possibly the best one. At 70 metres high, La Toma is the highest waterfall during the hike. It wasn’t the most powerful of waterfalls, but given its height, it was quite impressive. If you’ve arrived mid-morning, you’re in for a real treat. Sun rays squeezing through gaps in the dense forest parade around the waterfall creating a tranquil atmosphere.
We were told by our guide, that La Toma provides water for 11 communities in Juayua situated on the Ruta de Las Flores. So, we’re sure this waterfall is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike. Make sure to skip along some rocks to get close to being underneath the waterfall. It’s an amazing feeling to feel the spray of the falls.
Waterfall Two: Cascada Seca
The second waterfall along the Seven Waterfalls Hike is Cascada Seca, which translates to a dry waterfall. Owing to a nearby coffee factory, the water from this set of falls runs fairly dry most of the time. To be expected, this waterfall was possibly the least impressive during the hike. It particularly paled in comparison to La Toma. So, no need to stay at this waterfall for too long.
Waterfall Three: Cascada Arcoiris
After being disappointed by Cascada Seca, the next waterfall had us feeling jovial again. Cascada Arcoiris translates to Rainbow Falls. That’s because, as you approach the falls, you can see a rainbow at the base of it. The cascades here gently pour over a wide vertical rock, creating a bridal veil type of falls. If you’re running low on water, and you’re feeling brave, you can fill your bottle up here. We were told the water is 98% pure, so that’s pretty good odds for clean water.
Given the rainbow at the base of the falls, this was definitely one of the most beautiful waterfalls along the Seven Waterfalls Hike in Juayua.
Waterfall Four: Cascada Escalata
After negotiating more river crossings and slippery trails, you’ll arrive at Cascada Escalata. This is when the Seven Waterfalls Hike goes to the next level! This is the waterfall that involves rappelling to the top. To be expected, you’ll get absolutely soaked during the rappel. But, it’s oh so worth it.
Beck and I had never rappelled up a waterfall before. So, this was an incredible experience. Make sure you have some waterproof gear so your bag doesn’t get drenched!
Waterfall Five: Cascada Noventa Ocho
Once you’ve climbed up the waterfall, the fifth waterfall awaits you. You’ll still be buzzing from the adrenaline rush of climbing up the waterfall. But, there’s something very serene, tranquil and chilled about this hidden waterfall. At the top of Cascada Escalata, the fifth waterfall is just metres to your right.
Be careful as you reach the edge of the cliff; but, it is necessary to approach it in order to see the waterfall. This waterfall was one of our favourites, so make sure to check it out. It could be easily missed if simply continuing the trail after rappelling Cascada Escalata.
Waterfall Six: Borbollan
The penultimate waterfall is another beaut! Borbollan isn’t a high waterfall. Instead, it’s a waterfall that majestically stretches over a few sets of falls. At this point of the hike, you’ll feel completely immersed in the forest. Even though, you’re nearing the end of the hike and are quite close to towns on the outskirts of Juayua.
Waterfall Seven: Cascalita
Cascalita is the name of the final waterfall, which translates to little waterfall. Indeed, the last waterfall definitely isn’t the most spectacular. But, at this stage, you would have seen a tonne of outstanding waterfalls. So, never mind the mini cascades.
In fact, Cascalita isn’t the final highlight along the Seven Waterfalls Hike. Next to Cascalita is Baños de Barro, which translates to shower with Earth. This is where you can cover your face in the brown paste formed from the wet rocks. This sludge has minerals that are very good for your skin. Beck jumped straight in to moisturise and exfoliate with nature’s skin cream!
From here, you have a short walk to a small picnic area. Many of the tour groups will have lunch here. But, it’s best to continue a little further to the base of one of the water stations. Here, you can wash the dry brown paste off. Your skin will be as smooth as a baby’s behind. Plus, you’ll find delicious passionfruit here, so that’s perfect if you’re feeling peckish.
You’ll then finish the hike by retracing your steps back towards the coffee plantations.
Seven Waterfalls Hike El Salvador Recap
As you explore the Ruta de Las Flores in El Salvador, you will 100% need to do the Seven Waterfalls hike. There are many national parks, volcanoes and waterfall trails to check out in El Salvador. But, the Seven Waterfalls Tour in Juayua remains one of our favourite trails in El Salvador.
So, now you’ve heard all about this great trekking adventure, it’s time to cover some more logistical details. You can also read about other great Juayua waterfalls in El Salvador such as Los Chorros de la Calera and other cascades closeby.
Booking a Seven Waterfalls Tour
By far the easiest way to do the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador is from Juayua along the Ruta de Las Flores. Just to clarify, it’s not possible to do the Seven Waterfalls Hike independently. That’s because you’ll require equipment for rappelling. It’s definitely not recommended or considered to do the hike without a local guide.
By staying in Juayua, it’s simple to book a Seven Waterfalls Tour. Generally, you’ll be able to book the Seven Waterfalls Tour through your hotel or hostel in Juayua. For instance, it’s possible to book a tour directly through Hotel Juayua. Pre-pandemic, tour prices were around $20USD. Post-pandemic, prices are around $25USD.
Of course, you can cut out the middle man and book directly with Elizabeth Hernández from Gaviotita Tours Adventura. She’s a fantastic local guide in Juayua, offering the Seven Waterfalls Tour. Better yet, if you book directly with her, she charges only $20USD. To book a tour with Elizabeth, you can contact her on Whatsapp (+503 6113 7277). She doesn’t have an office address. But, she’ll arrange a convenient meeting place in town. For more information, you can also check out her Facebook and Instagram.
Other Seven Waterfalls Tour Options
If you’re not staying in Juayua, it’s still possible to do the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador. Santa Ana is a popular location for backpackers given the Santa Ana Volcano hike. Companies such as Go Travel El Salvador offer the Seven Waterfalls tour from Santa Ana.
This tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off. But, the tour is expensive, unless you’re with a group. For 1 person, it’s $90USD! But, for two, three and four people, it’s $50, $40 and $35USD per person, respectively. Keep in mind, you’re really only paying for transportation. That’s because the cost of the guide isn’t included. Generally, you’d then have to divide the costs of the local guide ($20USD). In a group of four, that would only be $5USD each.
Luckily, if you’re staying along the Ruta de Las Flores, guides and companies based in Juayua can organise transportation for you. This usually comes in the form of a tuk-tuk roundtrip. In fact, Elizabeth Hernández offers this service. So, if you’re staying close to Juayua, in Salcoatitan, Ataco or Ahuachapan, she’ll organise pick-up and drop-off from your accommodation as part of the tour. For this additional service, the price of the tour is $45USD.
How to Get to Juayua for the Seven Waterfalls Hike
To get to Juayua, you can get a chicken bus directly from Santa Ana, Ahuachapan and Sonsonote.
- Santa Ana: catch the #238 bus from the main bus terminal. It’s called Terminal de buses Franciso Lara Pineda. The journey time is 1.5 hours. In early 2022, the cost is around or less than $1USD. Timetables can change frequently, but they generally depart at 5:40am, 6:40am and 9:50am.
- Ahuachapan: take the #249 bus south from the main intersection where the Ruta de las Flores heads south out of town. The journey takes around 1 hour and shouldn’t cost more than $1USD. Timetables are difficult to find, but the route is fairly regular in the morning.
- Sonsonote: take the #249 bus north from the main bus station. It’s called Terminal de Buses de Sonsonate. Similar to the journey to Juayua from Ahuachapan, the journey time is around an hour and shouldn’t cost more than $1USD. Again, it’s tricky to find a timetable, but there should be a few buses heading from Sonsonote to Juayua in the morning.
From La Libertad and surrounding coastal areas, you can take the #287 bus to Sonsonate. Whilst from San Salvador, you can take the #205 bus to Sonsonate or the #249 bus to Ahuachapan.
Accommodation in Juayua
The Seven Waterfalls Hike is much easier, simpler and cheaper to do from Juayua. So, where should you stay? We’ve handpicked these three options, covering hostels and hotels, to suit your budget.
One of the most highly-rated hotels in Juayua is the aptly named Hotel Juayua. This hotel has a bar, garden, BBQ area and decent WiFi. From Hotel Juayua, you’ll have smashing views of the volcanoes surrounding Santa Ana. For the budget backpackers, there is an option of a dorm room. Better yet, the friendly staff at Hotel Juayua offer the Seven Waterfalls Tour for $25 per person.
Hostal Doña Mercedes
A well known and popular hostel in Juayua is Hostal Doña Mercedes. Here, you’ll find a nice garden and terrace, as well as a shared kitchen, lounge and Wi-Fi throughout the property. Thankfully, breakfast is also included. Plus, it’s possible to book your Seven Waterfalls Hike here.
Vista Los Volcanes Hotel
Vista Los Volcanes Hotel is another highly rated hotel in Juayua. It offers possibly the best views of Izalco, Santa Ana and Cerro Verde volcanoes. The rooms are spacious and clean. We hear the breakfast is delicious and the staff are super helpful. Like most hotels in Juayua, they’ll be able to help you plan your Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador.
Other Waterfalls on the Ruta de Las Flores or Closeby
Along the Ruta de Las Flores, there are other amazing waterfalls in and around Juayua El Salvador such as Los Chorros de la Calera and Salto de Malacatiupan. Find out a bit more information about these waterfalls and others in El Imposible National Park below.
Los Chorros de la Calera
Los Chorros de la Calera is a phenomenal waterfall in Juayua El Salvador, that’s located along the Ruta de Las Flores. It’s often included as part of the Seven Waterfalls Hike, as an extra waterfall to visit after the seven waterfalls. Unfortunately, in early 2022, this waterfall is closed due to the pandemic.
Hopefully, when 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 separately, it’s really easy to reach from Juayua. It only takes half-hour to walk there from town. Or, if you want to save your energy to swim in the waterfall, it’s only a $2USD tuk-tuk ride from the centre of Juayua. No guide is needed for this waterfall hike.
Salto de Malacatiupan
About 1.5 hours north of Juayua, and only half an hour north of Ahuachapan, is one of the most extraordinary waterfalls in El Salvador. Although not technically on the Ruta de las Flores, Salto de Malacatiupan is a waterfall that you must visit.
These thermal waterfalls are a genuine natural wonder. 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 swimming hole.
El Imposible National Park Waterfalls
Close to Juayua, El Imposible National Park is home to many awesome waterfalls. Best visited from Concepcion de Ataco, there is the mesmerising Cascada El Perol, among many other brilliant waterfalls in that area. On the other side of the national park, best visited from Cara Sucia, there is a beautiful set of cascades around Piedra Sellada and Los Enganches.
Five Hiking Essentials for the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador
- Merrell Moab Mid Gore-Tex Hiking Boots: these hiking boots are super comfortable and lightweight.
- The North Face Venture Jacket: a fantastic windproof/waterproof jacket.
- Osprey Skarab 30L Day Backpack: a great backpack for hiking, which has plenty of space to store your gear.
- The North Face TKA Glacier Fleece Jacket: an excellent warmth:weight ratio fleece jacket that’ll help keep you warm.
- Columbia Convertible Trousers: a value for money pair of water-resistant convertible trousers.
Make sure to also pack 2L of water, snacks, sunglasses, suncreen and a hat.
For a more comprehensive hiking gear list, check out our 66 Travel Accessories That You Must Travel With. Otherwise, for a general summary of everything you’d need for a trip, visit our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
Bonus Tips for the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador
- Don’t skip El Salvador: many backpackers miss El Salvador during their Central America travels. Make sure to explore El Salvador and all its amazing hikes #dontskipelsalvador
- Best time of year to do the Seven Waterfalls Hike: Given you’ll be soaked from rappelling the fourth waterfall, we suppose hiking in the rainy season isn’t so much of a problem! But, the trails are slipperier and more dangerous when wet. So, it’s still best to try and do the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador during the dry season (November to May).
- There are many other waterfalls in El Salvador: Don’t forget about the epic Tamanique Waterfalls and Cascada El Perol found during the Hidden Waterfalls Hike.
Are you keen on the Seven Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador? Make sure to share this blog post with your other Central America backpacking buddies.