The Tamanique Waterfalls are located in the municipality of Tamanique in La Libertad, El Salvador. They’re some of the best falls in the country. Made up of four main falls, Tamanique Waterfalls are easily reached by doing a short hike. They’re popularly visited from El Tunco. So, we’ll make sure to cover the best El Tunco hotels and El Tunco hostels in this guide. But, Tamanique Waterfalls are also easily visited from San Salvador.
In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Tamanique Waterfalls in La Libertad, El Salvador. We’ll talk about each waterfall you’ll chase during the hike. Plus, we’ll talk about how to get there independently and the best group tours available (from both El Tunco and San Salvador). Whilst we’re at it, we’ll also tell you a little bit about the town of Tamanique, the best things to do in El Tunco and other great waterfalls in El Salvador.
We hope you find this guide useful. For other fantastic El Salvador hikes, check out our Santa Ana Volcano, Izalco Volcano and San Miguel Volcano guides. Or, read 20 Epic El Salvador Hiking Trails Not To Miss.
Table of Contents
Tamanique Waterfalls Hike in El Salvador Preview
- Type: Out & Back
- Distance: 2.7km
- Time: 2–3 hours
- Accumulated elevation gain: 220m
- Difficulty: Easy
- Trailhead: Tamanique Waterfalls Car Park
- Map: Wikiloc
Tamanique Waterfalls Hike
From the makeshift Tamanique Waterfalls Car Park, you’ll continue along the uneven road. Soon though, you’ll turn right to join the trail descending to the Tamanique Falls. The trail’s quite steep, weaving in and out of the forest. When Beck and I visited, it had been pouring just before we arrived. So, the trail was slippery and muddy in sections.
Eventually, you’ll reach the Tamaique Waterfalls ticket office. Here, you’ll pay a $2.50USD entrance fee. After passing the office to your left, you can turn left to get to the third and fourth waterfalls. Or, continue straight, heading further upstream, to get to the first two waterfalls. The third and fourth Tamanique Waterfalls are the best falls. So, we recommend heading there first.
Tamanique Waterfall #3
After passing the ticket office, you’ll follow a worn trail crossing a flat grassy area. The trail then briefly descends. You’ll see orange coloured numbers painted on trees. These provide directions to the Tamanique Waterfalls. Following these signs, you’ll turn right once you’ve descended. Not far away, you’ll catch a glimpse of the third waterfall.
You’ll follow a narrow rocky trail, with the support of tubing, to hike down to the third waterfall. With a little bit of scrambling, it’s even possible to get to the base of the waterfall. Beck and I really enjoyed the third waterfall. It’s possible to swim here, but not to rock jump. Visting this set of falls is a great way to start your waterfall chasing in Tamanique in La Libertad, El Salvador.
Tamanique Waterfall #4
Once you’ve enjoyed waterfall #3, it’s time to head to waterfall #4! You’ll retrace your steps until you reach a tree with the number ‘4’ and an arrow painted on it. Follow these directions and, soon enough, you’ll see some steps. There are two sets of steps to descend. They’re quite steep and can be slippery after rain. So, take your time!
After descending the steps, you’ll arrive at the river stream. But, you won’t be able to see any waterfalls. Continue to follow the river upstream to locate the fourth waterfall. This waterfall is the highest (50 metres) and most spectacular. It doesn’t pour and crash as powerfully as waterfall #3. But, its height gives it a certain magnitude that is hard to surpass.
Again, it’s possible to swim at this waterfall. But, it isn’t possible to rock or cliff jump. We were surprised not to see anyone at the third and fourth waterfalls, let alone swimming. In our opinion, these two Tamanique waterfalls were our favourite. So, it’s a bit of a mystery why all visitors were exclusively swimming at waterfalls #1 and #2. It’s probably because it’s possible to rock jump into these two other waterfalls.
Anyway, at the fourth waterfall, there are other smaller cascades to explore. Make sure to cross the river to check these out before continuing the hike.
Tamanique Waterfall #1
Basically, you’ll need to head back near the ticket office to join a different trail that heads to the remaining two waterfalls. It’s a very short and easy hike to reach the first waterfall. It’s the smallest of the Tamanique Waterfalls. But, it has a really cool swimming hole. This is where you’ll find most people swim.
Admittedly, there were quite a few people around these falls. But, being the smallest of the bunch, waterfall #1 was the least impressive. But, if you’re into rock jumping, you might think otherwise. Rock jumping into the first waterfall is only at a height of around 2–3 metres. So, it’s a good warmup before the bigger rock jump at the second waterfall.
Tamanique Waterfall #2
A little further downstream, you’ll find the second waterfall. It’s much taller than waterfall #1. But, it’s not as high as waterfalls #3 and #4. Still, though, Beck and I enjoyed exploring the second waterfall. You can’t walk to the base of it. Instead, you can walk around the cliff’s edge to get a better view of this waterfall.
To get to the base of the falls, you’d have to rock jump. At around 8 metres high, this rock jump is much more daring and will really get your adrenaline pumping. This is about the height of the rock jumping possible at Cascada El Perol during the Hidden Waterfalls Hike in El Imposible National Park. But, it’s possible to do rock jumping from a higher height during the Hidden Waterfalls Hike.
Anyway, once you’ve finished exploring this area of Tamanique Waterfalls, it’s time to retrace your steps to finish the hike. The climb back out is short. But, it can be tough due to the heat.
Tamanique Waterfalls Hike Recap
The Tamanique Waterfalls in La Libertad, El Salvador are some of the best falls you can visit in Central America. Reaching them only involves a short hike that is really straightforward and easy to organise, whether that be independently or with a tour group. Let’s explore these options below. We’ll also look into some El Tunco hotels and hostels if you plan to visit Tamanique Waterfalls from there.
Getting to El Tunco
It’s common to visit Tamanique Waterfalls from El Tunco. We’ll cover your options on how to get to El Tunco using buses below.
Getting From San Salvador to El Tunco
Take the #102 chicken bus from Terminal de Occidente to La Libertad, AKA Surf City. The journey takes around 1.5 hours and costs no more than $1USD. Alternatively, you can take the air-conditioned #102A bus for around $2USD. At La Libertad, jump on the #80 or #192 chicken bus to El Tunco. Journey time is around 20–30 minutes. Costs shouldn’t be more than $0.50USD.
FYI – the easiest and quickest way to get to El Tunco from San Salvador is by using Uber. The ride should cost around $30USD.
Getting From Santa Ana to El Tunco
Head to San Salvador initially by taking a red TUDO bus from the Metrocentro. The drive is around 1.5–2 hours. Price is around $1.50USD. Tell the driver to drop you off at Estación Ceiba de Guadalupe. From here, cross the highway using the overhead walkway. You’ll then wait for the #102A microbus going to El Sunzal via La Libertad and El Tunco. This bus shouldn’t cost more than $1USD.
Getting From Juayua (Ruta de Las Flores) to El Tunco
From Juayua, grab the #249 chicken bus to Sonsonate, which departs every 15 minutes. The journey takes around 45 minutes and costs roughly $0.50USD. You’ll then take the #287 bus, which goes to El Tunco via La Libertad. Annoyingly, there are only two buses doing this route, departing at 5:30am and 3:30pm. So, make sure you’re waiting on the highway 15 minutes in advance. You don’t want to be left stranded!
Visiting Tamanique Waterfalls Independently
It’s fairly easy to get to Tamanique in La Libertad, El Salvador independently. From the main highway in El Tunco, catch the #187 chicken bus to Tamanique. The service runs hourly and costs around $0.50USD. The journey time is roughly 30 minutes.
From there, most tourists will find a local guide in town. They charge anywhere between $5–10USD per group for a guided tour, which takes around 3 hours. This is a great way to support the local community. But, if you’re on a tight budget, a guide isn’t compulsory or necessary. Finding Tamanique Waterfalls is fairly straightforward from the town of Tamanique. Simply use Maps.me to find your way.
To return to El Tunco, do the above journey in reverse.
Tamanique Waterfalls Group Tour
From El Tunco, the most well-known tour operator is Tunco Life. They offer the tour for $35USD per person. This includes roundtrip transportation from your hostel or hotel in El Tunco and a guide.
But, it’s also possible to do a group tour from San Salvador, that’s even cheaper! Club de Mochileros organise cheap tours around El Salvador, including Tamaniqe Waterfalls. Their group tours are cheaper because they charge per group, instead of per person.
A Tamanique Falls tour with Club de Mochileros is $60USD per group. So, with a group of six, it’s only $10USD each! Plus, you’ll pay the $2.50USD entrance fee and approx $2–3USD for a local guide.
Tamanique La Libertad El Salvador
Tamanique is a municipality located in the La Libertad department of El Salvador. The town is positioned 635 metres above sea level and surrounded by hills. So, you’ll enjoy some relief from the heat in Tamanique compared with El Tunco.
It’s a small town with a population of approx. 5,000 people. It’s obviously best known for the incredible Tamanique Waterfalls. But, it’s also a producer of corn, coffee and avocado.
Fun fact: Tamanique means ‘The Taken Land‘
Things To Do in El Sunzal El Salvador (El Tunco)
Whilst you’re in El Tunco, there are many other things to do after you’ve chased the Tamanique Waterfalls. Take a surf lesson, do a yoga class, catch sunset at the beach, visit Cadejo Brewing Company and enjoy the nightlife. El Tunco is also a great base for exploring Peñon de Comasagua.
El Tunco Hotels
We’ve done the hard work for you and handpicked the most highly rated El Tunco hotels in El Salvador. These two hotels in El Tunco are perfect for those looking for an excellent mid-range hotel stay in La Libertad in El Salvador.
Hotel El Tunco Lodge
Hotel El Tunco Lodge has a brilliant location right on the beach. The hotel itself is spacious with lots of room to chill out. Surrounded by tropical trees, the hotel has a great natural vibe. Plus, the hotel features an epic outdoor pool and staff are really friendly. Also, we’ve heard the breakfast is particularly good.
Hotel & Bar La Guitarra
Hotel & Bar La Guitarra is another El Tunco hotel with a fantastic location on the beach. You’re also positioned in a great area to explore the town of El Tunco. Rooms are spacious and comfortable. Plus, the owner is kind and helpful. Despite having a bar, the hotel has a relaxed and quiet atmosphere. Expect some chilled music at night.
El Tunco Hostels
We’ve made sure to include some El Tunco hostels if you’re looking to stay in a more budget-friendly dorm room. Both these two hostels in El Tunco listed below are highly rated.
Papaya Lodge is a great hostel in El Tunco with a fabulous location near the beach. The pool is small, but always clean and never too busy. We’ve heard the Wifi is amazing and general facilities are outstanding. So, you can’t go wrong with this El Tunco hostel option.
Located near the beach, Sunzalito Hotel has dorm rooms well positioned for exploring the coastline. But, if you want to walk even less for a swim, it has a great pool on-site. The staff are really welcoming and rooms are spacious with top-notch facilities. Sunzalito Hotel is easily one of the best El Tunco hotel options.
Other Waterfalls in El Salvador
- Salto de Malacatiupan: one of the most amazing waterfalls in Central America. That’s because it’s a thermal waterfall! Make sure to soak in the heated waters at the base of the falls.
- Seven Waterfalls Tour: this is a fantastic hiking ad rappelling adventure in Juayua along the Ruta de Las Flores. You’ll see no less than seven waterfalls and even scramble up the fourth one!
- Hidden Waterfalls Hike: tucked away in a less-explored area of El Imposible National Park, you’ll find a series of secret waterfalls.
Five Hiking Essentials
- 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 swimmers, 2L of water, snacks, sunglasses, suncreen and a hat.
For a more extensive 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, check out our Ultimate Packing Checklist.
- Don’t skip El Salvador: many tourists miss El Salvador during their Central America trip. Make sure you don’t make this mistake #dontskipelsalvador
- Use trekking poles: the Tamanique Waterfalls hike is short. But, it’s fairly steep. Trekking poles will help reduce the load on your knees.
- Tamanique Falls is usually a half-day trip: this leaves you plenty of time to relax and chill out in the afternoon, whether you’re based in San Salvador or El Tunco.
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