The rugged northeastern Morazán Department is a predominantly poor farming region that is generating a quiet buzz for its sustainable, community-based nature and war tourism. The museum in Perquín and a memorial in El Mozote are powerful displays of reconciliation and remembrance. The cool climate attracts an increasing number of city-slicker nationals, as does the country’s cleanest river, the Río Sapo, and the countless hikes to waterfalls and war hideouts.
Indigenous traditions survive in villages around San Francisco Gotera, the department capital. The village of Cacaopera (bus 337 from San Francisco Gotera) has a small ethnographic museum with photo exhibits and artifacts from the local Kakawira indigenous community. Miguel Ayala of the museum is a good contact. Through the museum you can also arrange guided hikes in the dry season (December to April) to pre-Columbian petroglyphs (US$15 per group). The museum maintains a rustic hostel, without electricity or running water. You can bathe in the nearby Río Torola and cook on the wood-burning stove. Sure, it’s roughing it, but the experience is undoubtedly unique.
The community at Guatajiagua produces quality black pottery in the Lenca tradition. Visit craft shop Cedart or ask the clerk to point you in the direction of local artist workshops.