Iglesia El Rosario's interior is a colorful celebration.

© Luis Siguenza/Lonely Planet

Iglesia El Rosario

Top choice in San Salvador

Designed by sculptor Ruben Martinez and completed in 1971, Iglesia El Rosario is radically beautiful. Arguably the finest church in Central America, its nondescript concrete exterior conceals an arched roof and a rainbow of natural light rushing across the altar and bouncing off the metal and rock. The father of Central American independence, Padre Delgado, is buried here – quite happily, we imagine.

Try to visit early in the morning or in the late afternoon when the light has the most dramatic effect.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Salvador attractions

1. Teatro Nacional

0.15 MILES

This aging beauty still hosts major productions in the capital. Inaugurated in 1917, the theater was renovated in French classical style in the mid-20th…

2. Catedral Metropolitana

0.18 MILES

Facing the revamped Plaza Barrios, the cathedral is the most significant landmark in the city and the resting place of Archbishop Óscar A Romero. In the…

3. Palacio Nacional

0.21 MILES

Built in the early 20th century of Italian marble, the Palacio Nacional was the government headquarters until 1974. A few of the rooms now preserve…

4. Iglesia El Calvario

0.36 MILES

Surrounded by street vendors, the Gothic towers of the Iglesia El Calvario are worth a peek. Walk inside to experience its real beauty.

5. Museo de la Palabra y La Imagen

1.38 MILES

This innovative museum examines the history of El Salvador's civil war (1981–1992), beginning with the long-term context of the 1920s struggle for…

6. Hospital La Divina Providencia


Monseñor Romero was assassinated by government agents while giving Mass in the chapel here on March 24, 1980. You can tour his modest quarters, where his…

7. Centro Monseñor Romero

3.39 MILES

At Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas (La UCA), the Centro Monseñor Romero pays homage to the martyred Archbishop Oscar Romero. Highly…