Santa Tecla is the second largest city in El Salvador.
Downtown Santa Tecla preserves the antique architectural style found only in towns such as Juayua or Suchitoto, with the convenience of being located in the city. While El Salvador is considered by many to be unsafe, Santa Tecla is usually patrolled by the metropolitan guards, and by the police.
Car is the easiest way to get in, as major roads, such as Monseñor Romero blvd. or the Panamerican highway, lead directly into the city.
Monseñor Romero blvd. exit to Santa Tecla leads to the 7a Avenida Norte, which can be driven through to get to the centre of the city.
Bus routes are available all over town, with connections to neighbouring cities and towns.
Walking is the easiest way to get around once inside Santa Tecla. Places such as Paseo el Carmen, during the weekend nights, are closed off to cars for the pedestrians to take over.
If walking through down town Santa Tecla, common sense and precautions are needed, such as not flashing valuable objects or electronics around just to be on the safe side.
- Plaza Merliot: one of the first shopping centres in the entire country. A food court is available for those wanting burgers and such, as well as having places with home-made-type meals available, such as La Movida in the food court, and Maquilishuat, a diner/cafeteria type of place that serves typical food as well.
- Paseo el Carmen: the major tourist attraction in Santa Tecla. It is a street that is dedicated to bars, restaurants and cafés. Named after El Carmen church located on the same street, it is the night-life spotlight of the city. Family-friendly places are also available for those travelling with children, such as Casa de la MYPYME, a restaurant on a connecting street; and various street vendors that become available on the weekends. Fear not, for this food is hygienic and safe to eat, although street food is not recommended to those with a weak stomach.
Paseo el Carmen is also home to one of the few vegetarian restaurants in the country, with Yemaya, a restaurant that describes itself as "a charming space embracing the spirit and balance of nature through healing food, art and culture".
- Museo Tecleño: A museum built upon what used to be a jail. By the late 1970s and the early 80s, this place had become El Salvador's first political jail, which was shut down by 1983. It is now a museum, which also holds one of the best coffee shops in town.
- Street vendors On the weekends, to the west from El Carmen church, there are many street vendors that set up their stands, especially in the evenings and late in the afternoon. It's a really fun atmosphere, with tables set up on one side of the street, and the vendors with their stands sitting on the opposite side.
- Pupuserias For those wanting to try the authentic Salvadoran pupusas, there are a few pupuserias (pupusa shops) scattered around the place. A tasty and affordable (each pupusa is about 50 cents) one is located south from the Museum, on 7a Avenida Norte. Cheese and/or bean pupusas should be preferred over chicharron (pork) if you fear getting food poisoning. The aforementioned pupuseria has a very convenient hand sanitizer right next to the cash register.
- 1 Yemaya, Av. Manuel Gallardo #2-8 (a un costado de Iglesia El Carmen. una cuadra abajo de Escuela de Monica Herrera.), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Dietetic and tasty food. Also specialized in wine. $4-12 meals.
Paseo El Carmen is home to several bars that could interest thirsty travellers. El Quijote is one the busiest and most popular bars on the street. Thekla is pub-themed... pub with an Irish twist to the decor. Strumers is an alt-bar located inside the vegetarian restaurante Yemaya. This place has live music on the weekends, as well as art exhibitions up for sale by independent artists. Quite interestingly, this place also has home-brewed beer, one of the few places in El Salvador that sell them.
- 1 La Casa de Izel, Av. Dr. Manuel Gallardo #3-2B (One block north from Paseo el Carmen, at El Carmen church level), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Nice and simple hotel, well located in central Santa Tecla. Clean and carefully maintained. Kind and helpful people. Has private rooms and dorms. Features hot water, free wifi, rooftop terrace, laundry service ($4.5), daily smiles. No AC (but unnecessary). from $12 to $45.