Saturday, March 21, 2009

Guerrilla ecotourism

In the north of El Salvador, in the department of Chalatenango, attracting tourists to see sites of guerrilla struggle during El Salvador's civil war, is a way of preserving a forested environment. Raúl Gutiérrez describes the efforts in an article on IPS titled Guerrilla Ecotourism:

La Montañona, a forested mountain in northern El Salvador that reaches 1,800 metres above sea level, was a stronghold of the FMLN guerrillas during the country’s armed conflict. Today, its forests and stories of bombings and rebel hideouts have begun to draw ecotourism.

At the top of the mountain, the view is spectacular. A chain of volcanoes and mountains stretches towards the horizon, obliterating the border with neighbouring Honduras. The fresh mountain air makes it easier to forget the poor state of the road leading to La Montañona, in the department (province) of Chalatenango, around 100 km from the capital.

An ecotourism area was designed on 300 hectares of land on the mountain, with hiking trails, camp sites and tunnels to explore, by the Representative Committee of Beneficiaries of La Montañona (Corbelam), made up of 155 former guerrillas and local residents keen on "salvaging the collective memory." (more).

4 comments:

anonymous said...

!Que vivan las compas de Chalate!

Joe said...

I could see this becoming a tourism draw. I visited Guazapa mountain and got to see the history... found a couple spent bullet casings, saw old tunnels. The mix of history and ecology is appealing.

expatwizard said...

Rural Eco, Cultural and Historical Tourism

We are ARDM, The Association for the Reconstruction and Municipal
Development of Cinquera in Cabañas, El Salvador...At present, the
infrastructure includes the park, trails, uniformed guides and
restored historical monuments, to support low-impact sustainable
Eco-tourism benefiting the entire community while preserving the
ambience of the village with its important links to the Historical
Memory of the Armed Conflict 1970-1992. A hostel has been constructed
by the community to lodge overnight visitors and camping is available
at the entrance to Rain Forest trails. No crime nor petty theft exists
in the self sustaining community.

The Cultural Heritage of Cinquera has a strong link with the living
historical memory of many residents who were involved in the armed
conflict that lasted some 22 years in El Salvador from 1970 until the
Peace Accords of 16 January 1992 were signed, ending the armed
conflict. All of the inhabitants in Cinquera at that time were part of
the social bases of the guerrillas of the Popular Liberation Forces
(FPL), one of the most important forces that formed part of the Front
"Farabundo Martí National Liberation (FMLN).

During the war all the residents of Cinquera and the surroundings
fled, leaving the area around it deserted. Beginning in 1992, the
residents of Cinquera began to return, in order to rebuild and restore
their village. The vision of Cinquera's residents was to restore their
town and to preserve the delicate ecology of the surrounding forested
area. The natural preserve was developed with the assistance of
international relief organizations to preserve and protect the
delicate ecological balance, along with the historical monuments.

ARDM

Asociación de Reconstrucción y Desarrollo Municipal

Barrio El Centro, frente al Parque,

Cinquera, Departamento de Caba?as, El Salvador, C. A.

ARDM is a Non Profit Organization registered in El Salvador.

http://www.vivatravelguides.com/central-america/el-salvador/el-salvador-articles/welcome-to-cinquera

Web pages in English: http://www.geocities.com/welcome_to_elsalvador/

PS Soon under construction will be a Civil War Museum that will rival the existing one in Perquin, some 4 hours drive from San Salvador, by vehicle is but 66 km. from the capital city via Suchitoto, an hour and 15 minutes drive.

Those visiting El Salvador between mid May and late October bring rain gear, and if camping, hiking or trekking start early as the rains usually begin late afternoon or evening.

Yes as Joe says.. a mix of history and ecology.

Le esperamos.

Alex said...

El Salvador is a well kept secret when it comes to travel. The area has so much variety from quiet beaches, to small villages, to cloud forests and the Ruta de Flores. The vast array of flora and fauna make it a great destination for ecotourism

Alex
El Salvador Ecotourism