Carretera a El Salvador
From Boulevard Vista Hermosa, the road winds out of Guatemala City and up a mountainside heading southeast, eventually making its way to neighboring El Salvador.The first 35 kilometers or so of this Carretera a El Salvador are Guatemala City’s suburb extraordinaire.
After climbing up the mountains to the east of Guatemala City, the road eventually traverses a plateau, providing the perfect topographic conditions for the establishment of a virtual satellite city. The area around Carretera a El Salvador is also prime agricultural farmland. You’ll find countless subdivisions springing up all over this fast-growing area, giving it all the feel of a U.S. suburb.
The plateau lies at an altitude of about 2,135 meters (7,000 feet), so it’s a bit cooler than Guatemala City and it also receives more rainfall during the rainy season. Those familiar with San José, Costa Rica, might find this area very similar to the Escazú suburbs near that city.
Although it’s very much a residential area, you may find yourself here visiting friends or staying at one of the hotels in this neck of the woods. Catering to the ever-increasing numbers of Guatemala City residents fleeing to the surrounding suburbs, the area has at least one sizable shopping mall in Pradera Concepción, which adjoins the Condado Concepción shopping district.
Between them, they boast a number of restaurants, PriceSmart warehouse shopping, Wal-Mart, Sears, banks, car dealerships, and even an IMAX movie theater. The selection of goods in local supermarkets is more upscale (with prices to match), so a lot of folks looking for favorite import items do their shopping up here.
This area is also home to two of Guatemala’s most upscale golf courses and one of the city’s finest hotels.
© Al Argueta from Moon Guatemala, 3rd Edition. Photos © Al Argueta www.alargueta.com