Info Santa Ana


Santa Ana is the second largest city in El Salvador, located 64 kilometers northwest of San Salvador, the capital city. Santa Ana has approximately 274,830 (2006) inhabitants and serves both as the capital of the department of Santa Ana and as the municipal seat for the surrounding municipality of the same name. For its administration the municipality is divided into 35 colonias (neighborhoods) and 318 small villages.

A major processing center for El Salvador's sizable coffee bean industry is located near Santa Ana.

Santa Ana, which is the second city in importance in El Salvador, has become a very popular tourist destination, especially for tourists eager to learn about Salvadoran culture and traditions.

Currently, the mayor of Santa Ana is Mario Moreira, from the ARENA(Nationalist Republican Alliance ), a right-wing political party.

POPULATION : • City 245,421
• Urban 280,000
• Metro 290,000
FOUNDED :    1569
LANGUAGE :  Spanish
RELIGION : Roman Catholic 57.1%, Protestant 21.2%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.9%, Mormon 0.7%, other religions 2.3%, none 16.8%
AREA :  400.01 km2 (157.5 sq mi)
ELEVATION :  665 m (2,182 ft)
COORDINATES :  13°59′N 089°32′W
SEX RATIO :  Male: 47.4%
 Female: 52.6%
ETHNIC :  mestizo 90%, white 9%, Amerindian 1%


Santa Ana is the second largest city of El Salvador and a very important one in terms of agriculture and coffee production (coffee plantations - called fincas - cover much of the land outside town and up the hills). Its historic center offers some of the best preserved architecture in El Salvador, including the Cathedral of Santa Ana, a marvel of neo-gothic architecture, the Teatro de Santa Ana, a beautifully decorated theatre of the early 1900's; and the Palacio Municipal, in front of the main plaza with giant palm trees shooting out from its courtyard.

Citizens of Santa Ana call themself Santanecos. Every year in July they celebrate the 2 weeks Fiestas Julias (July festival), one of the biggest in El Salvador, in honor of Señora Santa Ana, the city's patron. Activities end on the 26th with a large procession. Don't miss the amusement park at the antiguo campo de aviación (just south of the stadion)! At the end of the year, Christmas (Dec 24) and New Year's Eve (Dec 31) are celebreted with tons of firework and firecrackers, and Parque Colon turns into to a big firework selling spot. Be very careful as firecrackers are powerful and accidents happen frequently.

Most visitors of course come to see the Cathedral and the Theatre, but Santa Ana has more to offer. According to La Secretaria de Cultura, its historic center (roughly within the limits of 4a Calle, 7a Ave, 9a Calle, Ave Jose Matias Delgado) counts 210 buildings in neoclassical style, 5 gotic, 64 neocolonial and 102 in traditional style. The most intact ensemble of colonial houses can be found east of Parque Libertad, although most houses are privately owned and therefore inaccessible. For a self guided tour follow Calle Libertad eastbound and discover the north & south leading Avenidas (1a, 3a, 5a, 7a, 9a).


Pre-Columbian era

The city of Santa Ana has a pre-Columbian origin. There is evidence of Preclassic settlements in the area of the city, mainly in the archaeological site of Villa Rosita, where the dominant centre was located in the area. This and other settlements were depopulated by the eruption of Lake Ilopango at 250 DC.

The city was founded by the Maya Pocomanes in the classical period. The first name of the settlement is unknown, however, it is known that when the Pipil entered and conquered the area in 1200 during the post-classic period, translated the original Nahuatl name, which was Sihuatehuacán, which means place of priestesses. Sihuatehuacán was located in what is now the suburb of Santa Barbara near the rivers Apanchacal and Apanteos.

Conquest and colonization

The town was conquered by the Spanish between 1530 and 1540. On July 26, 1569 the Guatemalan Bishop Bernardino Villalpando Sihuatehuacán renamed the Santa Ana, La Grande. In the year 1532 was given to Diego de Usagre and from 1540-1786 served on the Mayor of San Salvador . In 1550 he was entrusted to Antonio Docampo. San Salvador, the city of Santa Ana, and the western and central part of the current Salvadoran territory (except St. Vincent and the paracentral area) was administered by the mayor of the department of San Salvador. Since 1770 the central parish of the city (located where the cathedral was built later) was the head of the parish of Santa Ana. From the year 1786-1824 was the capitol of the Santa Ana district, which was part of the Municipality San Salvador (Intendencia de San Salvador).

19th century

In 1806 was established the council of the town of Santa Ana, being its first mayor José Mariano Castro. Five years later, there were two uprisings in the town as part of the uprising in San Salvador, the first on November 17 another on 24 June 1812. In November it was designated with the title of town.

On December 21, 1821 the council declared the independence from Spain. In 1824, it received the title of city, being part of the department of Sonsonate and in 1835 became the department head of that department. In 1854, the town Santa Lucia Chacalcingo became part of Santa Ana as one of its neighborhoods. A year later, the department of Santa Ana was created.

Later, the "revolution of the 44" that overthrew President Carlos Ezeta, who ruled the country from the current headquarters of the Second Infantry Brigade of Santa Ana. Since then, the town earned the nickname of the heroic city because the 44 rebels were from the municipality. The rebels stormed the government headquarters, leading the d'coup that would free the country from the dictatorship. 

Postwar 20th century and Civil Santa Ana in 1916

In the so-called "golden age of coffee" in El Salvador, Santa Ana was the most prosperous city in the country, because many of the businessmen who lived in that town owned important coffee processing plants that prepared the coffee for sale. La Hacienda El Molino, owned by the Colombian Rafael Alvarez, was the main plantation and coffee processing plant because of its fame and its technological modernism at the time. During the civil war in El Salvador (1980–1992), the municipality of Santa Ana was also affected by armed conflict, which led to the emigration of many residents of the city. After the war, Santa Ana and all of El Salvador began to address the problem of rising crime rates, mostly due to the existence of "maras" or gangs, mainly generated by the deportation of illegal immigrants from the United States. This scourge has been fought with government programs and ordinances issued by the council municipal.

Since the civil war, the municipality has received allowances sent by Salvadorians living abroad to their friends and family. This money has become the largest source of revenue for Santa Ana and El Salvador. In 1999 the Urban Development Master Plan (PLAMADUR) was launched by the municipal administration of Moses Macall Monterrosa. The PLAMADUR spurred the growth, expansion and management of ciudad.

Also in 2004, the Salvadorian government introduced the National Land Management Plan and Territorial Development (PNODT) that promotes the development, integration and competitiveness of Salvadoran municipalities. For the purposes of planning and development of municipalities, these have been grouped into regions, subregions and microregions. The municipality of Santa Ana was incorporated into the region, "West Central subregion, Santa Ana - Resume" and "microregion of Santa Ana ".


The city of Santa Ana is located on a meseta about 665 meters above sea level. The city has year-round warm climate with an average temperature of around 25 °C (77 °F). The main river is the Guajoyo river which is a major tributary of the much larger Lempa River. There is a major Hydroelectric Power station at the Guajoyo river that provides electricity to most of the western sector of the country.

The city is situated among many beautiful green hills such as Tecana hill and Hills of Santa Lucía, among others. In the southern part of the municipality is the Ilamatepec volcano, the highest volcano in the country, which had a moderate eruption in 2005 that killed two people. Close to it is another famous volcano, Izalco, known to sailors throughout the mid-19th century and early 20th century as "The lighthouse of the Pacific" due to its constant eruptions.


Santa Ana today is the second largest city in population and importance in El Salvador. The main economic engines of the city are in retail and manufacturing. In the north and west of the city are factories and assembly plants mostly of foreign origin. The southern part of the city is more commercially developed, containing many restaurants, commercial banks, hotels and shopping malls. The largest shopping mall in the city is metrocentro.

Santa Ana has two main markets: the Colón and Central Markets, only a few streets from one another, offering a great variety of products.

With respect to tourism, the city has many old buildings such as: Catedral de Santa Ana(The Cathedral of Saint Anne), Alcaldía Municipal de Santa Ana (Santa Ana City Hall) and the Teatro de Santa Ana (Santa Ana Theater).

The only museum in the city registered by the Concultura is the Occidental Regional Museum, also known as the Museum of the West. However El Museo Aja is also located in the city. There are also the Apanteos and Sihuatehuacán water parks.

Fiestas Julias is a big traditional celebration in Santa Ana during the 15 through the 31 of July. Every year they usually take place in the Oscar quiteño stadium.