El Salvador
12 Images

El Pital, El Salvador

Will Rodríguez pauses along a hiking trail on El Pital peak, the pinnacle of El Salvador at 8,957 feet. Five years ago, Rodríguez and his wife opened El Pital Highland, a family-oriented compound of cabins and guest lodges. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Hikers explore El Pital. Although El Salvador has been badly scarred by illegal logging and war-related environmental destruction, this region is a haven of lush first-growth forest. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Alessandra Giammattei and her husband, Daniel Marak, read in hammocks suspended in a grove of pines at the El Pital Highland, the area’s best-known lodge. Marak, from Franklin, Mass., teaches at the American School in San Salvador, the capital city. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Campsites at El Pital Highland lodge offer views of the forest and family farms. El Pital offers an escape from the tropical mugginess that blankets much of El Salvador. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
A hot drink tastes good on a cool day at high altitude. An El Pital visitor makes hot chocolate over a campfire grill. The average temperature here is 60 degrees from November to March, which is prime tourist season. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
El Pital Highland lodge isn’t big but it has style. Guests here have included at least one Salvadoran president and a former U.S. ambassador. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
A lodge staff member delivers a hot dinner to a cabin occupied by the Ramirez family. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Xiomara de Ramirez sits outside her cabin at the El Pital Highland lodge and “sings to the trees.” The real estate agent from San Salvador was staying at the resort with 12 family members. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
Old leather and rubber boots are recycled as a flower-pot display, adding a touch of whimsy at the lodge. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
An elaborate street diorama in La Palma has a political message with small dolls engaged in a protest march. The village was the site of peace talks in 1984. The country’s civil war stretched from 1980 to 1992. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
A touch of America: In La Palma, a local girl wearing a “Hollywood star” shirt watches street life from the doorway of a shop. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)
A hiker’s feet dangle from the back of a hatchback car in La Palma, at the base of El Pital peak in El Salvador. (Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times)