Beyond Marcala , the road continues through lovely scenic countryside of coffee and corn farms and pine forest down into the lower, hotter canyon country near the Salvadoran border. About two hours’ drive from Marcala toward the border are two traditional Lenca communities worth visiting, Santa Elena and Yarula. Santa Elena is known for the local corn festival in October, as well the Baile de los Negritos in March, a traditional dance that mixes a Christian homage to the town’s patron saint, Santiago, with local Lencan traditions.
Near Santa Elena, a couple of hours’ hike past the village of Azacualpa (local guide required), are a series of cave paintings well worth a visit. Yarula is well known for its delicious yellow corn and tortillas. There are a couple of eateries but no accommodations in either town, so plan on a day trip back to Marcala  or onward to El Salvador. A bus from Marcala heads this direction, or you can seek a jalón.
Also in this area is Nahuanterique, once part of the disputed territory between El Salvador and Honduras  left over from the 1969 Soccer War. Nearby are pine forests, bird-watching, rare flora, lakes, and waterfalls. An active indigenous organization was at last check building no-frills (no electricity) tourist cabins. For more information, inquire with the organization CONDREZAFH (tel. 504/764-5411), or visit their office in Marcala.
Farther down the road in the hot lowlands, the dirt road crosses a remote border post, with a Honduran official on one side but no one from El Salvador on the other (at last report). The Honduran agent (a friendly fellow) will stamp your passport and let you back in if you come on the same route.
Farther along you will come to a Salvadoran police checkpoint, where your passport will be scrutinized. Tourists should not have to pay a fee at either point; however, if you leave El Salvador by another border, you will likely have to pay a small fine for not having a proper entry stamp.
The first town across the border is Perquín, a picturesque little town with camping areas and nature centers nearby, and a very interesting Museo de la Revolución dedicated to the civil war. The annual Festival de Invierno (Winter Festival), in August, is famous all over Central America for its music, artists, and crowds enjoying the fun.
Perquín and Marcala  are working to jointly develop tourism in the area, and information on the region is available at www.marcalaperquin.org . There is a small tourist booklet on the region surrounding Perquín available at Marcala’s tourist kiosk. Perquín is about three hours away from Marcala by car or bus.