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Legends of El Salvador -- La Sihuanaba

Updated on August 30, 2011

This legend is about a woman with long tangled hair covering her face, with a slim body and long nails and with enormous breasts that hung almost to the ground. La Sihuanaba appears on roads, in rivers and ravines to single and drunken men wandering around late at night. A legend used as a warning.

The legend says this woman was originally a peasant girl called Sihuehuet, beautiful woman, who had a romance with Yeisun, a Nahuatl prince and son of Tlaloc. This romance ended with her pregnant and she had a son, la Cipitio. Sihuehuet was a bad mother and left her son to satisfy her lover. Tlaloc discovered what was happening and cursed Sihuehuet, calling her sihuanaba, ugly woman. From that time on she would only be beautiful at first sight, becoming a horrifying sight when men approached her.

According to legend Sihuanaba is seen at night near the rivers washing clothes, dressed in white or naked. Then she lures single men to isolated gorges where she reveals herself to them. It is said all wandering men are a potential victim for Sihuanaba, though she usually seeks conceited men.

La Sihuanaba
La Sihuanaba

One story I discovered about the Sihuanaba was of a man walking when he saw a woman with long black, beautiful hair, and a white dress taking a bath in a water tank.

“Hey beautiful, want me to bathe you?” the man said.

The woman stopped bathing and without showing her face started to call to him, while leading him away. Flattered the man followed and they walked a distance, he always trying to reach her with no success. When they reached a cemetery the woman approached him and slowly she turned around. He saw her face just as she tried to hurl him in the gorges.

After fighting with her for a few minutes the man remembered he was wearing a small medal around his neck and he put it into his mouth, bit it and prayed. When the Sihuanaba saw it she threw herself into the gorge and at that moment he realised who she was. The man ran back to his house where the next day he found scratches over his face and arms. They were never to heal.

The mention that she shows herself initially as a young beautiful woman to captivate her victims until she gains their confidence and transforms or reveals herself as an ugly and grotesque woman, should sit as a deterrent for wandering the countryside late at night. She is said to give the men the biggest scare of their lives. They are said to temporarily become addled and will then be lost in the gorges, where once the victim has recovered, if they recover, will often be driven mad if they have not died of fear.

If you are interested in more information on El Salvador the history, culture, traditions, or Expat living. Come visit my site for more wonderful information on this fantastic country. At Also don’t forget I am always looking to post your original stories on your travels to El Salvador as well so If you have something you would like to share please email me


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  • Florida Guy profile image

    Chen 7 years ago

    Hi :-)

    Loved your Hub and voted for it .