Come and explore the amazing, dangerous beauty of El Salvador’s three volatile volcanoes. Located in both the Sonsonate and Santa Ana departments, the three volcanoes are located only about 67 kilometers from the country’s capital city of San Salvador.
Cerro Verde, Izalco and Santa Ana VolcanoesThere are 3 volcanoes located on the western part of El Salvador: Santa Ana, Izalco and Cerro Verde. Together, they form one of the awe-inspiring landscapes in the whole country. These 3 volcanoes are located in the departments of Sonsonate and Santa Ana, and are approximately 67 kilometers from the capital city San Salvador.
Cerro Verde Volcano
The Cerro Verde is actually an extinct volcano which last erupted approximately 2500 years ago. On the top of its crater there is one of the few cloud forests in the country, located at 2030 meters above sea level. The other two impressive volcanoes – Santa Ana and Izalco – can easily be observed from the look-out spots located within the park.
There are many activities you can enjoy while in the preserved Natural Park but the most common one is hiking. The Cerro Verde used to be home to a 4 star hotel called “Hotel de Montaña – Cerro Verde”. However, quite unfortunately, due to the strong earthquakes that occurred in 2001, it is not currently open to visitors and only serves as a reminder of the areas beauty and danger. It’s a great place from which to photograph the Izalco volcano. At its conception, the hotel was built with one thing in mind – creating close scenery to the Izalco’s majestic eruption, which lasted a total of 200 years until 1960 when it suddenly stopped.
The Izalco’s flaring eruption could easily be seen from the Pacific Ocean and because of this the Volcano got the nickname, “Lighthouse of the Pacific”.
When going through the path known as “una ventana a la naturaleza” or, a window to nature, you will actually be walking inside the Cerro Verde’s crater. After a 30 minute walk, you will find yourself immersed in the oldest forest area inside the park and will be able to spot some 300 year old trees climbing to amazing heights. There are many species of animals living inside the park; among them are many types of hummingbirds and the black birds known as “chara” which feed other birds such as toucans, during their mating season.
Another very interesting path is the one called The Orchids, where you can see the beauty of these exotic plants that grow wild in the region.
The Izalco volcano is the youngest volcano in El Salvador. Izalco was born from a sulfur vent arising from the ground in the year 1770 and kept constant activity until 1967 when it literally suddenly stopped erupting. Prior to this mysterious ending, the lava coming out of the volcano and the constant flares could be spotted from the Pacific Ocean.
One can easily hike up the volcano from the park Cerro Verde in about an hour and a half, but guidance from the PNC is probably a good idea. The PNC staff can be arranged at the main gate Cerro Verde National Park.
Santa Ana Volcano
Ilamatepec is the real name to the tallest volcano in El Salvador and located in the department of its same name: Santa Ana. The Santa Ana volcano is 2365 meters above sea level. The volcano has four craters and one of them held a sulfur lagoon until the day it of its most recent eruption, on the morning of October 1st. 2005. From that day on, the volcano has been continuously monitored and warnings remain active along the area.
If you wish to visit the three volcano area or hike up one of them, please check first with the SNET at www.snet.gob for recent activity. The area’s most recent eruption was reported back in 1904.