The Santa Ana Volcano or Ilamatepec (Spanish: volcán de Santa Ana) is a large stratovolcano located in the Santa Ana department of El Salvador. At 2,381 metres above sea level, it is the highest volcano in the country. It is located immediately west of Coatepeque Caldera.
The summit of Santa Ana features four nested calderas and volcanic craters, with the innermost containing a small crater lake. Collapse of the summit during the late Pleistocene (inferring from underlying soil samples, the upper age limit is no more than 57 000 years ago) produced a massive debris avalanche that reached the Pacific Ocean, forming the Acajutla Peninsula. Subsequent eruptions have largely rebuilt the edifice. There have been numerous historical eruptions since the 1500s, both at the summit and from cinder cones on the lower flanks. Such flank eruptions created the volcanoes Izalco and Cerro Verde (both parasitic volcanoes) and also the flank vents of San Marcelino located east of Santa Ana. The San Marcelino vents erupted in 1722 and flowed eastwards for 11km, destroying the village of San Juan Tecpan.
In October, 2005, the volcano erupted, killing at least two people, injuring seven people, forcing many people to flee their villages. The volcano spat rocks for over 1.5km (1 mile)with rocks the size of cars. The eruption contributed to the damage from Hurricane Stan. The most recent previous eruption had been in 1904.
From San Salvador take the Pan American highway to Santa Ana, turn off at the lake Coatepeque exit and follow the signs to Cerro Verde. Approximately 2 km before arriving at the Cerro Verde National Park entrance there is a small turn off to the right along a cobble stone road that takes you to Finca San Blas. Follow the road up to where there are several houses and park the car there.
From there it is approximately a one hour hike to the summit. The path is well beaten and can't be missed. Once at the summit there are spectacular views of the Coatepeque caldera and Izalco volcano. There is a trail that goes around the rim of the crater and for the adventurous visitor a path that takes you to the bottom of the crater.
3 USD to hike in the volcano.
There are a camping area with all services, food, water, bathrooms and police security in middle of the 3 volcanoes Santa Ana, Izalco and Cerro Verde. $2 USD to entrance.
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