Shaylee and I awoke early in order to catch the first bus from Santa Ana to the Parque Natural el Cerro Verde, a national park with three different volcanoes, two of them considered to be active.
It was a longer bus ride than expected and took two hours before arriving at the park entrance. There are three volcanoes to climb here, Izalco, Santa Ana, and Cerro Verde. Cerro Verde is really just a short walk, but if you climb either of the two volcanoes, you have to climb it on the way back.
In order to climb either Izalco or Santa Ana, you are required to take a guide (even the locals are). The guides leave at 11 AM, so since it was morning, Shaylee and I walked all the nature trails on and around Cerro Verde, including to the summit before 11 AM.
We didn’t bring much food, but luckily there were some stands to get some food around the visitor center.
It had been decided by the group meeting at the guide house that we would climb Volcán Santa Ana. It didn’t matter to us which volcano we climbed since we hoped to climb the other one tomorrow, so we let the others decide. The guide only cost $1, plus another $2 to cross some private land.
From below, Volcán Santa is the bigger, but perhaps less impressive of the two volcanoes, but was said to have a more impressive crater and to have better views.
We made our way down Cerro Verde and up Volcán Santa Ana. The group eventually divided into slow and fast subgroups and we stayed with a faster group. Along the way the weather was perfectly clear and we had some good views of Lago Coatepeque and Izalco. Near the summit, we could even see the Pacific Ocean.
It was a great claim and we found ourselves on the crater rim and peering into the really impressive crater. It was quite a site. The crater had vertical walls and a copper colored lake at the bottom. The lake was bubbling and there were steam and sulfur vents around it, attesting that this is an active volcano. Amazingly one of the people climbing the mountain did so with a big cooler in order to sell ice cream to the summitters! We bought several and it was good ice cream.
After enjoying the summit for quite a long time, we all headed back down. Near Cerro Verde Shaylee and I saw an armadillo, but most people walked right by it without noticing.
It was a good climb, but we had to wait an hour for the bus that went back down. Even though the climb itself was only just over four hours, it made for a long day with the bus schedules and with hiking the other nature trails. We didn’t get back into Santa Ana until pretty late.
Not too taxing, but a great place to start a hike :)
Actually had no idea so much flora was there! Missed the crater and cloud forest entirely as hadn't been mentioned in the literature we had read. Just climbed Izalco after joining the guided group that left from the car park on Cerro Verde and afterward got the bus back to the city of Santa Ana. We missed out big time!
went to the 3 volcanoes Santa Ana, Cerro Verde and finishing the hike/climb with Izalco. Awesome views surrounded the area.
Relaxing hike, easy but nice. Great views to Izalco and Santa Ana volcanoes.