Photo credits: Nelson Crisóstomo

On a glimpse

Distance walked: 8.3 Km / 5.2 Mi
Duration (actual walking time): 3h – 4h
Ascent – Descent: 721 – 456 m / 2,365 – 1,496 ft
Elevation at start: 1,803 m / 5,915 ft
Top elevation: 2,294 m / 7,526 ft

Check map, route and more data here

Environment: 4 different and well marked micro-environments along the hike: cloud forest on the skirts, then mid-sized vegetation. As you go up it switches to wasteland colonized by agave plants and, on the top, nothing but volcanic debris from recent eruptions.
Few but short steep sections at the beginning. The rest is a moderate slope. Partially shaded.
Highlights: the deep and massive crater with a turquoise sulfuric-acid crater lake in the bottom and the view of Coatepeque caldera.


The highest volcano in El Salvador: Santa Ana (aka Ilamatepec) and one of the most active in the country. This is also one of the most popular and rewarding hikes. After walking in the woods you reach the rim of this massive crater. Actually is 4 craters one inside the other, about 400 meters deep.
On a clear day you can watch the nearby volcanos, the coast line and beautiful Coatepeque Lake.

Mix and Match
Check this optional activities.

  • Earlier departures available so you can spend the rest of your evening recovering your energy in a private property on the shore of Coatepeque lake. This is an ancient caldera turned into a lake basin and the most beautiful natural lake of El Salvador. You can enjoy your lunch here.
  • Sunrise on the top of the volcano and then walk around the rim of the crater available upon request. Check data here.
  • Longer hike departing from Cerro Verde: 2 volcanoes in one day! Check map and more data here.