Cerro Verde

Cerro Verde Travel Blog

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Izalco

I spent a few days working in San Salvador, but we had no rental car for our long weekend of exploring. So when work was finished, we took a cab to the airport to get a rental car. Driving in El Salvador is easy and the roads are very good. The exception is San Salvador which can be a challenge for driving. Many roads are marked and there are signs in some places, but the problem is more in road engineering (or lack thereof) and roads that are not properly connected to each other. So if you decide to drive in San Salvador, expect it to take a long time to cross the town.

Our first idea was to drive to Parque Nacional Cerro Verde to see the Volcano's. Once out of San Salvador, it is only about 45 minutes drive and it becomes very beautiful and green as you approach the Volcano's.

Lago de Coatapeque
In the park are the three most important volcano's in El Salvador. The highest volcano is Izalco, and usually it is covered in cloud. Izalco has very black lava and very steep slopes. Santa Ana is a very large volcano with several craters and covers a large area. Santa Ana is very green. The Cerro Verde volcano is covered in cloud forest and is the greenest. It also has the least challenging trek. We decided on the short trek in the Cerro Verde crater due to time constraints, but there are many treks available including the four craters of Santa Ana and the summit of Izalco. Plan for the longer treks to take at least 4 hours, and amazing scenery.

Our guide Avil led us down into the old crater which is now covered in lush vegatation. The looped trail is very nice and has view points for Izalco and Santa Ana and also Lago de Coatapeque (which I waterski'd last year).
Cerro Verdeo
The viewpoints are wooden platforms and provide a nice place for photo's. They are all very well maintained. The guides are required as the park management doesn't want people to wander off the trail. The explaination was to protect plants and animals, but I wonder if they had a problem with people getting lost in the thick cloud forest.  There is no fee for the guide, but Avil was very grateful for the gratuity I gave him. Our trek was only 45 mins, so we opened the lunch that we brought while we enjoyed the view of Izalco. We eventually had to finish lunch in the car though because the bee's overtook us and we had a swarmed of two dozen bee's. Ei Ei Ei, no way do I want that many stings!

We took pictures with Avil and only after we loaded them into the computer did I realize how small was our guide.

Santa Ana
He made me look like a giant standing next to him and even Donna was very tall next to him. It was funny because the entire time he was a very smiling guy and he was so happy that we would try to talk to him in Spanish because he did not have any English. But for the picture he only had a serious face. For his credit, he was a very nice guy and we liked him a lot.

After we left Cerro Verde, I was convinced that I could find Lago de Coatapeque. We had enough time to drive to the rim overlooking Coatapeque so we took off driving in that direction. Within 15 or 20 minutes we found the lake and stopped at a little bar overlooking the water for a beer and to enjoy the view. The water was amazing blue, and is surrounded by the high crater rim. In the background are the volcano's and an island. It's an amazing environment and view. We had a dinner plan with friends at Citron in the evening so our day was cut short to head back to San Salvador. 

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Izalco
Izalco
Lago de Coatapeque
Lago de Coatapeque
Cerro Verdeo
Cerro Verdeo
Santa Ana
Santa Ana
Parque Nacional Cerro Verde
Parque Nacional Cerro Verde
Clouds rolling in
Clouds rolling in
Me and D
Me and D
Santa Ana
Santa Ana
Trek in Cerro Verde
Trek in Cerro Verde
View Point
View Point
Bar
Bar
Lago de Coatapeque
Lago de Coatapeque
Market
Market
9,962 km (6,190 miles) traveled
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Cerro Verde
photo by: jmaxiv