Saturday, December 22, 2012

Santa Ana - Part 2 - Day trip to Cerro Verde National Park

Summary: A daytrip to Cerro Verde National Park with a guided hike up to the caldera of Volcano Santa Ana is worth the $11 (fees + transport) each. Great views, easy transport, an invigorating hike up to the summit of Santa Ana, and cool breezes. Here's the payoff photo.

Volcan Santa Ana - Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador

Our destination on our second full day in Santa Ana, was the summit of Santa Ana Volcano in Cerro Verde National Park. Bus #248, 90 cents each, leaves at 7:40 AM on Mondays and delivered us to the Park entrance at 9:30 AM. The last hour of the ride is up, up, up with pretty good views of Lago Coatepeque from the right-hand side of the bus.

On arriving in the park, we paid a $1 entry fee each, then walked around the picnic area, miradors, and flower gardens that surround the parking lot until the guided tour started at 11:00. Great views of Volcan Izalco from the mirador.

At the start of the tour we were told that we would each pay an additional $8 during the walk: $1 for the guided tour which includes a police escort, $1 to the owner of private land we would cross, and another $6 entrance fee to the section of the National Park that includes the Santa Ana volcano. And that's how it worked out, and we got a receipt each time we shelled out $$.

After an initial 20 minutes of downhill, we briefly walked across the private land paying the $1, and entered the other section of the park paying $6. Here we were joined by locals who had parked at the cabins of Casa Crystal and had walked a few hundred meters to the park avoiding the other park entrance fee and the strip of private land.

From here it was 90 minutes of up, up, up at a steady pace with awesome views at every step until we reached the top of the caldera and were rewarded with great views of the greenish lake inside the caldera.

After posing for photos and snacking we headed down under cloudy skies and a cool breeze. Back at the 2nd entrance (the $6 fee one), we left the others, with the permission of the police escort, and avoided a 30 or 40 minute uphill slog to the parking lot by taking a right and shortcutting over to the main road via the entrance/exit road to the cabins of Casa Crystal.

Then we headed downhill on the main road, with more great views among the coffee, pines, and cypress, until miraculously catching up to the 3PM return bus #248. I'm guessing the driver was taking a siesta. And we arrived back at Hostal Cerro Verde just after 4PM.

Volcano Izalco from the parking lot mirador.
Volcan Izalco - Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador

Sun-Ling making her way up Volcano Santa Ana with Izalco in the background.
Volcan Izalco - Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador

Sun-Ling making her way up Volcano Santa Ana with a corner of Lake Coatepeque visible in the background.
Volcan Santa Ana - Cerro Verde National Park, El Salvador


WQZ said...

Beautiful. Great hiking place. John didn't raise up fists this time?:-)

john said...