Volcano Santa Ana – El Salvador’s beautiful giant

by | Nov 22, 2019 | Travel | 0 comments

The volcano Santa Ana, actually called “Ilamatepec”, is El Salvador’s most prominent volcano – and for sure, one of the most beautiful places in this country that you should visit. Spanish School El Zonte would like to give you some impressions about “Santa Ana” and also answer a few questions for your trip if you’re planning to do one.
Volcano Santa Ana, El Salvador
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The crater of the volcano “Santa Ana” (Ilamatepec) en El Salvador. Don’t miss it!

Why should I hike up to the volcano Santa Ana?

Well, at first, the view is breathtaking! The hike up to the volcano Santa Ana is not that difficult and takes you about 1,5 hours up and 1 hour down, maybe a bit more depending on your fitness. The way up is not to steep and leads you through a beautiful shady forest first and later through a rocky landscape that filled with beautiful flora. The big agave plant with its large flower is always impressing and worth a couple of photos! We absolutely recommend hiking up the volcano Santa Ana. It’s a lovely day trip that will leave you behind with some adorable impressions. Don’t miss it!
Volcano Santa Ana
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Amazon views on the way to the top of the volcano “Santa Ana” in El Salvador

Will I suffer altitude sickness hiking up on volcano Santa Ana?

No really! The volcano is 2381metres high. Usually, that’s not high enough to cause serious health problems. If you’re not used to physical activity and high altitudes, you might feel a slight headache. Be sure to hydrate properly and have some breaks during your hike. Bring some snacks and sleep well the night before. But in general, it’s not a big thing. We’ve seen people running up the volcano in like 45 minutes.
Volcano Santa Ana
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The hike is not that difficult, but be sure to bring enough water and sun protection!

How much does it cost to hike up the volcano Santa Ana?

Well, it depends on how you organize your tour. In general, it is recommendable to take a guided tour from El Tunco, El Zonte, or San Salvador for this trip. It’s a bit more expensive, depending on the size of the group, but we think it’s not worth the hassle to take a public bus to Santa Ana and do it on your own. It takes you a lot of time and nerves to do so. The entrance for the national park is US$6, and you usually always tip the guides (US$1-2 per person). The costs for a tour from El Tunco and El Zonte vary from the number of people who are part of a group. You will have to leave early on the morning around 8am from El Tunco and you will be back around 4pm.
Santa Ana Volcano
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Hiking up the volcano Santa Ana you will also have a view to its “smaller” brother: the volcano “Izalco”

What should I bring for the trip?

  • water
  • proper shoes
  • snacks
  • sun protection
  • camera
  • money
  • maybe a light jacket for the top

When is the best time to hike up the volcano Santa Ana?

If the wheater is bad and cloudy, you should consider not hiking up the volcano because you might get wet and you can’t see a lot. But even during the rainy season, it is possible to hike up the volcano. The latest tour starts at 11 am at the Cerro Verde National Park ranger station. We recommend you to avoid the days when Salvadorans have public holidays (Easter, the first week of August, Christmas time, etc.). The volcano Santa Ana has become more and more popular during the last years. There can be up to 200-300 people on the crater sometimes (well, there’s still enough space left, but there might always be someone in your photo). Also, on the weekends, there might be more traffic up there. It’s possible to hike up the volcano Santa Ana before sunrise and make some georgous photos up there. But you need to arrange it at least two days before and get up pretty early.

Do you have any practical tips for the tour?

You can’t hike up the volcano Santa Ana on your own! You will need a guide who will go with you to the top. It’s mainly for your safety; some people get incautious, and of course, they don’t want anyone to fall into the crater or damage flora and fauna in the area. Also, it’s an extra income for the people who work as a guide.

Please be sure not to leave any rubbish up there! Bring proper shoes, at least 1 liter of water, some snacks, sun protection, and maybe a light jacket for the top of the volcano. And please don’t fall into the crater!

Volcano Santa Ana
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The huge agave plants along the way up to the crater are impressing. Don’t miss Volcano Santa Ana – El Salvador’s beautiful giant!
Things to do in El Salvador



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