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Cerro Verde

A lush forest filled with flowers, flora, fauna and fantastic views of the two volcanoes within the park, the Izalco Volcano (1,910 m – 6,266 ft) and the Santa Ana Volcano (2,365 m – 7,759 ft) , the highest in the country. There are nature hikes, or for the more energetic, climbs up the volcanoes with spectacular views along the way and at the top. Birdwatchers will love this park, which is full of migratory species like emerald toucanets, jays, woodpeckers, motmots and 17 species of hummingbirds.


There is camping near the picnic areas. There are a couple of cabins beside the National Civil Police building which charge for a room with bath.


The town of Izalco, at the foot of the volcano by the same name, is a growing tourist destination. There is a lovely colonial center and an active indigenous population. The Izalco Volcano (1,910 m – 6,266 ft) is in the Parque Nacional Cerro Verde. Its stark, rugged walls can be climbed in about three hours from the base or 1.5 hours from the parking lot on Cerro Verde. There is a stunning view from the top where you will see an amazing contrast between Izalco’s pitch-black lava and the rolling, green forests of Cerro Verde.


The Santa Ana Volcano is within the Cerro Verde National Park and can be climbed from the main parking lot in about 2 hours. There are four craters sunken in each other like stacking cups; the smallest of which has a turquoise crater lake and smoking sulfur fumes.


The town of Santa Ana (pop. 400,000) is the second largest in El Salvador and the business center of the western part of the country. Set in a fertile basin where coffee and sugar cane are produced in mass quantities, don’t miss architectural features like the neo-Gothic cathedral, and the classical Teatro Nacional next to the Parque Libertad. Santa Ana can be a good alternative base for exploring the mountainous central part of El Salvador, for those who don’t want to stay in San Salvador.


West of Cerro Verde, on the Ruta de las Flores, is the town Juayúa, famous for its Black Christ which can be found in the church. The region is important for coffee growing, and the area surrounding Juayúa is surrounded with coffee plantations. There are excursions to local waterfalls and trips to see wildlife that can be arranged from the town.

28 Nov 2008

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