San Jacintoâ€™s bright prospects as the gateway to the Ring of Fire dimmed significantly with the closure of the Hostel La Ceiba, which had offered the townâ€™s only accommodation and rentals.
The town still has amazing views of VolcĂˇn Telica (an eight hour climb with an overnight on the mountain), VolcĂˇn Rota and VolcĂˇn Santa Clara (both three to five hours), but you should be prepared to bring all of your supplies (and a guide) if you plan to use the tiny location as a launching point for volcanic excursions. San Jacinto can offer little in terms of support.
Locals are hopeful that La Ceiba (or a different hostel) will eventually reopen. Until that happens, the townâ€™s main attraction, and source of income, is Hervideros de San Jacinto (open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, US$2 foreigners; C$10 nationals), a small wasteland of sulfur, sinkholes and microcraters.
A young guide (recommended donation US$0.50 to US$1) will run down from the town to lead you around the constantly changing volcanic minefield. The guides can offer basic information about what they call â€śthe breath of Santa Clara,â€ť gleefully pointing out the hole that claimed the lives of three piglets or a bubbling mud cauldron that opened up the week before.
From the hervideros, you might also catch a glimpse of steam rising from the San Jacinto-Tizate Proyecto de Energia Geotermica plant.
The tour ends at stands where you can buy â€śancient indigenous calendarsâ€ť and other clay objects of dubious authenticity.
A hot, 15-minute walk from town will bring you to the Ojo de Agua El Chorro, where water pipes empty into the river below, creating a few muddy swimming holes. Since the neighborhood runoff also empties here, walk slightly upstream if youâ€™re in the mood for a swim
Rancho San Jacinto (Mains, C$100 to C$170; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., daily; 505-8-351-1439), near the highway, provides the townâ€™s one food and drink outlet. The tidy bar-restaurant has typical fare and cold drinks, although the low thatched roof blocks out views of the volcanoes.
Buses to LeĂłn pass San Jacinto every half hour and cost C$12.