Izalco Volcano
Izalco Volcano

Izalco Volcano

Santa Ana

The basics

Of the 170 volcanoes in El Salvador, only one made it onto the country’s (now defunct) banknotes and stamps, and that was Izalco. After spending almost 200 years erupting, Izalco finally quietened down in 1966. Now part of the Cerro Verde National Park, Izalco sits alongside Santa Ana Volcano (Ilamatepec) and Cerro Verde Volcano.

Best known for its cone-shaped peak, Izalco is especially impressive when viewed from the top of Santa Ana, the park’s most popular volcano to climb. A much tougher trek, hiking Izalco also requires an official guide. Unfortunately, this means both peaks cannot be submitted in one day, although accommodation is available at the park if you feel like a two-day volcano hiking spree. You can also hop on the local bus out or join a tour from Santa Ana and swing by Lake Coatepeque for a post-hike swim in an ancient volcanic caldera.

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Full Day Tour : Izalco Volcano + Cerro Verde Park
Full Day Tour : Izalco Volcano + Cerro Verde Park
USD120.00 per adult
Traveller Favourite
Magnificent experience
Very nice experience! Our tourist guide Josuè was absolutely brilliant, he knows everything about el Salvador and he is very funny! Definitely we'll come back to do more tours with this company
NelsonEnrique_P, Mar. 2023

Things to know before you go

  • Izalco Volcano is one of El Salvador’s most popular volcanoes to climb—after Santa Ana Volcano and San Salvador Volcano.

  • You must hike Izalco with an official guide. Public tours depart in the morning.

  • It takes 3-4 hours to summit Izalco and another hour or two to get down.

  • Climbing Izalco actually involves climbing two volcanoes: Cerro Verde and Izalco, and starts with a steep incline and decline.

  • Bring water, lunch or snacks, sunglasses, sunscreen, a hat, warm layers, trekking poles, and cash for the entry fee and the guide.

  • The park has limited food options, with a few local pupuserias and restaurants around the main entrance.

  • The climb up Izalco is challenging and requires a decent fitness level and mobility. If you feel like skipping the long hike, Cerro Verde has a few shorter, gentle trails offering great views of Izalco and Santa Ana volcanoes.

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How to get there

Located in Cerro Verde National Park, Izalco can be accessed by car or public bus from Santa Ana, 25 miles (40 kilometers) north of the park. Tours to Izalco also run from Santa Ana, San Salvador, and El Tunco and often include a visit to Lake Coatepeque or Mayan ruins. The public bus takes around two hours (each way); however, if you’re not back on time, the bus will leave without you, so it might be worth hiring a taxi for the day or jumping on a tour to avoid the extra stress.

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When to get there

The best time to visit Izalco Volcano is during the dry season (November to April) or on dry days during the wet season. While you can visit Cerro Verde all year round, you can’t climb the volcanoes when it’s raining, or visibility is poor. If you want to climb Izalco, you’re also best off visiting in the morning to join the official guided hike—access is off-limits otherwise.

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Other volcanoes in El Salvador

For a small country, El Salvador has a lot of volcanoes—170, to be exact. While squeezing all of them into one trip feels a little on the impossible side, visiting Cerro Verde National Park is a great way to see three in one day (even if you can only climb one or two). Looming over San Salvador, El Boqueron is also very popular.

If you’re looking for more off-the-beaten-path volcano inspiration, you can’t go wrong with Conchagua Volcano, where you can camp overnight on the slopes and wake up to panoramic views over the Gulf of Fonseca. Alternatively, Tecapa Volcano and its emerald-green crater lake are well worth the hike, while San Vincente Volcano (Chinchontepec) and San Miguel Volcano (Chaparrastique) are good options if you’re in the area.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Izalco Volcano?