Izalco Volcano El Salvador. The Lighthouse of the Pacific.

By Eddie.  |  Sep 24th, 2022
Izalco Volcano El SalvadorIzalco Volcano El Salvador. Image by SivarCultura.

Izalco volcano El Salvador is a massive stratovolcano located in the department of Santa Ana. Izalco volcano, also known as the lighthouse of the Pacific, is part of the Cerro Verde National Park that includes two other volcanoes, Santa Ana and Cero Verde.

This volcano is considered one of the youngest volcanoes in the world; this is an active volcano whose last eruption was in 1966. The volcano is an iconic symbol of the country, it was featured on the “10 Colon” old Salvadoran banknote, and also in stamps.

Furthermore, this volcano is also called the lighthouse of the Pacific or Faro del Pacifico in Spanish. It got this nickname because when it had eruptions, the lava flow coming up from the cone could be seen from the Pacific at night, therefore resembling a lighthouse.

Izalco volcano is part of one of the most visited national parks in the country, Cerro Verde National Park or Los Volcanoes National Park; the park has three volcanoes, Izalco, Santa Ana, and Cerro Verde.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador’s Ecotourism. 10 Incredible Salvadoran Natural Parks Worth Exploring!

Activities at Izalco Volcano

Izalco Volcano is one of the most popular touristic destinations in the country, especially for those looking for outdoor or ecotourism activities.

For one thing, every year, foreign tourists visit this majestic volcano to appreciate its beauty from a distance or to hike to the summit. In a similar fashion, local tourists are also venturing into Izalco to take advantage of what it has to offer.

Undeniably, there are two ways you can enjoy Izalco’s beauty, you can enjoy it from a distance or get up close and hike to the summit.

Enjoying the view from the distance

If you want to enjoy the beauty of this volcano, but don’t want to hike to the summit; head on to Cerro Verde National Park, you will be able to enjoy Salvadoran flora and fauna, and also get a fantastic view of Izalco.

So, from the park, you will be able to see some great views of the Izalco volcano and its surroundings. Furthermore, there are some easy-to-navigate trails that will allow you to get different amazing views of Izalco and the surrounding landscape.

Izalco volcano El Salvador
Izalco Volcano.

SEE ALSO: El Salvador Tourism: A Journey Through Pristine Beaches, Colorful Towns, and Enchanting Parks

Hiking to the summit

Hiking Izalco volcano is one of the top touristic activities in the country. Visitors from many different nations venture into Cerro Verde National Park to hike Izalco.

The hike to the summit is challenging, but it can be done; and just so you know, it will take about two to three hours to reach the summit. Local guides who know the trail really well begin the hike at Cerro Verde National Park.

The stratovolcano has no vegetation, therefore all along the trail, you will have fantastic views of the surrounding area. And once you reach the top, you will get more exceptional views of the entire landscape and of course, the volcano crater.

If this is your first time in El Salvador and also exploring Izalco; I highly recommend you use a tour company. A touring company will make things easier for you, they will take care of all the logistics involved in the trip.

Furthermore, touring companies know the area and will be able to give you better insights into the volcano and the country in general.

Plus, most of the tour companies have bilingual staff, which can be handy if you don’t speak Spanish. Eco-Tours Petate and Nahuat Tours are two touring companies that have great reviews online.

Izalco Volcano history

Izalco was basically a volcano without a cone, but the eruptions that happened from 1722 to 1770 created the volcano. The lava flow from these volcanic eruptions built the mainly unvegetated cone that we see today.

There are two versions of how this volcano started. The first and popular one is that it originated in 1770 when a hole in the outskirts of Santa Ana volcano began to erupt and created what Izalco is today.

The second version is by historian Jorge Larde and Larin, he indicated that the volcano started in 1722 when a new crater was formed next to the Santa Ana volcano. From that point on, the numerous eruptions that followed emitted lava which in turn created Izalco.

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which version you believe the most; all I know for sure is that during that period, the fantastic Izalco volcano was born.

According to historians, the main eruptions were those of 1722, 1745, 1753, 1762, 1765, and 1770. This volcano was frequently active between 1722 all the way to 1966, but right now, Izalco is considered to be an active volcano that is at rest.

Accommodations at Izalco volcano.

Most people who visit this volcano and the park do it on day trips; the volcano is near some major cities and popular touristic spots.

Nevertheless, there are some hotels near the volcano that can accommodate you.

Campo Bello, El Tibet, and hostel La Casona de Los Vega are the ones I found nearest to Izalco volcano.

Getting to Izalco Volcano.

Izalco volcano is located in the department of Sonsonate, it’s near the border with the department of Santa Ana.

There are many different ways of getting to Izalco. I am not going to list any of them since depending on your starting location and mode of transportation, it would change.

Instead, I am going to list the distances from major touristic spots or cities to Izalco volcano.

From location Kilometers Time
San Salvador 57 km 1h 20 min
International Airport 95 km 1 h 55 min
Santa Ana 51 km 55 min
El Tunco beach 89 km 1 h 35 min
Nahuizalco 15 km 35 min

Izalco Volcano El Salvador.

To sum up, the Izalco volcano is one of the best and most popular volcanoes in the country. Take a chance and visit Izalco volcano, you can either appreciate its beauty from the distance or take a chance and climb to the summit,