Lake Ilopango El Salvador, iconic active volcanic caldera

Lake Ilopango El Salvador
Lake Ilopango El Salvador.

Lake Ilopango El Salvador is an active caldera lake located just outside the capital city, San Salvador. Ilopango lake is 72 square kilometers and has a max depth of 248 meters; it is excellent for diving, sailing, fishing, and water activities.

Lake Ilopango borders the departments of San Salvador, La Paz, and Cuscatlan. This volcanic caldera is one of the most popular and most visited in the country. The name Ilopango in Nahuat means “Valley of the Jiquilotes,” or the place of the corn goddess.

Things to do at Lake Ilopango El Salvador.

The top things to do at Ilopango lake include swimming, scuba diving, sailing, kayaking, windsurfing, boat tours, playing water sports, or spending time at the Amapulapa touristic center. Here is a breakdown of the most popular things to do at this lake.

Lake Ilopango El Salvador
Lake Ilopango El Salvador. Photo by Randreu

Ilopango Lake boat tours.

Taking a boat tour deep into the lake is a popular activity; boat tours are available from many different points along the shore. The most popular spot to catch a boat is near the Apulo tourist park.

On a boat ride, you can view up close the burnt islands located in the middle of the lake. Additionally, you can also view the flora and fauna that surround the caldera.

Water sports.

This volcanic caldera is an ideal spot to spend time playing water sports such as swimming, sailing, kayaking, or windsurfing. The warm lake water makes enjoying water sports a top activity at Ilopango.

Apulo tourist center.

The Apulo tourist center or recreational park sits on the banks of the lake. The park has 34 cabins, a picnic area, a soccer field, changing rooms, small restaurants, and much more.

Apulo is a popular destination; on the weekends and nationals holidays, people from all over the country visit this caldera. If you don’t like crowds, avoid the weekends and visit during the weekdays.

Scuba diving Ilopango Lake El Salvador.

For those looking for more extreme adventures, diving is an excellent option at this caldera; the lake has warm water and exceptional diving locations.

One important thing to keep in mind if you want to do some diving at Lake Ilopango is that there is no diving school around or near the lake. Therefore, you need to make prior diving arrangements if you’re going to dive here.

El Salvador divers and La Libertad diving are two well-known diving companies in the country that offers diving at Ilopango Lake.

Ilopango Lake El Salvador
Ilopango Lake El Salvador.

Ilopango Lake history and eruptions.

Ilopango caldera is a result of massive volcanic eruptions that occurred thousands of years ago. The outburst that occurred between 410 and 535 AD desolated Mayan cities in the area.

The Smithsonian channel produced this video; it describes the eruption of Ilopango’s Lake and its effects on the world’s climate at that time.

The eruptions of 1879 to 1880 formed the islands located in the center of the lake; these islands are called “burnt islands.” They serve as a reminder of the history this lake carries with it.

Additionally, in 2016, researchers from the UK published a report saying that they found evidence that a pool of magma is building up beneath Ilopango’s lake.

Of course, this evidence suggests that San Salvador, the capital, might be at risk for a future volcanic eruption. It’s an exciting read. Click here to read the research article.

El Salvador’s Lake Ilopango, near the capital city of San Salvador, is known for boating, diving and the rugged, scenic beauty of its 100 meter-tall cliffs — the lip of the caldera that holds the lake. However, 1,500 years ago, it may have been the site of one of the most horrific natural disasters in the world. It may also be the long-sought cause of the extreme climate cooling and crop failures of A.D. 535-536.
From EarthMagazine.org

Ilopango Lake hotels.

Lake Ilopango is not a destination where people spend the night; most visitors go to Ilopango on day trips. I am not saying that accommodations do not exist, but I could not find any that I can recommend or suggest.

This caldera is near popular tourist destinations such as Suchitoto and San Salvador; visitors stay at these locations and take a day to visit this caldera.

Ilopango Lake El Salvador
Ilopango Lake El Salvador at night.

Lake Ilopango El Salvador.

Ilopango Lake El Salvador is a fantastic area to spend the day exploring and relaxing with family or friends. The volcanic caldera has plenty of activities that can be done in a single day.

Lake Ilopango is one of the most popular Salvadoran lakes; also, it is centrally located near the capital city of San Salvador. Take a chance and visit this active volcanic caldera.


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