Volcan de Santa Ana is an amazing day trip with stunning views. A must see in our opinion.
Volcan de Santa Ana sits in the Cerro Verde National Park and is still active today. The climb takes 4 hours return and is achievable for anyone with a reasonable level of fitness. Capture stunning views spanning across Lake Coatepeque, over to Volcan de Izalco and down to the steaming, turquoise crater below.
We did notice a slight shortness in breath but otherwise the 2381 metre altitude is not an issue for most. Don’t worry too much about being quick, the tour guide is paid per trip so you are unlikely to see him much. The police escorts, however, are paid by the hour and are therefore mostly happy to go at a leisurely pace.
HOW TO HIKE VOLCAN DE SANTA ANA:
• Another early start to the day. FYI: The bus is NOT down by the other bus station. Catch the bus from Sala de Espera y Abordaje: Corner of 11 Calle Poiente and Ave Fray Felipede Jesus Moraga at 7.40AM – best to get there at 7.20AM. There is a large supermarket here but it doesn’t open until later so it is best to buy your lunch and water prior.
• Buses to Volcan de Santa Ana cost US$0.90 per person and takes just 1 hour 50 mins.
• At the entry to the park you need to pay US$3 per foreigner.
• The tours leave at 10.45AM so there is a short wait. There is a look out point to Volcan de Izalco and a playground where you can fill in your time.
• Once the tour group has formed you will be guided through surrounding privately owned farmland where you need to pay US$1 at three different stops (US$3).
• The hike up takes around 2 hours. The guides only allow about 30 minutes at the top for lunch and photos but is enjoyable nonetheless.
• The hike back down takes 1 hour 30 mins making the complete round trip about 4 hours.
• Return buses to Santa Ana (US$0.90) leave at 4pm however ours did not depart until 4.40PM. The bus back is quicker, possibly due to the time of the day.
TOTAL COST: US$7.80 per person. Some information suggested we would be charged more at each stop for being foreigners however this did not happen to us. Come prepared with a bit of extra cash just incase.
• Pack your lunch and water. There are food stalls up here with basic supplies but are noticeably more expensive.
• Bring cash in coins for the above costs.
• The weather on the mountain is variable. We hiked in mid April and found shorts and a windproof jacket sufficient however the weather can change quickly so bring something warm.
• Yes, you do have to go up with guides. No, the police aren’t really required – more just a precaution.
• An all round trip from Santa Ana takes at least 10 hours.