Santa Ana Volcano
Santa Ana Volcano
4.5
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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Excellent
251
Very good
69
Average
19
Poor
6
Terrible
3

Scott B
Wantagh, NY718 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
We took a private taxi and paid the driver to wait, rather than taking the bus. Upon arriving, there were guides meeting the car and getting you to the proper group. We were told that they were not allowing private individuals to hike up the volcano without a guide any longer, but it sounded like an excuse to be paid for the tour. Regardless, the guide was not too costly.

You first have to hike from the road to the park entrance, but there is a road which will take you to that entrance if your driver knows where to go. At the park entrance there is a (dirty) bathroom (bring some toilet paper too), and an office were the park fee is collected.

The hike up the volcano takes 2.5 hours roughly depending on your pace. There are a few overlook towers/platforms along the way to view nearby volcanoes and get pics. The rest of the hike is long, dusty and not to strenuous. You need to pack a couple of bottles of water per person to keep hydrated. (There are bushes full of little edible tasteless berries along most of the hike.)

If you go early enough there are one or two vendors at the top of the volcano who are selling fruit popsicles and ice cream of various types for a very reasonable price for all their work to carry it to the top.

The pictures of the lake at the top are spectacular, with it's emerald green color acid water. (No you can't go in to the crater, and must stay on the rim.) We went during the busiest week (Xmas to New Years) and it was very full of people along the route and at the top (including a group of scouts from across many central American countries.) Try to plan for a day where the clouds are minimal, although the hike will be warmer at least you can see the lake at the top. Our day had clouds roll in, but we still had breaks in them to see the sun hitting the lake.
Written April 17, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JONO5K1
London, UK245 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
You can do this for free! Do not pay the entrance fee and be scammed by the guides which are a mandatory racket or the scam "landowner" who is allowed by the park to rob some tourists. I have attached pictures of where to go to access the volcano for free through a public vehicle track. Otherwise you'll pay $6 plus $3.50 (they upscam some people) and possibly the $1.35 fake land access fee (see pictures attached). You are not allowed to walk by yourself. The hike I will show you is an easy 35 minutes compared with the 90 minute MANDATORY group trial where everyone has to follow a slow "guide" who sets the pace based on the slowest person. The groups were about 40 people and it looks awful...believe me. I was there before them all via this free alternative route which is way more beautiful especially at the top. All you need is common sense and you'll be fine. As seen in the screenshots, follow the route 20 minutes past the "official" entrance to this little road. When you reach this point on the right side you will see 1 track (exactly where the map trail is. It starts next to some trash bins. It is a water drainage ditch. Do not take the small trail 5 metres to the right. Follow the little track past the trash bins and over a small clump of rocks for a few minutes. You will then comes to the end where there is a culvert and a track road over it. Go left and follow it up the hill. It's very straightforward as you're are ascending for basically all of it. At one point there is a junction where there is a slight descent to the right. If your are at this point take the decent to the right which will reascend almost immediately around the corner. The track turns to trail and ends very close to the top. You'll look right and probably see lots of tourists in the distance. Continue straight up now the trail has ended across the volcanic stones to the crater and the rest is self explanatory. I descended with the other, people, however, it would be best to descend the same way as my other friends were "told off". Remember this is a semi-official scam. They want to exploit you and the experience in the tour looks and is really poor. The bus departs at 07:30 from Santa Ana for $0.70 and arrives over 2 hours later as the road ascent is slow. You'll get seats if you get on at the station. 95% are tourists. The return buses are at 13:15-30 or 16:15-30. You can run down the road if your feeling bold. The road is in perfect condition as it's new so you can also take a moped. A decent moped/dirt moto is a maximum of $15 per day, so this is also an option. It's nice. Do it yourself! :)
Written December 14, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

streamvista
Knoxville, TN171 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023 • Family
The Santa Ana volcano hike starts in a seemingly tame wooded trail. At the beginning, you’ll find a ranger station, bathroom, and some snack kiosks. If you need any refreshments (the plantain chips are great) or a bathroom break, do it here.

The hike takes some energy to complete. It isn’t crazy difficult and I saw all ages do it. But, the trail is full of steps, incline, and uneven terrain. You need some level of fitness to compete it. That said, it’s a good experience. There’s nice views most of the hike and you can see great vistas of the other nearby volcano.

The view at the top is worth it. Very interesting to look inside the caldera. But, it can be cloudy sometimes because it’s so high up.

Recommendation: Come very early. We did and avoided the crowds. In fact, no one else was at the top when we arrived. Walking back down, I think we saw like 200 people trekking up — mainly Salvadorans.

Overall: Go! It’s worth it.
Written May 8, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Face_The_Elements
Edmonton, Canada289 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Friends
We arrived at 11am and were turned away. We had a group of 8 people and they said that we couldn’t go. They also said that their website is not up to date and can’t notify people of the schedule and rate increase. So go early and have a bit of Spanish under your belt to help discuss any hiking concerns.
Written April 29, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leislap
6 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2022
Beautiful, the view out this word, peaceful. It a connection with mother earth. You renuew yourself. I really enjoyed the time with my family
Written April 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TravelingFamilyTrip
Chicago, IL209 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2023
The hike up Santa Ana is really worth your time, and probably our favorite thing we did in our 4 days in El Salvador. It's a good hike that take s a bit of stamina, but nothing outrageous. Your strenuous hike is rewarded with a spectacular view of the green caldera lake, complete with sound effects of steam. hissing from vents around it.

There are options in between taking the very cheap, but very slow and early local bus and paying $80 pp for a standard group tour. Uber was available from Santa Ana, and it showed about $20 one-way. We opted for a driver arranged through our hostel, which was $20 pp. He got us there in less than half the time of the bus, and then stopped at a spot on Lake Coatepeque for lunch. Having a driver was nice in that we didn't have to worry so much about getting back for the 1:00 bus. It isn't a big deal, really, but we were a little more comfortable lingering at the summit longer since we didn't have to worry about the deadline.
Written February 28, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Quakeup
Victoria, Canada220 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023 • Couples
Santa Ana Volcano is a hike not to be missed. It provides a decent workout in a beautiful and diverse setting. Most people with average physical ability will complete this hike to the rim and enjoy a spectacular visual treat of the fluorescent green crater lake. There is something otherworldly when hearing the thermal vents way down below along the shore of the lake.

On a Friday, we arrived in time for the group hike from the Santa Ana Trailhead that starts at 9:30. Our guide told us we did not need to pay because of our age. We later learned that only nationals who are seniors should get in for free. You should expect as a foreigner to pay six dollars entrance fee. Everyone must pay three dollars for the guides. No one charged us a fee to park in the shaded lot at the Santa Ana trailhead.

The guides provided a detailed orientation in Spanish, and then walked us up to the gate entrance from the parking lot. At the entrance, there are clean bathrooms, and a kiosk where you can purchase drinks and snacks. If you are lucky, you might find a walkingstick waiting for you to use. Some hikers will find a stick helpful when navigating up and down the steeper portions of the trail.

Because this was a guided hike with a large group, we experienced a very happy social walk up the hill. If you prefer more serenity and privacy, arrange for a private guide to take you up to the rim (advertised cost was $25).

All the guides were friendly and outgoing, much like almost all El Salvadorians we have met. It was a novel experience for us to be way up a volcano and consuming a frozen chocolate covered banana! Only two dollars for a banana on a stick—refreshing and delicious. I look forward to my next trek up Santa Ana.

Perhaps, like me, you will be enticed to also hike Vulcan Izalco, which leads from a different trailhead atop Cerro Verde.
Written February 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wistfulvision
17 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2023
The articles that say nothing starts until 11 am and you have a police escort is NOT TRUE. We arrived around 9 am. - the first actually. We waited a few minutes and another ‘family’ arrived. We each paid $US16 to the guide to get going right away.
It’s approximately 9 kms from the first parking lot and 500 meter elevation gain.
Our guide spoke only Spanish and was pretty useless TBH but mandatory. There are lots of ridiculously sized steps on the route and the last few kms are very rocky and somewhat steep. The views from the top and en route are beautiful. I was very slow having had a knee replacement 7 months earlier but we did the round trip with stopping at the top in 4 hours. If you’re over 60 you don’t need to pay the park fee but you need to show proof!
Written February 9, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rowan H
Cairns, Australia1,389 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022 • Couples
My wife and I did the hike on the 29/09/2022 from Santa Ana.

We found all kinds of information, or should I say misinformation, online and in our guide book (lonely planet) about this hike so I thought I would clarify a few things.

In terms of getting there there are three options.
(1) You can get a public bus from Santa Ana to Cerro Verde (Park Entrance of Parque National Los Volcanes). This costs 70c USD x 2. You get bus 248 from the La Vencedora Terminal in Santa Ana. It leaves at 0730am but takes 2 hours to get you to the park entrance so you will get there at 0930. Be aware that La Vencedora Terminal is located adjacent to the parque colon and 11 Calle Pte. The three blocks of 11 Calle Pte that surround Parque Colon is actually the red light district of Santa Ana and is a bit dodgy so perhaps try to go around this particular street when walking there.
(2) You can drive - there is a parking lot available for a minimal fee
(3) Arrange private transportation - we used Go Travel El Salvador at a cost of 21USD per person. The cost may be different depending on group size but included a stop at Lago De Coatepeque on the way back, as well as various stops at the miradors on the way up so this was essentially a full day tour.

To do the hike you are told you need to have a local guide to take you up. Problem is there is only a few of them and they will only complete the hike if it’s worth their while. The cost of a local guide is 3 USD pp when shared within a group but I think they will only go up if they can get a group of 10 or so people together. So if you cannot get a adequate sized group together they either wont go up or you could potentially offer them more money to take a smaller group (I note the tripadvisor review that said a private tour is 35USD). In contrast to previous reviews and online information, multiple groups can go up in a day but it depends on the guides. I think most people arrive at the park at 0900 so if you arrive after this there is a chance there wont be a guide available or there wont be enough people to take you up. The days of a single 11am hike are historical. Another piece of misinformation online was that there is a police escort up the mountain. This is not correct. There was 2 police officers at the summit however, one armed with a M4 and another with a side arm for security. The guides seem to communicate using hand held radios. I wasn’t concerned about security going up the mountain, particularly once we became entangled with a group of around 100 schoolchildren also completing the hike.

You are charged 3USD for local guide and 6USD at a ticket booth about 20 minutes walk up from the cerro verde. I note a park entry of 3USD is also written in the literature as a ‘park fee’ for parque nacional los volcanes. I didnt pay this, but it may have been included in the tour.

We started the hike at 0930 and finished at 1300 so a duration of 3.5 hours. We spent about half an hour at the top.

The hike was challenging in parts but very doable for a person of average fitness. It’s 6.9km with a elevation gain of 467m (Altitude 1823m to 2276m).

It was quite cold and windy at the summit so would be a good idea to bring a wind jacket or another layer of clothing that you can take off.

It was also quite exposed at the summit so sunscreen and water would be sensible.

Overall we had a really enjoyable hike. We stopped at Lago De Coatepeque on the way back and given its off the same road you travel to get to here from Santa Ana makes a sensible stop for lunch and a swim post hike.
Written September 29, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kenia s
4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2022 • Friends
5/5! Beautiful experience! The hike can be difficult for elders and those with health conditions that cause them to tire, if you're healthy and enjoy a challenge you'll be able to do it. It's so worth it. An hour and a half up and an hour or so down depending on the group it may be less.

Enter through la Casa de Cristal, there you pay a parking and entrance fee. It's $1.75 parking and the same to enter the area. The Casa de Cristal area is a really pretty nature area perfect for a picnic but I don't know much about that.
Anyways, there a guide will ask if you want a private tour or a group tour, private was 35 but it's 3 dollars if you're part of the group. You have to go with a guide they won't let you go alone. I recommend doing the group. Btw this does not include the fee to enter the volcano hike. You'll go with the guide up to the area where you enter the hike up, there's park officers there and it's 6 dollars for foreigners and 3 for nationals.

All this to say... Do it! It's worth it! I would do it again and again
Written September 3, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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SANTA ANA VOLCANO: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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