Here are the two most spectacular places in El Salvador. The national park and the caldera are both located next to each other.
The Coatepeque Caldera and Lake Coatepeque were formed between about 72,000 and 57,000 years ago following several minor explosive eruptions. Nowadays, the lake has a surface area of 25.3 km2 and a depth of 115 metres.
When I arrived at the park, the winds were blowing fiercely, and I couldn't hike to the summit of Santa Ana Volcano. With strong winds, it's too dangerous to venture along the crater rim. I spent the day relaxing at a campsite on the edge of the park...
The second day, no luck, winds are still too strong. Again, another day at the campsite waiting for an opportunity to climb the volcano.
Finally, the third day, the winds dropped in intensity. Normally, the hike is done at 11hr with a group guided by a policeman. To climb at another time, it's necessary to make a request in advance to get the mandatory police escort. At around 8hr, the morning of the third day, I see this Salvadorian family arrive, and I asked them if I could join the group. They accepted.
I did the hike in the company of the family. Some of them live in El Salvador, and some live in Canada. Ricardo (black t-shirt) lives in London, Ontario, with his family. His two children speak excellent English, Spanish, and also French which they learned at school.
It was a pleasure to hike with all these nice people. Greetings to Ricardo and all the family.
This friendly policeman escorted us to the summit. He must often hike to the summit since he had no difficulty to climb quite rapidly.