El Salvador’s national parks promise access to raw nature, sweeping views, vibrant birdlife, and outdoor adventure. From volcano-covered landscapes to sites filled with cloud-skimming peaks, primary forest, rivers, and waterfalls, here are the must-see national parks for nature lovers in El Salvador.
El Imposible National Park
Located near the border with Guatemala, El Imposible is El Salvador’s largest national park. The park is packed with rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and tropical forest. Its name (meaning “the impossible”) refers to its treacherous gorge, which—prior to the building of the bridge that now traverses it—cost many lives. Wild boars, pumas, and black-crested eagles all live in the park.
Cerro Verde National Park
Also known as Los Volcanes National Park, this park is home to a trio of volcanoes—Izalco, Cerro Verde, and Santa Ana—all of which are accessible to hikers. At 7,812 feet (2,381 meters), Santa Ana is the highest, and one of its four craters holds a glowing green lake. Active Izalco, nicknamed the Lighthouse of the Pacific because of its frequent eruptions, is a challenging climb, but the views at the top are unrivaled. The now extinct Cerro Verde is carpeted with cloud forest, and hummingbirds can be seen flittering around the foliage.
Parque Nacional de Montecristo
Situated in the northwestern corner of El Salvador at the border with Honduras and Guatemala, this verdant natural park boasts a dense expanse of cloud forest where many colorful bird species, including iridescent quetzals and toucans, thrive.