Located within El Salvador’s Cerro Verde National Park (Parque Nacional Cerro Verde), the Izalco Volcano is the highest in the country and the park’s most visually beautiful peak. It’s also one of the most challenging treks in the park; it takes visitors an average of three hours (one way) to reach the summit at 6,404 feet (1,952 meters).
A baby when compared to other Central American volcanoes, Izalco only formed in 1770 and didn’t stop erupting until 1966. It’s violent eruptions made the volcano a natural beacon for sea farers off the Salvadoran coast, earning it the nickname Lighthouse of the Pacific. These same eruptions were also responsible for sculpting the volcano’s near perfect conical shape, lunar-like and unvegetated, with a 820-foot (250-meter) wide crater at its summit.
Park officials strongly discourage visitors from trekking Izalco Volcano without a guide.