After the heat of El TUnco our weekend break was up in the mountains at an altitude of 2000m. We drove up to the National park of Cerro Verde which is a collection of three large volcanos.
The change in temperature was immediate. Falling from the mid 30’s down to the mid 20’s. We arrived at Cerro Verde late in the afternoon and arranged to camp there for the night. This a great campsite which is completely silent at night and even has access to power.
The only way to hike the volcanoes in the park is to go on an organised hike which start from the parking lot at 11am. We had decided to climb Santa Ana which is 2381m high. Santa Ana last erupted in 2005 when it killed people with massive boulders thrown from the crater. The other major volcano here is called Irazu and is a bare cinder cone which isn’t as rewarding to climb but is a classic volcano shape.
We were soon setting out with a guide who couldn’t have been older than 14 and two policeman to guard the group. There have been violent robberies in this area.
The hike first descended the side of the volcano we were on and the views were obscured by cloud which was rolling in and out. Then there was a slog up Santa Ana itself. It took 2 hours to walk to our destination which was a the beautiful crater lake of the Santa Ana volcano. There was a slight sulphurous smell and the waters of the lake were a vibrant green. Unfortunately the views off the volcano were obscured by cloud.
On returning to the truck we decided to stay another night in Cerro Verde and enjoy the cool climate. In the morning there were clear skies and we could see all the way to the pacific coast.
After leaving Cerro Verde we visited Lago de Coatepeque and drove down to the lake. However the lake is completely surrounded by houses which are all walled off and we couldn’t find a place to get close to the lake other than a couple of unattractive looking restaurants.
We decided to head back to the beach !