Location: San Salvador
Distance: 5.5 km
Time: 2-3 hours
People seen: 0
Difficulty: 3/5 (exposure danger)
Guidebook: Moon El Salvador (2014)
Boqueron volcano (also known as Quetzaltepec) is visible from virtually everywhere in San Salvador city. With the relatively recent improvement in infrastructure, the Boqueron National Park on the crater rim is becoming an increasingly popular destination for local and foreign tourists alike. Within the park itself the only path is a short trail from the car park to the crater rim, but it is also possible to leave the park and walk around the rim, or descend to the crater bottom. In both cases, the usual precautions about checking the local security situation apply.
Fairly obviously, the crater rim path is far easier than the crater descent. The path starts at the cafe on the rim, after the sign notifying you about leaving the park boundary, near a short wooden bridge. Passing under the bridge, the path immediately climbs, with the cafe on the left.
The trail for the first half of the hike is good, as it is used by locals who live and work on the far side of the volcano slope (there is even a house built right on the edge halfway around). At this point it is possible, on a clear day, to see as far as Santa Ana and Izalco volcanoes, nearly 40 kilometres away. The path also offers a unique angle on Boqueron crater and the Boqueroncito cinder cone inside.
The second half of the hike sees the trail becoming less distinct. In one section there is a very clear and wide path that runs perpendicular to the rim trail, directly down the outside of the volcano. This is not the correct route. As a rule the path always follows the rim very closely, never really moving away from it. Sometimes it moves very close indeed – there are some short sections that are extremely exposed, where a fall would be guaranteed fatal. If in any doubt, there is always the option of turning around and going back the way you came.