Central America is one of the most adventure-packed places in the world. From lush jungles to high mountains and beautiful beaches, this area in Latin America has so much to offer. Maybe you loved South America and are ready to see more of this fascinating region? Then let us inspire you with some of our top volcanoes to see on your holiday to Central America.
1. Cerro de Oro hike and Santiago Village, Lake Atitlan Guatemala.
Difficulty level: medium
Take a watertaxi to Cerro de Oro where you will disembark. Then, stroll through this charming village to begin your hike. After an hour’s climb, you will reach the summit of the Cerro de Oro (Hill of Gold) for fabulous views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes. Finally, a short walk along a local track back to Santiago. Here you will have lunch and enjoy some free time in this pretty Mayan village.
Did you know that you can do all this and more in our sample Best of Guatemala itinerary?
2. Arenal Volcano Hike, Costa Rica
Difficulty level: medium
Arenal Volcano has been active since 1968 and frequently ejects gases, water and cloud of smoke. Sometimes, these eruptions are accompanied by powerful thunder. During major eruptions, the lava is flung from the crater at temperatures of up to 1000 °C, before cooling down as it slowly flows down the slopes.
A short hike through one of the trails close to the volcano area will give you a chance to be in contact with life in the forests and the activities around it. After visiting the volcano, relax at the famous Tabacon hot springs. Even better, you can admire Arenal Volcano as it erupts, all from the comfort of the spa!
But this area of Costa Rica has many other great adventure activities on offer! How about visiting the Hanging Bridges, a series of suspended trails in the rainforest canopy? Alternatively, if heights are not your thing, you can opt for the Safari Float tour. You will be able to see firsthand the abundant wildlife around Peñas Blancas River. You can enjoy the peacefulness the sounds of the river and surrounding wildlife as you are gently paddled along.
Check out our Classic Costa Rica sample itinerary, for some ideas on how to combine this exciting destination with other highlights!
3. Poas Volcano, Doka Cofee Estate and La Paz Waterfall Gardens, San Jose, Costa Rica
Difficulty level: easy
Why not see Poas Volcano as well as Arenal? Depart San Jose driving past the city of Alajuela to reach the spectacular Poas Volcano. As you ascend towards the Poás Volcano you will notice the change in temperature and vegetation. See coffee plantations as well as fern, flower and strawberry farms along the way.
Along the way, visit Doka Coffee Estate for a delicious breakfast and a coffee tour. Here, you will learn about the ancient techniques used by the experts to produce one of the best coffees in Costa Rica. After the coffee tour, continue to Poás Volcano where you can admire the impressive main crater with its sulphur fumaroles. Finally, continue to La Paz Waterfall Gardens. Inside the park, you can check out the hummingbird gallery, bird house, butterfly garden and the frog’s exhibit.
4. Pacaya Volcano, Antigua, Guatemala
Difficulty level: difficult
The smoke-belching Pacaya Volcano (2,552m) is one of the most famous volcanoes in Central America. Start at Pacaya’s foothills for a steep hike through a lush pine forest. A wonderful panorama unfolds on the way up, offering views of northern volcanoes, the Pacific lowlands and all the way to El Salvador. At the base of the peak itself, a barren moonscape of loose rock and pebbles greets you, adding tricky footing to the adventure. Steam rises from numerous vents, which sometimes yield a view of bright orange magma deep inside. This experience rewards enthusiastic climbers with spectacular panoramic views and a delicious gourmet picnic lunch. Why not include a few cultural day in the region visiting the highlands and the markets during your stay in Guatemala?
5. Giant Millenary Quercus tree hike, Boquete Panama.
Difficulty level: easy
This amazing hike begins in a Nature Reserve that belongs to Baru Volcano National Park. You will retrace the steps of pre-Columbian Indians into a remote virgin cloud forest. Surrounding the perimeter of Baru Volcano, this is the habitat of five of the most ancient trees in Panama. During the hike you will have the privilege of seeing the enormous Quercus Trees, which grow throughout Panama and Costa Rica.
The trail follows the Quebrada La Mina, a gorgeous creek that meanders through the ridges and valleys above Boquete. And, with more than 220 bird species native to the area, including the elusive Quetzal, birding opportunities abound. During the hike, you may also spot mammals such as howler monkeys, white faced capuchins and two-toed sloths. Even better, this adventure is suitable for all passengers given the easy and accessible trails! Hiking from tropical cloud forest to tropical rain forest, the stunning trail takes around 4-6 hours to complete.
6. Irazu Volcano National Park, Costa Rica.
Difficulty level: medium
The Irazú Volcano is situated in the Cordillera Central and is a relatively short and pleasant drive from San Jose. The trip begins by ascending the breathtaking summit of the Irazu Volcano. Along the way you will pass varying types of vegetation, from coffee plantations, to ferns, depending on the elevation.
Finally, the trek leads up to a spectacular view of the massive crater lake, with a mystical green hue and surrounded by jagged rocks. And, on a clear day you can actually see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans!
7. Mombacho Volcano, Granada, Nicaragua
Difficulty level: Difficult
The Mombacho Volcano is one of the most prominent volcanoes in Central America. Located only 10 km from Granada, this is one of the most accessible volcanoes in the region. At the top of Mombacho Volcano Natural Reserve lie two dormant craters in dense cloud forest. Well established trails and a Biological center make Mombacho an adventure not to be missed! Hike beautiful trails to appreciate the unique landscape of Nicaragua.
And for those caffeine lovers out there, why not include a visit to Las Flores coffee plantation along the way? This is a unique opportunity to visit a working coffee plantation, idyllically located on the slopes of the Mombacho Volcano. Here you will learn about the process of coffee cultivation, harvesting and processing. And, at the end of your tour you will enjoy a coffee tasting and incredible views from Hacienda Café Las Flores. Moreover, your visit supports a traditional Nicaraguan working coffee farm!
8. Masaya Volcano and Market, Granada, Nicaragua.
Difficulty level: Easy
Start your journey with a visit to Masaya Volcano, an active and smoking crater. At the top, you can peek over the edge, and look into the impressive crater, which is continuously emitting smoke and sulphur gases. Then, from this central crater it is possible to hike to other craters or viewpoints. Finally, our driver will take you to the Handcraft Market where will have the opportunity to admire ceramics, woodcarving, hammocks, cigars, leather work and more!
Nicaragua is one of Central America’s most underrated destinations. Why not extend your stay with a visit to the twin volcanic island of Ometepe? Or indulge in a stay at stunning Jicaro Island Ecolodge or Morgan’s Rock?
Are you excited about seeing the volcanoes in Central America? Well, this adventure packed region can be tailored to your needs. So why not get in touch with one of our Travel Specialists? We’ll create the perfect itinerary, just for you!