Last weekend, I climbed my third volcano in Guatemala. The Ipala is about 1650m high.
The Ipala is located in the department of Jutiapa, in eastern Guatemala. Since the administrative capital – also named Jutiapa, is situated at an altitude of about 900m, the Ipala rises about 750 meters above the level of the sorounding area. The special feature is, that there is a lake in the crater with clean, crystal clear water. You can even swim! Since only relatively few visitors come, everything is very clean. The best idea is to come during the week, when you have the crater lake almost to yourself.
How to get there:
By car or bus from the capital to Jutiapa. The fare of the buses, is at 20-30 quetzales (3-4 euros) for the 120 km long route. In Jutiapa, you can wait directly at the main street (CA1) when you leave the bus from Guate, and you have to take a bus to Santa Catarina Mita. There are also buses, leaving from one of the local bus-terminals (ask!). From “Mita”, there are two options. Either to Agua Blanca. There you can drive (with all-terrain four-wheel drive) to a place, situated about 50m below the crater lake. The second option is to continue (about 20km) on the road to Esquipulas. The turnoff to the Ipala National Park is signposted. On foot, you need about 2-4 hours up, depending on your fitness. There are a lot of stones and the path is quite steep. By car (on the weekend, locals provide pickup trucks that transport you for about 20Q), you can save about half of the way. The rest is a narrow, steep,rocky and dusty path to the top.
In the “National Park” Ipala
If you arrive at the top, you pay 5 quetzales (60 euro cents) and get a short speech, what you can do and what you are not allowed to do (discard rubbish etc.). Toilets and changing rooms are available.
“National park” Ipala
When you arrive at the top, you have to pay 5 quetzales (60 euro cents) entrance fee and get a short speech, what you can do and what you are not allowed to do (discard rubbish etc.). Toilets and changing rooms are available.
You can swim, enjoy the view and walk around a part of the lake. In both directions, the lake and the surrounding area, the views are bombastic!
I would recommend anyone to come as long as tourism has not yet discovered this pearl of Jutiapa (on the border with Chiquimula).