Coatepeque Caldera

The Lago de Coatepeque ( " Snake Hill" ) is a 24.5 km ² large crater lake in El Salvador and is counted among the most beautiful lakes in Central America.

Geography and Geology

The lake lies at an altitude of 746 meters above sea level. inst about 17 km ( straight line ) south of the city of Santa Ana, in the same department. From the capital, San Salvador, it is some 50 km to the southeast. The cone- shaped island Teopan (also: Isla del Cerro ) is located at the south end of the lake.

The Lago de Coatepeque is of volcanic origin; its age is estimated to be about 50,000 to 70,000 years. The most recent volcanic activity are around 8,000 from 10,000 years back; this is formed the cone smaller side volcanoes - perhaps the island Teopan.

The caldera of the ancient volcano, with its 80 -meter-high crater walls covers an area of ​​about 40.5 square kilometers, of which the lake surface something repeatedly occupies half. The lake has neither inflows nor outflows - he is fed only by rainfall ( 1400-2000 mm annually); be mirror surface is subject to weather-related and seasonal variation of up to 1.50 meters. The information about the depth of the water varies between 80 and 130 meters. The water temperatures at the Seeoberfäche be all year about 24 ° C; even at greater depths they are currently at about 22 ° C.

Around the lake there are several hot springs.


Three Municipalities adjacent to the lake: Santa Ana, Izalco and El Congo; twelve - being accessible by ferry boat - villages engage in fishing activities. The annual catch is about 70,000 to 80,000 tons; yet there is no aquaculture. In the 1990s, tilapia ( Oreochromis niloticus ) were exposed that develop well with the warm water temperatures; whether they will displace the native fish species such as the Managua cichlid ( Parachromis managuensis ), the Black-throated cichlid ( Amphilophus macracanthus ) Amatitlania Coatepeque, inter alia, remains to be seen. For tourism, the lake and its unspoilt, wooded riparian zone play (still) not a big role, although the first smaller eco - hotels and lodges have already been incurred.