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Laguna de Alegría

  • (worth a detour)
  • Moderate
  • Low
  • half day
  • 2 2

The greenest crater lake in Central America

Laguna de Alegría, Alegría, El Salvador

The Laguna de Alegría is a greenish lagoon located near the mountain village Alegría. The village lies at the hillside of the Tecapa volcano and has a mild and pleasant climate. The mountain region is famous for its coffee plantations and other colourful flowers which are cultivated over here. A common saying amongst the villagers is, that nature and history have left a beautiful gift in the mountains. One of the most spectacular nature spots you can visit in this region is the Lagoon of Alegría.


The lagoon is situated about 2 kilometers outside the village and easily reachable by foot on your own. The lagoon is located in the crater of the Tecapa volcano in the Tecapa-Chinameca mountain range. The route takes you along a cobblestone road through coffee plantations and past exotic, colourful flowers. On the way you can enjoy nice panoramic views over the valley and the mountains. The walk is easy and maybe you even get a ride back to Alegría from the crater.


The lagoon has a deep green, emerald-like colour changing towards yellow at its borders. The the sulfur in the water gives this spectacular greenish-yellow colour to the lake. As a matter of fact, the Chilean author Gabriela Mistral named the lagoon “Esmeralda de las Américas” (Emerald of America) because of its deep and saturated colour. During dry season, the lake is somewhat smaller and you can see trails and pattern of yellow sulfur on the sun-dried and cracked ground of the lake.


There are two legends around the lake. One of them is about a beautiful mermaid living in the lagoon and coming out at night. She is loved by all the young villagers, which take a swim at the water. The other legend is about the ‘Palmerito encantado’ (the delighted dwarf fan palm) and tells about this small tree which is found at the rim of the crater and which can move around freely. Maybe you are lucky enough to spot either the mermaid or the little palm tree when you are visiting the Laguna de Alegría.

How to get there

You can easily walk there. The hike takes about one hour. You head out of town in direction Santiago de Maria, soon you will see a sign and a cobblestone road to your right side. This is the road to the lagoon, which you have to follow.