At El Salvador Divers we dive in the volcanic crater lake of Ilopango all year round and in the Pacific Ocean at Los Cobanos during the summer months from November to May, when the sea is at it’s calmest and clearest. Occasionally we venture out to the Volcanic crater lake at Coatapeque which is at an altitude of around 750m.
The volcanic crater lake at Ilopango is roughly 75sq km in area, with a maximum depth of 235m, and was formed after a massive eruption in AD 563. Some historians and scientists believe that this eruption was a contributing factor to the demise of the Roman Empire as ash from here has been found all around the world and they believe that it had a cooling effect on the planet which saw crop failures for a few years.
We dive in many locations in the lake from some of the underwater mounts that are at around 10m with cliff like drops all around to our own Black Hole, the wonderful trip around the island and of course the hot water vents at La Flumeroles. Here you can warm your hands on the hot water rising from the active volcano at 25m and see the sulphur deposits around the cracks in the lake bed.
In the lake we have many variety of fish, freshwater crabs and sponges. The most common of which is the Convict Cichlid shown here.
During the rainy season the water temperature is a very balmy 30C with a marked thermocline at around 15m where it drops to a refreshing 27C. There is a lot of algae blooms in the shallower water at this time but very clear water below the thermocline where the volcanic cliffs are very spectacular.
During the dry season the temperature drops to around 27C and the algae dies and drops tothe bottom of the lake and the shallower waters become very clear and we then get to see the tops of the underwater mounts and all the beautiful sponges and many deposits of pillow lava.
During the dry season when the wind drops and the sea calms and clears we go diving off of the fishing village of Los Cobanos around an hour away from San Salvador. Here we have some shallow diving as the sea bed is only around 15m below the surface. We have numerous dive sites here which allow us to explore the rocky bottom and the many sandy patches. Sometimes we catch the tidal currents and can undertake some great drift dives where we let mother nature do all the hard work. here we can see such wonderful creatures as the Green Moray, the Stone Triggerfish, Spotted Boxfish many angel fish to name a few. We are also lucky enough to occasionally dive with Sperm whales, dolphins and manta rays have also been spotted in the ocean here.
Along with the natural beauty of the sea bed and it’s abundant marine life we also dive on the wrecks of the SS Douglas and the SS Cheribon. These two vessels were sunk over a hundred years ago and still provide some interesting diving.