Easy summit but beware of scorpions (Skrevet av lyngve 20.04.2013)
Tur foretatt: April 2013.
From the small town of San Ignacio in El Salvador there is only a few buses per day to Las Pilas. We skipped the early 7:00 AM bus, and decided on the 9:30 AM departure instead. After 45 minutes on a very steep hairpin road, we jumped off at the pass, Rio Chiquito, at 2200 m.a.s.l. The bus fare to Rio Chiquito is only USD 1.15.
From the pass (Rio Chiquito) a cobble stone road, later turning into a dirt road, goes almost all the way to the summit. The sign in Rio Chiquito says 5.5 km to the summit, but we felt it was shorter. The road was easy walking in a pleasant temperature. There were a few barking dogs along the road, but the evil ones were safely behind fence. We had to pay a 2 USD entrance fee, because this mountain is private property. At the end of the road we arrived a nice campsite with restaurants. They all looked closed at the moment, maybe they only have open during holidays and weekends. From the camp site it's just a few minutes stroll to the summit of El Pital. Two barking rottweilers were guarding the telecom installation at the summit, but they were behind a tall fence with barbed wire. It was easy to identify the highest point of Cerro El Pital, a white stone marking the border between El Salvador and Honduras.
After the mandatory summit photos we descended to the campsite, ate a few biscuits and continued down to the pass at Rio Chiquito. We found two guys waiting along the road and we asked them if the bus was going to arrive anytime soon. They replied that there was no more buses today (really??). One minute later, a brand new pickup stopped at the pass and the two boys jumped into it. They invited us to join them. We were dropped off at San Ignacio and we were a bit surprised that the driver didn't want any money. Another example of the hospitality in El Salvador.
This was indeed a short day. No doubt, this is the easiest country high point in Central America. We enjoyed a big lunch at a local comida in San Ignacio, then we headed back to our hotel in La Palma, just a short busdrive away (USD 0.25).
Beware of scorpions in this area. Last night there was a scorpion hiding in my bed in La Palma. Just sheer luck I saw it before I jumped into bed. Otherwise I might have ended up in a medical facility that night.