COSTA RICA VOLCANOES
Take a look at Arenal, Turrialba, and Irazu volcanoes in this slideshow.
Now you can see why they are must-sees for many people on their Costa Rica vacation.
This tiny country has 112 of them!
Think that if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all? Think again.
This section shows only 5 but you’ll clearly see that each has its own very distinct personality.
All close, all waiting to be discovered by you when you travel to Costa Rica.
Volcanoes are Even on the Costa Rica Flag!
Volcanoes are so much a part of this country that they are in the very fabric and design of the Costa Rica flag.
Designed by Costa Rica’s first first-lady it has proved to be prescient.
Mighty Arenal, First Among Many
Everywhere you travel, these beautiful monsters are close-by.
Arenal is world-famous. Just three hours out of San Jose, this majestic pinnacle sporadically erupts in fiery and earth-rumbling displays year-round.
On your Costa Rica vacation to this mountain, you’ll find lots of adventures awaiting. There are family horseback rides through the jungles with exotic birds and Howler Monkeys.
Spectacular waterfalls are within hiking distance and white-water rafting can be experienced by the whole family.
You’ll be able to zip along on canopy lines high in the trees and even swing like Tarzan (while everybody laughs when you become white as a ghost).
If you like to fish or windsurf, Lake Arenal, in the shadow of the giant, is the place for you.
And, if you’re really brave. . . or totally nuts, you can bungee jump in La Fortuna.
Or, perhaps, you prefer sitting in volcanic hot springs watching the eruption while sipping your daiquiri. You can do that, too, on your Costa Rica vacation to Arenal Volcano
One thing you cannot do is climb Arenal when you travel to Costa Rica. You may be crazy enough to want to but enough climbers have been killed that the government won’t let you be the next in line.
Around Lake Arenal: So Many Things to Do!
And, be sure to go to Lake Arenal while you’re visiting Arenal volcano. It’s just a short, lovely drive and the lake is a very special place.
There are so many things to do at the lake itself you’ll want to spend at least a couple of days here, I promise you.
Great fishing, world-class windsurfing, kayak exploration, horseback riders, and even a REAL SWISS HOTEL that you’ll reach after riding a REAL SWISS TRAIN. There’s so much to do at this lake, I’ve devoted an entire webpage to it. Yep, it’s all here!
Poas: Magnificence in the Central Valley
Just a handful of miles from San Jose International Airport is Poas National Park, dominated by Poas. This is a very popular volcano for Ticos (Costa Ricans) and vacationers alike.
Now eleven million years old and still dancing (just ask the tourists who, on Christmas Day 2009, witnessed its awesome power when it suddenly shot rocks and steam hundreds of feet in the air), it’s Poas Volcano.
As you travel up the mountain, you’ll be surrounded by coffee plantations giving rise to year-round strawberry fields. Be sure to stop at one of the many roadsides stands for special treats!
Now intermittently active and sometimes spouting 600′ geysers, the huge crater, said to be the second-largest in the world, can be seen after an easy hike (even for kids) of about 45 minutes.
The best time for viewing is morning before the clouds roll in over the jungle.
And, be sure to bring your jacket or sweater! You’re going to be high up a mighty mountain and it’s likely to be very cool on this part of your Costa Rica vacation.
Irazu: The Volcano That Saluted JFK
Irazu is forever linked to John F. Kennedy.
On the same day in 1963 the President visited Costa Rica, Irazu erupted. Ironically, the landscape around this volcano is often described as being lunar-like so I like to think of the eruption as a tribute to the man who sent us there.
There are four craters on Irazu and it remains seismically active, though it hasn’t erupted since President Kennedy’s visit.
Irazu is just a short drive from San Jose and, on a clear day, you’ll be able to see both the Pacific and Caribbean from the top. You’ll definitely need a sweater or jacket here because the peak is over 11,000 feet. It’s very chilly!
Turrialba, Walk Inside a Real Volcano and Discover a Lost City, too
It’s only 35 miles from San Jose but plans to take a couple of hours to reach the base of Turrialba because of the mountainous terrain.
This area is very popular with white-water rafters and canyon climbers. One of Costa Rica’s largest volcanoes, it is also one of the few where visitors can hike into the crater itself.
I recently met a nice lady who lives in the mountains of Turrialba.
Monkeys, toucans, and sloths are frequent visitors and, from her home, she can see Turrialba, the Caribbean, and the Lost City.
Yep, the Lost City of Guyabo, a pre-Columbian city dating back more than 2,500 years that mysteriously vanished just before Columbus discovered Costa Rica.
Come visit so that when your friends ask, “What’d you do in Costa Rica? you can say, “Oh, just the usual, you know. We explored the crater of an active volcano and discovered the Lost City.” “What’d you do on YOUR vacation?”
OK, Indiana Jones, discover the Lost City of Guayabo
Barva: In the Heart of Coffee Country
volcanoes_barva Only 11 miles from the San Jose is Barva, the oldest of Costa Rica’s volcanoes.
Dormant (some say extinct) for hundreds of years, it’s visited by very few people.
You can only get to the summit by hiking, a mere 6 hours round-trip.
Fortunately, if you bring your tent, you can camp overnight.
Now, if you’re fit and into Costa Rica eco-tourism, you might want to make this trek when you travel to Costa Rica because there’s a staggering amount of life here.
You’ll find 6000 species of plants (half of all found in Costa Rica and some with very, very large leaves).
And, though it’s not far from San Jose, there are 500 different kinds of animals, including jaguars, pumas, monkeys, and very exotic birds.
Though there are so many places to visit and so many things to see make it a point to take some time to sightsee around a Costa Rica volcano.
Want to learn more about Costa Rica volcanoes? Visit the Costa Rica Volcano Observatory website.