Top 7 Volcanoes to Visit in Costa Rica

Costa Rica’s volcanoes created its lush valleys and diverse ecosystems. See these breathtaking volcanoes if you want to get to the heart of Costa Rica’s natural beauty.

A total of about two-hundred volcanoes can be found in Costa Rica; all of them are members of the Pacific Ring Fire Circle. However, only five of these volcanoes are now considered to be active.

Most of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes are in the Central Highlands and north. These volcanoes attract tourists worldwide due to their many activities.

The volcanoes’ mineral-rich hot springs provide outdoor relaxation. These volcanoes are near rafting, surfing, sportfishing, kayaking, camping, and mountain excursions. That’s why taking Costa Rica vacations should be on your bucket list.

Why Is Costa Rica One of the Top Vacation Spots?

Costa Rican national parks are notable for extreme activities. They include river rafting, cave tubing, canyoning, and zip line. Macaws, sea turtles, and sloths await animal lovers.

Still, it also has a cool, glitzy side. San José, the nation’s capital, is attracting shoppers and foodies thanks to young chefs’ new eateries and bars. In addition, Costa Rica is becoming well-known in the craft brewing scene. And if you simply want to unwind, you can’t beat a luxury spa or a resort on a beautiful beach close to one of the country’s numerous natural hot springs.

One trip through a Costa Rica travel agency might include sunbathing, massages, swimming, surfing, and soaking in a geothermal pool. Culture Trip claims that Costa Rica has 5% of the world’s biodiversity and is home to 27 national parks.

However, not everything consists of dense forests. Rainforests are only part of this biome; they also include cloud forests, marshes, coral reefs, dry forests, and rainforests.

Visiting one of these parks is a great way to spend a day in Costa Rica. And a trek through Tenorio Volcano National Park, home to the breathtaking Rio Celeste waterfall, is a must.

Costa Rica’s Best Volcanoes to Visit

1. Irazu Volcano

Volcan Near the Costa Rican capital of Cartago, an active volcano known as Irazu, may be found in the middle Cordillera range. The name is a mix of the words for point and thunder, ara and tzu.

The name may have come from the nearby Iztaru indigenous village. Most Irazu inhabitants call the city “El Coloso,” meaning “The Colossus.”

That moniker originates from its historical record of devastating eruptions. The enormous size of this mountain, with a peak elevation of 11,260 feet, contributed to its naming. Now Irazu is Costa Rica’s highest active volcano. On a clear day, it is possible to view both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the peak.

The most famous of Irazu’s craters is Diego de la Haya, a crater lake with green waters that attract tourists. Visitors flock to the lake because of its beauty.

The Irazu Volcano is a very volatile active volcano. There have been at least 23 eruptions since it was first reported in 1723.

2. Arenal Volcano

Arenal is the most well-known volcano in Costa Rica, and with good reason. It is an excellent example of a volcanic cone. Smoke and lava often erupted from its top and steamed up the hot springs until 2010.

This volcano was the most active in Costa Rica. The Arenal Volcano has been quiet recently, but scientists believe an eruption might happen at any moment.

Traveling to Arenal is worthwhile for more than just taking in the impressive sight of the volcano rising from the forest floor. Your weeklong visit will need to be longer to finish everything.

White water rafting, hiking to La Fortuna waterfall, canyoning, waterfall jumping, zip line, and ATV riding are popular. Arenal is a great place to go on an adventure trip when you plan to travel to Costa Rica.

Despite minimal volcanic activity, geothermal hot springs are the area’s main attraction. Some resorts and hotels provide access to the springs’ mineral pools. Taking a dip in the hot springs is the best way to relax after a day full of exploration.

3. Poás Volcano

Poas Volcano is another active volcano in Central Costa Rica that is part of the same mountain range as Irazu. Poas, like Irazu, is a highly active volcano. Since 1828, it has erupted 40 times, most recently 3.5 years ago in 2019.

Both of Poas’s crater lakes are located conveniently near the peak. On its northern side is Laguna Caliente, also known as Hot Lake, while on its southern side is Lake Botos. Some say the water at Laguna Caliente is too corrosive to drink. It is one of the most acidic lakes on Earth; its pH is about zero. To the point that it supports almost little aquatic life.

Also, Lake Botos is a pristine, cold crater that hasn’t seen an eruption in over 9,000 years and is home to at least 23 different types of algae. Parkgoers at Poas Volcano National Park may go very close to it without any risk and snap some great photos.

4. Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

The Guanacaste area is home to Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, which may be found in its eponymous national park. Day trips up to the region from the coast provide excellent opportunities for hiking and other outdoor pursuits.

Once within the park’s boundaries, a web of paths leads to the park’s erupting mud pits, blazing fumaroles, and seasonal waterfalls. The crater may be reached after a modest 8-kilometer trek.

Canyoning, white-water rafting, canopy zip line, tubing, and horseback riding are popular activities in Rincón de la Vieja. Hot springs may also be found at Rincón de la Vieja, much as in Arenal. The springs are believed to be soothing, are conveniently located, and provide a welcome respite after a busy day.

In addition to the volcano itself, the land around it is littered with hot springs that harness this geothermal energy. Many hotels, resorts, walking paths, and excursions have sprung up around the volcano due to the national park surrounding it.

5. Barva Volcano

The dormant volcano Barva can be found in central Costa Rica, north of San Jose’s capital city. Lake Laguna de Brava (sometimes spelt “Brava Lake”) now occupies the site of the volcano’s crater.

The three hills on the volcano’s western flank are yet another defining characteristic. Las Tres Marias means “The Three Marys,” after the hills’ religious significance.

The last known eruption of Barva occurred over 8,000 years ago, making it dormant. There were claims that the volcano erupted in the 1760s and again in 1867, but no hard evidence has ever been found to support these claims. 

Since the volcano is no longer active, Sacramento is an agricultural hamlet. The town’s recent popularity as a weekend getaway is due to the national park near Barva Volcano’s base.

6. Tenorio Volcano

Tenorio Volcano is a dormant volcano in the northwest of Costa Rica on the boundary between the provinces of Alajuela and Guanacaste. The volcano has two craters and four separate summits.

Some people call one of these depressions “Montezuma Volcano”. However, most volcanologists consider it an integral component of nearby Mount Tenorio.

Near the peak of Tenorio, which is roughly 2,100 meters (7,900 feet), you will find cloud forests that are home to tapirs and the endangered Puma. The Tenorio, the Tenorio, and the Martirio all begin their journeys as rivers inside the bowels of Tenorio Volcano.

7. Turrialba Volcano

The Cordillera mountain range’s active volcano Turrialba dominates central Costa Rica. It is the most eastern of Costa Rica’s volcanoes and sits beside the equally active Irazu. Many eruptions have occurred at the volcano in the past, the most recent being in April 2017.

The eruptions of the Turrialba Volcano are notoriously powerful and explosive. They have been known to hurl ash and lava onto nearby villages as far as 40 kilometers away.

Despite the volcano’s high activity, a flourishing montane forest grows along its flanks. It provides a home for several fern, moss, and bromeliad species.

Turrialba, at 10,958 feet, is one of the highest volcanoes in Costa Rica, along with its neighbor Irazu. Like Irazu, if the sky is clear, you can view both the Atlantic and Pacific from the peak.

The origins of the name Turrialba are a mystery, with linguistic specialists needing help to agree. The Spanish neighborhood of Torrealba and the Latin term Turris alba (white tower) are possible origins. Experts are divided on whether or not the term originates from the Huetar language.

Final Thoughts

The nation of Costa Rica is renowned for its stunning landscapes. It is well-known as a place to go to see spectacular natural scenery, including several beaches and exotic animals.

However, the volcanoes of Costa Rica are a must-see for every tourist; even one might be the highlight of a vacation there.

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