Exploring the Natural Beauty of Costa Rica’s Volcanoes

Exploring the Natural Beauty of Costa Rica’s Volcanoes

The natural beauty and wonderful surroundings that have been blessed upon Cost Rica means that there is plenty to see and do, whether you want to take it easy or test your stamina. The enormous volcanoes that tower over the country can be as much a reason to visit Costa Rica as not to visit, but these living mountains are an incredible natural attraction to behold. Each one holds something different, and provides a completely different experience when you visit. Reaching the summit is rewarding enough in itself, but when you gaze upon the views and see the weird and wonderful craters you will be astounded.

Choosing Where

From vicious bubbling sulfurous craters to placid crater lakes surrounded by forest, there is a volcano for everyone! Some of Costa Rica’s volcanoes are still active, and visiting some of them is prohibited for safety reasons, like at the great Arenal stratovolcano, but there are still plenty of others to discover. Whether it is Poás, Irazú, or Rincón de la Vieja, it is really worth having an experienced guide with you to make sure you stay on track. They will also entertain with insightful information about the volcanoes, natural landscapes, and wildlife you encounter.

How to Prepare

How much you need to prepare for your Costa Rica volcano adventure depends on how hard you intend to take it. There are plenty of trails that are fairly easy going, and others that are complete leg burners. Make sure you do not try too much at the beginning, and be aware of your hiking capabilities. The best time of year to go is the driest season, which falls between December and March. While it might be quite warm at the summit, the temperature can drop dramatically when you are at the summit, so make sure you pack a jumper or jacket, and also a thin waterproof too just in case it does rain! There are plenty of online resources that will help you to prepare yourself before a hike, but the bare essentials you must pack are plenty of water, a first aid kit, a mobile phone is case of emergencies, some rations, and a camera to get some snaps of the amazing views up there!

Start with Poás

Perhaps the most popular volcano to visit in Costa Rica is Poás, but is really because it is so close to San José. You definitely will not be the only one visiting, and you do not have to hike that much at all as buses actually stop close to the crater. The sulfuric lake that fills the crater bubbles and belches, and this volcano is very much active, but not considered a threat. It is a great place to start, with the spectacular geysers firing jets of steam and water, and a gentle hike around the 1 kilometer wide crater.

Move on to Irazú

If you do not want to overdo it quite yet, try the enormous Irazú next. This is the tallest volcano in the country, but there is a paved road that winds up a large part, so much of the journey to the summit is not too arduous. The last stretch of the hike up to the summit once the paved road ends is short, but it is worth seeing the amazing mineral-rich crater lake. This small crater is less than 100 meters deep, and if you are lucky you will see the color of the lake change color, from a dark red to a glowing green.

Take on Rincón de la Vieja

For something more challenging, try scaling the Rincón de la Vieja volcano, which reaches up 1740 meters. It is one of the smaller volcanoes in the country, but hike up is no walk in the park. It is a 10 kilometer hike that cuts through tropical rainforest, and the steep last 2 kilometer stretch is a the icing in the cake. Set in the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, it is a cinder cone volcano that commands awesome views over the entire national park.

Leave Just Footprints

Visiting this country’s amazing volcanoes is such a great way to explore the natural wonders of Costa Rica, without having an impact on the local environment. Remember not to leave rubbish or take flowers while you are out hiking, the only sign of you being there should be your footprints.

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