Costa Rica in Eruption. The Volcanoes
Another experience you can' t miss in Costa Rica is to visit at least one of its VOLCANOes. Because Costa Rica is part of the volcanoic chain of Central America, a 1,500 km chain of VOLCANOes that stretches from Guatemala to Panama.
Among the most popular VOLCANOes although it is not accessible, we find the Arenal VOLCANO. Between 1968 and 2010 was throwing out lava and hot rocks and was the top destination for visits in Costa Rica. During those years, nocturnal fireworks and relaxing hot springs caused the tourism increase so badly. In the mid-2000s, dozens of hotels surrounded the Arenal VOLCANO.
Then, in 2010, the eruptions suddenly stopped. Arenal has become inactive, and is still inactive ever since. But the Arenal VOLCANO could come back to life at any time. Meanwhile, however, it remains an excellent destination. The huge VOLCANO, which rises above the nearby town of La Fortuna, still offers breathtaking views. And the area around the Arenal is full of outdoor adventures. There are waterfalls, swimming pools, hiking trails, whitewater rafting excursions, zip lines, and of course the popular hot springs. Arenal VOLCANO National Park is a good option to see the blackened remains of historic lava flows.
About an hour's drive from San Jose, we have the opportunity to see up close the Poas VOLCANO that rises above the Central Valley of Costa Rica. It has been almost a year closed to visitors from the last eruption in April 2017. Due to its proximity to San Jose, it is a much visited National Park and a morning excursion to admire the VOLCANO and its surroundings is a worthwhile activity.
The top of the VOLCANO is surrounded by cloud forest, but the main attraction is the giant crater of the VOLCANO, which measures 1,320 meters wide and 300 meters deep. The crater's arid lunar landscape contrasts with the exuberant vegetation that surrounds it.
It is often falsely claimed that Poas is one of the world's biggest volcanoic craters. What is certain is that Poás contains one of the most acidic crater lakes in the world. The lake rests on a column of magma cooled to about 500 meters deep. This, at the same time, rests on a camera of fused magma. Both the depth of the lake and its color vary due to rain and volcanoic conditions.
Irazú is the highest VOLCANO in Costa Rica, with a height of 3,432 meters above mean sea level. Although the origin of the name Irazú is unknown, it is most likely derived from indigenous words meaning "earthquake" and "thunder".
Irazú National Park is located 14 km northeast of Cartago. About 27Km from the center of Cartago climbs 2,000 meters until the border of the VOLCANO. From the center of Cartago the journey takes about 45 minutes. On clear days, while driving through the Irazú VOLCANO, you will enjoy spectacular views of the valley below.
From the entrance to the park, a path leads to a viewpoint from where you can observe the depths of the water-filled crater, which measures 1,050 meters wide and 300 meters deep. On clear days it is possible to see both the Caribbean and the Pacific from the top of Irazú, but on most days the dense clouds begin to cover the VOLCANO at mid-morning, so it is recommended to visit this place early.
Turrialba is one of the least visited VOLCANOes in Costa Rica, despite its location only 10 kilometers from the Irazú VOLCANO. Turrialba rises to 3,340 meters (above mean sea level). Its slopes are surrounded by cool cloud forests and dairy farms, which produce the famous Turrialba cheese. If you are looking for a rustic mountain destination, with beautiful landscapes and no crowds, Turrialba is hard to overcome. From Cartago is a trip of approximately 1.5 hours.
The Turrialba Lodge is a working cattle farm with stunning views of the VOLCANO. This is the only hotel near the park that offers a variety of guided tours.
RINCÓN DE LA VIEJA VOLCANO
Rincón de la Vieja is another destination with bubbling mud pots, sulfurous hot springs and steam-filled wells with more than 40 km of trails that cross the southern half of the park, providing access to geological rarities, beautiful waterfalls and the crater of the Rincon de la Vieja VOLCANO that rises to 1,916 meters above mean sea level.
The most challenging trail in the park is the one that reaches the crater of the VOLCANO. It is 8 km of length, and it takes approximately eight hours round trip.
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