National

Visit Irazú Volcano National Park in Costa Rica

Written by Marisol

No visit to Costa Rica would be complete without a trek to 11,260 feet, and visit to Costa Rica’s highest active volcano. On a clear day you can see both the Pacific and Atlantic oceans or hike the 1 kilometer trail loop that winds between the crater lakes.

Highest Volcano in Costa Rica

Although it is has been dormant since 1965, earthquake data shows that magma is still moving beneath the volcano. The first recorded eruption was in 1723, and the most famous eruption poured ash onto the central valley from 1963 and 1965. It started on the day that President John F. Kennedy arrived for a state visit to Costa Rica. The volcano remained active for two more years, spewing lava while the ash eruptions would occasionally produce lightning and columns several kilometers in height.

Irazu Volcano Eruption in 1963

In late 1963, a column of ash rose 8 km in just 4 minutes.

How to Plan Your Visist

The park is especially popular with locals, and on weekends there can be a several hours long wait for traffic approaching the entrance. During the week, however the volcano is easier to visit, and travel time is under 90 minutes driving from San José or 30 minutes from Cartago. A public bus leaves San José every day at 8 am from Calle 1-3, Avenida 2 on the south side of the Gran Hotel Costa Rica. Daytime temperatures fluctuate around freezing, and warm clothing is required. Visit in the morning as visibility is more likely to allow a view of the crater lakes.

Book a Half Day Tour

Many tour companies offer half day trips to Irazú for about $80. Other options combine a half day trip to Irazu with a visit to a coffee plantation or hot springs in the Orosi valley. Ask if the tour price includes the entrance fee to the park, which is $15 for foreign visitors or 1,000 colones for residents. The park closes at 3:30 pm.


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