Volcanoes of Costa Rica

Costa Rica is located in the region of the world aptly called the Pacific Ring of Fire. It has over 200 identifiable volcanic formations spread throughout the country. Volcanoes are an important part of the country’s natural diversity. Costa Rica has benefited greatly from the mineral rich soil which is a result of past volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes captivate visitors and scientists who visit the country and are one of the most popular tourists attractions.

Arenal, La Fortuna

The Arenal Volcano is located in the sleepy town of La Fortuna. The volcano sits at 5,358 feet and is considered a “young” volcano. Scientists estimate it to be around 7,000 years old. It’s last major eruption was in 1968 but since that time it had been spewing and fuming, giving visitors quiet a show.  In late 2010,  the volcano started to become very quiet and it’s explosions have recently become rare. Visitors still flock to La Fortuna not only to see the sleepy giant which towers majestically over the town of La Fortuna, but also to experience it’s surrounding waterfalls as well as luxurious hot spring resorts, which are fed by the volcano.


Poas Volcano

The Poas Volcano is located in the central region of Costa Rica. It is most known for it’s crater lakes. Lake Botos is the inactive crater lake located in Poas Volcano National Park. It’s waters are cold and clear and it’s surrounded by the lush cloud forest.


The other crater is the Laguna Caliente. It’s waters are boiling hot. The brilliant bluish green color of the water is due to the high sulfur content and it is considered to be one of the most acidic lakes in the world. Poas has frequent geyser like eruptions spewing acidic water from the crater in to the air. Therefore, the surrounding area of this crater is barren and lifeless due to the acid rain and fog.


Irazu Volcano

The Irazu Volcano is the tallest volcano in Costa Rica, standing at an impressive  11, 260 feet. From the top, on a clear day, it is possible to see both the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. It is known for it’s several craters, one which contains Diego de la Haya,  a deep green crater lake. It has erupted 23 times since it’s first historically recorded eruption in 1723. In Costa Rica it is known as “El Coloso” due to the catastrophes it has caused in it’s recent past.

The Volcanoes can be divided in to three different range systems. The Guanacaste range contains Rincon de la Vieja, Orosi Volcano, Miravalles Volcano, Tenorio Volcano and Arenal Volcano. The Central range is made up of Poas Volcano, Irazu Volcano, Barva Volcano and the Turrialba Volcano. The Talamanca range only contains one volcano, the El Viejo.

Of all the volcanoes in Costa Rica – Arenal, Poas, Irazu, Orosi, Ricon de la Vieja and Turrialba are considered active.


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