Costa Rican Volcanoes
||Volcán Irazú is situated just
outside of San José, the capital city. It erupted several times during the
20th century. A green, acid lake currently occupies the main crater. For
scale, several people can be seen along the fence line in the foreground.
|The best way to access the
Turrialba summit is on horseback. The Volcán Turrialba Lodge, where we
stayed, had plenty of horses for everyone. Even those who have never
ridden enjoyed the ascent and really appreciated the descent at the end
of the day.
||The valleys surrounding Turrialba
frequently experience a daily tropical rainstorm well below the summit
giving the feeling of riding on top of the clouds.
|Teetering on the Turrialba rim
trail is a heady experience. The vertical drop-off into the crater is not
an experience anyone wants to try. The outer slope is scaleable on foot
but is typically loose material that slows the ascent.
|Volcán Turrialba is the sister
volcano to Irazú. It has not erupted since colonial time. Recently,
however, there have been deep seismic rumblings that have received
attention from the local media. The summit is composed of three craters,
shown in this image. The farthest is the oldest and the closest is the
youngest. Continuous fumarolic emmissions rise from the crater and deposit
condensate minerals around the vents. The trail in the middle distance
leads to the central crater from which a few minor fumaroles are active.
It is too treacherous to enter the active crater but a trail around the
rim allows viewing from three sides. On a really clear day both the
Atlantic and Pacific coasts can be seen from the summit area.
||The bottom of Turrialba's central
crater is inactive except for minor steam fumaroles. This allows close
inspection of the fumarolic minerals. The descent into the crater is
fairly easy, even with the thin air at the summit region (Foto by Liz Mockbee).
|Arenal is Costa Rica's most
active volcano. Located near the town of Fortuna, it has been in
continuous eruption for decades. Eruptive activity is best seen at night.
||Tabacon Hot Springs resort
provides elegant hot springs recreation. The water that feeds the spring
is heated by the magma beneath nearby Arenal volcano. Eruptions are often
visible from the springs at night.
|One of the other amenities at
Tabacon is the in-pool refreshment bar. This is good reason to save Costa
Rican change so that paper money doesn't get wet.
||Poás is another multicratered
cone. Its summit is often enveloped in clouds. The active crater has an
acid lake and a lot of fumarolic activity. Phreatic explosions
occasionally occur as well as rarer pyroclastic activity. The crater is
situated in one of Costa Rica's most modern national parks.
|A short distance from the main
crater is Lago Bodos, a cold water lake found in an older crater. The
water appears to be very fresh; no fumarolic activity is seen here.
The Caribbean Coast
Río Pacuare Rafting
Costa Rican Fauna