Five Volcanoes to See in Costa Rica, Flickr: clearlyambiguous

Arenal in Action!


For many, the thought of visiting Costa Rica is to encounter luxurious eco-friendly hotels and upscale lodges, and of course to brush shoulders with some of the most beautiful places on Earth. From unspoilt beaches to magnificent volcanoes, Costa Rica offers so many options to visitors. There are six active volcanoes and 61 dormant ones, so despite its small size, the country is bursting with activity underground.

If you’re a big fan of volcanoes –if not to actually venture too close to them, but just to photograph—here are five you need to put on your list as you visit.


Costa Rica is known for its active volcanoes, and the most famous one of all being Arenal. It is a caldera volcano, which means the craters are filled with water and rising steam. Arenal used to be the country’s most active volcano, but currently the eruptions have been put on hiatus since 2010. Arenal is over 5,400 feet tall and is located northwest of San Jose. It is considered a pretty young volcano at 7,500 years of age (in contrast, Hawai’is Mauna Kea is over one million-years-old).

Paos Volcano:

Located in the Central Highlights of Costa Rica, this is higher than elevation than Arenal, and rises to over 8,800 feet. It is one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the country, and visitors can see geysers exploding in the air. It is close to San Jose, around 1.5 hours away.

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano:

Part of nine continuous craters that form the Rincon de La Vieja National Park, this cinder cone is pretty hard to hike to, with the ascent being almost a sheer straight climb of over 5,000. The top of the cone is home to several dwarf cloud rainforests.

Irazu Volcano:

Another volcano located in the Central Cordillera Highlands, Irazu is the tallest in Costa Rica, measuring 11,260 feet. It has a very photogenic mineral-rich lake which is known to transform color, being emerald green and crimson red. In Costa Rica, the locals call it El Coloso because of the number of catastrophes that the volcano has engendered in the past. It is very close to San Jose and tourists can visit the very top—there are plenty of buses that shuttle them from San Jose.

Turrialba Volcano:

Located in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, this is another extremely tall volcano, and the second tallest at 10, 919 feet. It is considered a dormant volcano, with the last major eruption being in 1866. There is constant smoke, gas and other fumes that emanate from the top.

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photo: clearlyambiguous


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