HOP ON - HOP OFF
Here you can discover the grandeur of the highest volcano in Costa Rica.
Easily accessible and close to the city, it has five craters and breathtaking views.
Observing the craters of the volcano is the main purpose of those who visit this National Park, located 19.2 miles (31 km) from Cartago city.
With a beautiful mountain setting, low vegetation and a very wet and cold weather, this site presents fog most of the time.
On clear days you can see from its top both Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, much of the national territory and, and with a telescope even the Lake of Nicaragua.
Another sector you can visit is Prusia, which has 9.9 miles (16 km) of roads to travel and spend leisure time in the middle of nature. This sector is the perfect destination for "runners" who want to experience contact with the force of nature while exercising.
Its maximum elevation is 11260 feet (3432 m) above sea level, being the highest volcano in Costa Rica, it has an average annual temperature of 41 fahrenheit (5 ° C) to 48.2 fahrenheit (9 ° C.), and a rainfall of 9.3 feet (2387 mm) in the Craters sector and 5.0 feet (1527 mm) annually in Prusian sector. It is a stratovolcano (distinct layers of volcanic material), with irregular subconical shape and five distinct craters.
Within this protected wilderness area several rivers and streams born giving rise to the basins of Reventazón, Sarapiqui, Sucio and Toro Amarillo Rivers. Due its height and position in the Central Volcanic Range Irazu Volcano is a strategic point for telecommunications in the country.
Irazú Volcano National Park was created by Law No. 1917 of July 30, 1955, published in Official newspaper La Gaceta 175 of August 9 of that year. Later the park was expanded by Executive Decree No. 26945-MINAE of August 22nd 1988, for having a current area of 2000 ha.
The origin of its name comes from an Indian village that existed in the volcano called Iztarú, word meaning, for them, hill of tremor and thunder. However, through the years by verbal communication the name was changed to Irazú.
Records of the eruptive activity of the volcano date back to 1723 when a strong eruption occurred, according to documented records by Diego de la Haya Fernandez, Governor of the Province of Cartago at the time. During
the nineteenth century the volcano fumaroles presented several periods of activity described by foreigners traveling in the country.
In 1963, a buildup of volcanic materials in the bed of Reventado River caused an avalanche that destroyed about 300 houses in Taras de Cartago City.
In 1994 a sudden explosion occurred on the north wall of the main crater producing an avalanche that slipped into the bed of Rio Sucio River, reaching beyond the bridge over the same river, located in the Braulio Carrillo highway. Since then, the volcano has only presented fumaroles on the north wall of the main crater.
Wear comfortable clothing and closed shoes for hiking. On sunny days hat and sunscreen is required; in cloudy and rainy days, coats and capes.
Being a zone of volcanic activity, it is important to address regulations given by park guards to protect your physical integrity in the event of an emergency.
Note that during peak visitation days, you will probably have to also stand in line to use the restroom.
Weather conditions at the top of Irazú Volcano are changing, so there is not always certain that you will see the craters. Ask about weather conditions before your visit it. For obvious reasons, it is not possible to refund the ticket paid price.
At lunch areas you must take care of raccoons and coatis (pizotes) that could be trying to "steal" your food.
It is important to note that, as in other protected areas, at Irazú Volcano National Park, the following are not allowed:
- Being drunk in the park and consumption or use of drugs.
- Entering with animals or pets.
- Removing stones, plants or other natural resource of wilderness.
- Going out from trails or public use areas.
- Smoking (Law 9028).
- Throw garbage.
- Feeding wild animals.