Visit Costa Rica’s Volcanoes
Rent a car and visit the volcanoes for a great Costa Rican road trip
Part of the Pacific Rim’s Ring of Fire, Costa Rica has three volcanic ranges: the Guanacaste, Central, and Talamanca. While it’s not possible to see every single one of the 200+ volcanic formations, a tour around the country will take you to see 5 of the most active, with the added bonus of seeing more of the Costa Rican countryside.
Rincón de la Vieja’s name translates as the Old Maid’s Corner and comes from a local legend about a young woman’s suitor who was thrown into the crater by her father. Although the crater trail is closed, you can still visit the fumaroles and mud pots at the national park of the same name. Liberia is about 14 miles southwest of the volcano.
Currently resting between eruptions, Arenal, in Arenal Volcano National Park, stands alone, rising out of the surrounding plains. Still an active volcano, Arenal fuels a number of hot springs and overlooks an expansive body of water, Lake Arenal, the largest lake in Costa Rica at 85-square-kilometre (33 sq mi).
A visit to one of the local hot springs for a restorative afternoon or evening makes this a must-do experience. Some of our favorite hotels in the area are The Springs for a high-end, luxury experience, and Vocano Lodge for a very comfortable, but more affordable stay.
Authorities recently reopened Poás National Park’s crater observation area, reservations required from the park’s website. Poás is in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, clearly visible from the airport. Its crater holds the largest volcanic lagoon in the world, which is an amazing cerulean blue and 1,000 feet deep. There’s also a second crater with a lagoon nearby. One of the most beautiful hotels, and experiences, in the area is Peace Lodge, located within La Paz Waterfall Gardens.
Irazú is the tallest, at 11,260 ft., in Costa Rica. It has 5 craters, the largest one stretches 3,345 ft. Aptly named, Irazú comes from a local indigenous word meaning peak or mountain of thunder and earthquake. Last erupting in 1994, the volcano, is one of the most well-known not just in Costa Rica, but also in the world.
Tenorio has 4 volcanic peaks and 2 craters, the largest peak is nicknamed Montezuma Volcano. Not as tall as some of the others, Tenorio has its own charms: primary cloud forest, tropical rain forest, hot springs, small geysers, and Río Celeste. Río Celeste is famous for its unbelievably blue, light blue waters, which are the result of the mineral reactions at the confluence of 2 rivers. A must-see without a doubt. For a romantic stay in this beautiful area, check out the Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel.
Your journey around rural Costa Rica offers more than these volcanoes. You’ll visit cloud and rain forests, dry tropical forests, savannahs, hot springs, and the small country towns and cities that will give you a truer picture of the Tico lifestyle.
Contact us today for rates, availability and all the information you need regarding renting a car or SUV in Costa Rica; we’ll have you on the road to adventure in no time.