Human beings have always been marveled at the magnificence of volcanoes. The natural shows that they offer during their activity are worth seeing at least once in a lifetime. The volcanoes of Costa Rica are a sample of the natural beauty of these structures, which we can enjoy safely.
There are more than 200 volcanic structures in Costa Rica, of which only 112 are clearly identified. But why Costa Rica has so many volcanoes? How they affect the country? Which ones are the most important? Where can I go to see a volcano? Continue reading our blog post this week and find out the answers to all of these questions and much more information about the volcanoes of Costa Rica.
History and facts of the volcanoes of Costa Rica
The volcanoes can be located within the continental territory or submerged within the Coco underwater range. Our volcanoes are the product of the geological subduction activity of the Coco plate under the Caribbean, which is also part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. The Pacific Ring of Fire concentrates the most important subduction zones in the world, and more than 75% of active and inactive volcanoes in the world.
All the great volcanoes of our country can be considered relatively young since they count less than 600,000 years. Although this number may sound relatively high, the volcano considered the oldest in the world found in Brazil is 1,900 million years old.
Out of the 200 volcanoes of Costa Rica, only 5 of them have registered activity in the last two centuries. The oldest recorded eruption dates from the year 1723, presenting a strong eruption of the Irazu Volcano in Cartago. Currently, there are 3 active volcanoes: the Turrialba volcano in Cartago, the Rincon de la Vieja volcano in Guanacaste and the Poás volcano in Alajuela.
It is important to mention that the 5 active volcanoes of Costa Rica are within National Parks, which makes it possible that in case of eruption the surrounding areas are closed and thus avoid tragedies. In addition, the country has a Vulcanological Observatory with experts in the area who perform a constant monitoring of the activity of the volcanoes of Costa Rica in order to mitigate the negative effects and ensure that the visit of tourists is safe.
The most important active Volcanoes of Costa Rica
Currently, the country has 3 volcanoes that present great eruptive activity, about which we will detail below:
Rincón de la Vieja Volcano
The name of this volcano literally translates as the corner of the old woman, and tells the story of an indigenous princess of the Curubandé tribe, who falls in love with the prince of an enemy tribe. The cacique, father of the princess Curubanda, decides to end up this forbidden love throwing the prince to the volcano, reason why his daughter decides to run away to the high parts of the volcano to live her grief. The princess over the years became a healer who was sought by all for their natural remedies. Every time a person became ill, it was sent to visit the “corner of the old woman” who healed.
This magnificent volcano is home to 9 craters and gives birth to more than 30 rivers. An impressive feature of this volcano is that, being part of the continental dividing line, its Northeast and Southwest slopes present totally different characteristics. On one side, we find the dry tropical forest distinctive of Guanacaste. In its northeast side you can enjoy the rainforest.
The first record of volcanic activity of the Rincon de la Vieja dates back to 1851. Since then, its activity has remained constant. It is even said that it once served as a natural beacon of the boats in the area thanks to the brightness of its emissions. The last eruption was recorded last October.
Located in the province in Alajuela, this marvelous volcano boasts one of the largest craters in the world with a diameter of 1,320 meters. Before its recent closure on April 12, 2017, this volcano was the most visited in the entire country.
Adjacent to the main crater are two inactive craters. The Von Frantzius crater is the oldest one. And, the one that occupies the Botos lagoon, of great attraction due to its brilliant turquoise color and diameter of 400 meters.
In mid-February, the competent entities of the country endorsed a long-awaited reopening. The possibility of reopening arises from the decrease in the activity of the Colossus, evidenced by the scarce seismic, the cessation of phreatic eruptions, little emanation of gases and the reappearance of the crater lake. Currently, the national park administration is working on improvements requested by geologists to ensure the safety of visitors. It is expected that soon tourists will be allowed again.
This volcano gives its name to the town where it is located in the province of Cartago. It is the second highest volcano in the country, after the Irazú, also located in the Central Volcanic Mountain Range and with which it forms a single system as a whole.
The volcano is formed by three craters. The main one has large fumaroles that can be appreciated from miles away on clear days. Its most recent activity ended a period of dormancy of more than 140 years. Between 2007 and 2016, its activity has been characterized by large ejections of ash. The ashfall has affected many towns, even reaching other provinces like San José and Alajuela.
We invite you to visit the Rincón de la Vieja volcano. This natural wonder is located just 1.5 hrs away from your vacation rental with My Guanacaste Vacation. Another volcano you can visit during your visit is the Arenal. Even though it is not active you can enjoy beautiful scenic views of its characteristic conic crater, the surrounded rainforest and many activities like zip lining and hanging bridges.
For more information about experiencing the majestic volcanoes of Costa Rica contact us now.
Featured image: Poás Volcano – courtesy of Restaurante Mirador Las Fresas.