Visit Costa Rica’s Four Most Famous, Active, and Accessible Volcanoes

When you think about Costa Rica it is likely that an image appears in your mind of a tropical oasis where rainforests teeming with wildlife spill down to the edge of an alluring and pristine coastline. While this image is very accurate, Costa Rica also possesses a very fiery inland façade.

Costa Rica’s unique geographical location includes it in both the infamous Ring of Fire and the Central American Volcanic Arc. There are over 200 identified volcanic formations, and 100 of those are active. Not all 200 formations are classified as volcanoes though. There are currently five active volcanoes in Costa Rica.

With the exception of the Turrialba volcano, which has been closed to visitors since 2012 due to dangerous levels of volcanic activity, the Arenal, Rincón de la Vieja, Poás, and Irazú volcanoes can all be visited up close. There is something truly primordial and humbling about being in the presence of ancient geological giants. All of these volcanoes are part of their own namesake national park, as well.

Exploring any one of these four active volcanoes is sure to be a highlight of your Costa Rica adventure.

Arenal Volcano

The Arenal Volcano is the most iconic volcano in Costa Rica. Its shape is the cone volcano you would have drawn as a child. It hasn’t erupted since December 2010, but it is still classified as active. The Arenal Volcano National Park is an enchanting place filled with idyllic valleys, lively rainforests, natural hot springs, waterfalls, and an exciting collection of adventure activities.

You will definitely want to spend several days around La Fortuna because there is so much to see and do up here besides visiting the volcano. The area around the Arenal Volcano is dotted with multiple luxurious hotels that have their own private hot springs, volcano-view suites, and amenities that will make it hard to leave.

Rincón de la Vieja

Rincón de la Vieja is located in Guanacaste and is home to nine volcanic craters. The Santa Maria Volcano and the Von Seeback crater are the most famous though. The Rincón de la Vieja National Park is made up of multiple ecosystems and an extraordinary diversity of wildlife, including three species of monkeys, over 200 exotic bird species, and wild jungle cats. There are also multiple waterfalls, hot springs, hiking trails, and rivers to tube down.

Poás Volcano

The Poás Volcano recently became accessible to visitors again after a very active stint. The Poás Volcano has the largest active crater in the world and stretches a mile across. There are also two crater lakes that are a captivating and photo-worthy site to see. What’s great about visiting this particular volcano is that it is very easy to get to and there are well-maintained walking trails.

Irazú Volcano

The Irazú Volcano is one of the most popular volcanoes to visit due to the fact that you can drive almost all the way to the top and because of its convenient location close to San José. On a very clear day, you can actually see both the Pacific and the Caribbean coast from the submit, which is 11,529 feet above sea level. There is a half-mile looped hiking trail that you can walk and observe the main crater, as well as the Diego de la Haya, Playa Hermosa, and the Laguna craters.