When most people think about the must-see landscapes in Costa Rica, they imagine sandy beaches, exotic rain forests and majestic mountains. But many would-be travelers to Costa Rica overlook one of the country’s most stunning natural wonders: volcanoes.
Costa Rica has long been a hotbed of volcanic activity. Today, it features six active volcanoes and 61 volcanoes that are either dormant or extinct. From steep, lushly forested slopes to fascinating barren moonscapes, the volcanoes in Costa Rica offer some of the world’s most stunning views, and are perfect for adventurers, hikers and nature lovers.
For the volcanic action-seeker
Located in Costa Rica’s Central Highlands region, the Poas Volcano features geysers that shoot as high as 800 feet into the air, as well as a bubbling, smoking sulfuric pool.
For those seeking a one-of-a-kind view
If you can manage the challenging 6-mile height to its crater summit, the Santa Maria Volcano in Guanacaste will reward you with a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside. The Santa Maria is the highest of nine craters that make up the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, and it beckons adventurous travelers from around the world. The hike up to the mountains is beautiful, too; it winds through lush tropical and dwarf forests before reaching the rocky top.
Located in Costa Rica’s central highlands, the Irazu Volcano is the tallest in Costa Rica. Both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea are visible from its summit. The volcano is surrounded by swaths of unspoiled primary, secondary and cloud forests. However, its most striking feature is its lake, the mineral content of which causes luminous color changes that shift from crimson to emerald green.
For those looking to relax
Also located in Guanacaste, the Tenorio Volcano and Miravalles Protected Zone offer a tranquil, unspoiled view of some of Costa Rica’s most pristine countryside. Visit geysers, hot springs, and lush virgin forests as you work your way up to the summit. The volcano’s crater is filled with a luminous and beautiful lake.
For those looking for some adventure
Located in Costa Rica’s fertile lowlands, The Arenal Volcano is one of Costa Rica’s most popular vacation destinations, and for good reason. Once a spectacular spot for witnessing dramatic volcanic activity, the Arenal has sat silent since 2010. However, its silhouette still towers boldly over the surrounding area, and can be seen for miles around.
The Arenal is not just about striking views, however. Visitors can enjoy hiking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and waterfall rappelling. They can also tour the rainforest in Arenal National Park, or relax in its hot springs.