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Volcán Turrialba
Mountains & Rocks

Volcán Turrialba

Volcán Turrialba

Page Type: Mountain/Rock

Location: Cartago, Costa Rica, North America

Lat/Lon: 10.02500°N / 83.767°W

Object Title: Volcán Turrialba

Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering

Elevation: 10955 ft / 3339 m


Page By: Scott

Created/Edited: Aug 11, 2007 / Nov 7, 2012

Object ID: 322442

Hits: 9098 

Page Score: 79.78%  - 11 Votes 

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Volcán Turrialba (3339 meters) is next to Volcán Irazu, but is more remote, much less famous, and harder to access. Before recently, the last eruption of Turrialba was in 1866. The volcano has recently become active and the summit area may be closed at any given time.

Update from SP Member TicoClimber:

Right now (January 2008) the Volcano is very active, the acid rain had burned a lot of vegetation in the surroundings.

Update from SP member RazorRen:

As of October 2009, the summit area of the volcano was closed for climbing due to fumarlo activity. The vegetation on the West and Northwest slopes has died.

The volcano has three main craters, but only the largest one shows any signs of activity. There are steam vents and sulphur vents in the largest crater. The summit can only be accessed on foot.

From the summit, it is possible to see both the Caribbean and Pacific, but such clear days only happen on 3-4 days a year.

Crater of the Turrialba - volcano
Main crater of Turrialba.

Getting There

Info current from my visit as of February 2004: From San Jose, take a bus to Cartago. There are several buses every hour between 5 AM and midnight to Cartago from San Jose from Calle 5, Avenida 18. In 2004, the fair was less than $1. From Cartago, take a bus to Santa Cruz. In 2004, this cost about $2.

From Santa Cruz, a 10 km (6-mile) road climbs up the mountain slopes. After another 4 kms (2.5 miles) along a rough 4wd road is the Volcan Turrialba Lodge. To get beyond Santa Cruz and to the lodge area, you will either have to walk, hire a taxi, or if staying at the lodge, you can arrange pick up. Contact the lodge at 273-4335 or 383-6075, or by email volturri@racsa.co.cr. Their website is HERE.

Update: Apparently the lodge isn't very good in recent times and is over priced. This info comes from SP member Forjan. It now apparently cost $90 for two (July 2 2006) and is rather basic (but the food is good).

Locals come up here to eat (not stay) at the lodge, so it seems that you may consider trying to catch a ride with them if you don't want to stay in the lodge, hire a taxi, or walk.

Turrialba eruption. It was taken on October 20th 2009 by SP member Razor Ren.

Routes Overview

The standard route is via the Volcán Turrialba Lodge. This is a fairly easy hike on a good trail, but can have lots of mud at times. See the Route Page for more details. Because of thick cloud forest, this is probably the only practical route to the summit.

Photo by mblue01, November...
Part of the misty trail towards the summit of Turrialba (mblue01).

Red Tape

There is no fee to climb the mountain and no permit was required as of February 2004. This may change in the future.

As of October 2009, the area around the volcano was closed to all travel.

When to Climb

December through March is the driest season, and the best time to visit the peak. February is the driest month of all and has the best weather, but December and January are greener since those months are just after the rainy season.

It is sometimes very wet on the volcano, even in the dry season. There's a reason this area is called a rain forest and cloud forest! It can be very cool at higher elevations as well.

Temperatures on the summit of nearby Irazu have varied between –3C (27F) and 17 C (63F).

Crater lake of Turrialba volcano
View of the crater in November. The mountain is pretty wet year round.


You could camp on Tirrialba, but there are no facilities. Expect wet and cold conditions at higher altitudes.

Mountain Conditions

You can check the weather forecast for San Jose at WEATHER.COM, but the weather is so much wetter and cooler on this volcano, that the weather forecast for San Jose doesn't tell you much.

Photo by mblue01, November...
The summit of Turrialba in the clouds.


Humming bird on our way up to the summitPhoto by mblue01, November...Crater of the Turrialba - volcanoCrater lake of Turrialba volcanoVolcanoe TurrialbaPhoto by mblue01, November...Volcan Turrialba as seen  near Turrialba  Lodge:  July 2, 2006
Volcán TurrialbaTurrialba\'s west crater:  July 2, 2006Turrialba\'s central crater:  July 2, 2006TURRIALBATURRIALBAGetting to Volcanoe TurrialbaTURRIALBA