Costa Rica Volcanoes

Costa Rica Volcanoes

Page Type Page Type: Area/Range
Activities Activities: Hiking, Mountaineering, Scrambling
Seasons Season: Spring, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 11260 ft / 3432 m
Sign the Climber's Log


Costa Rica contains some of the most active and fascinating volcanoes in the world. Volcán Arenal is probably the most active volcano in the world. Volcán Irazu is the highest of the volcanoes at 3432 meters. Because of this, many people mistake Irazu as the highest mountain in Costa Rica, though the peaks in the Cordillera Talamanca are higher.

At this time, Arenal is closed to all hikers and climbers, and for good reason! Rincon de la Vieja is occasionally closed as well. The rest of the volcanoes are open to climbers at this time, and all have trails to their summits. This makes Costa Rica a great place to hike and to see active volcanoes without a great amount of effort.

The lower slopes of all the volcanoes are covered with rainforest and are very rich in wildlife. There are many rushing rivers and waterfalls as well. Active volcanism isn’t the only attraction when visiting the Costa Rica Volcanoes.
Arenal Eruption in 2000.
 A...Eruption of Arenal

The Volcanoes

Below are the major volcanoes in Costa Rica that are covered on SP. The chart has the volcanoes arranged by geographic location, from north to south.

Volcán Orosí 1659 meters Unknown (extinct)
Rincón de la Vieja 1740 meters 2006
Miravalles 2028 meters 1946
Tenorio 1916 meters Unknown (extinct)
Volcán Arenal 1633 meters 2007
Platanar (Volcán Congo) 2267 meters Unknown (extinct)
Volcán Poaz 2708 meters 2006
Volcán Barva 2906 meters 6050 BC+/- 1000 years
Volcán Irazu 3432 meters 1994
Volcán Turrialba 3339 meters 1866

The steaming Volcan Poaz...Crater of Poaz

Introduction to Hiking and Climbing

As stated, all these volcanoes have pretty good trails to the top. See all the individual mountain and route pages for more details. By their shortest routes, the volcanoes of Irazu and Poaz are just very short hikes from the end of paved roads. The volcanoes Rincon de la Vieja, Turrialba, and Barva offer much longer hikes to reach their summits.

As mentioned, Arenal is closed to climbers and hikers, and it is doubtful that it will be open soon. It is very foolish to attempt a climb of Arenal at this time.

In addition to the summits, all the volcanoes offer great hiking on their lower slopes (including Arenal). Some of the hikes are outlined on the mountain pages.
Exploding  mud pot  on Rincon...Mud pots on Rincon de la Vieja


December through March is the driest season, and the best time to visit the peaks. 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 volcanoes, even in the so called “dry season”. There's a reason why Costa Rica is called the land of rain forest and cloud forest! It can be very cool at higher elevations as well.

As an example of extremes, temperatures on the summit of Irazu have varied between –3C (27F) and 17 C (63F). The other volcanoes should be a bit warmer, but expect hot weather at lower elevations, and cool weather at high elevations. Dress accordingly.
Irazu CraterVolcan Irazu

Eruption Update Links

Below is a link to current eruption information. If you know of more links, please post here.

Click here for Eruption Updates

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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Jesus Malverde

Jesus Malverde - Oct 8, 2016 12:58 pm - Hasn't voted

Costa Rica Volacanoes Book Reference

For a layman's discussion and history of Costa Rica's volcanoes with major ranges and major volcanoes covered: Costa Rica, Land of Volcanoes by Guillermo Alvarado (181 pages, paperback 1993, Galla Pinto Press)

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Children refers to the set of objects that logically fall under a given object. For example, the Aconcagua mountain page is a child of the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits.' The Aconcagua mountain itself has many routes, photos, and trip reports as children.