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Irazú Volcano National Park

Irazú VolcanoIrazú Volcano National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most important and popular natural treasures, situated in the Cordillera Central, 31 kilometers northeast of Cartago city.   The Irazú Volcano is the highest active volcano in the country and has several craters, two of which are the main attractions in the area.

The larger crater is 275 meters (900 feet) deep, providing visitors with incredible sights to behold.  The smaller crater, called ‘Diego de la Haya’, contains a beautiful crater-lake of variable depth, which amazingly transforms its color from green to red.  On a very clear day, visitors can see the Pacific and the Caribbean from the highest point of the volcano.

The summit of the Irazú Volcano has a remarkable, unique and surreal lunar landscape, as a result of the wind and volcanic activity in the area.  The national park’s landscape thrives on 2300 ha of montane forest, including primary, secondary and cloud forests. There are a few inhabitants in this harsh environment such as coyotes, armadillos, tiger cats, squirrels, foxes weasels and some species of birds.

The national park’s facilities include a snack wagon near the entrance that provides hot beverages and food, as well as picnic tables and bathrooms. 

When to go & How to get there

Irazú Volcano is among the most visited national parks in Costa Rica.  There are many tours available, offering trips to the volcano and surrounding areas.  The best time to visit is during March and April, although cool temperature and chilling winds are common year round.

The park is open 7 days a week, from 8 am to 3 pm.  The entrance fee is $7 per person.

If you’re planning on driving to the volcano from San José, head 23 km east to the province of Cartago.  Once in Cartago, follow the signs up through the hill, which mark the route clearly.  The roads from Cartago to Irazú are in pretty good condition and it is about 31 km to get to the volcano.

Other activities in the region

Due to the fact that long walks or other activities aren’t possible in the park, the Irazú Volcano tour fits perfectly into a half day itinerary.   This allows visitors to combine a number of other activities and enjoy the many attractions that Cartago has to offer.

  • Lankester Botanical Gardens (Jardín Botánico Lankester): this internationally recognized garden located in Paraíso, Cartago, was established in 1973 as a center for the exhibition, conservation and research of tropical plants. Lankester is home to a wide collection of plants such as orchids, bromeliads, cacti, heliconias, bamboos and palms.
  • Orosi Valley & Cachí Reservoir and Dam:  The town of Orosi is home to Costa Rica’s oldest church, which is still in use by faithful locals.  On a clear day, the splendorous Orosi Valley, along with its flowing river, can be visible from the top of the Irazú Volcano.
  • Tapantí National Park (Parque Nacional Tapantí): located in Paraíso de Cartago (Orosi district), Tapantí National Park is one of the rainiest places in Costa Rica and probably one of the most significant as well, when it comes to flora and fauna abundance.
  • Cartago Downtown:  Cartago is the richest province in colonial tradition.  Some of the most interesting locations in the city include the beautiful Basilica of our Lady of the Angels, the ruins of the old “Parroquia”, situated in the city center and surrounded by a nicely conserved park in the middle of town, the City Market, with all its delicatessens on display, and the Weapon’s Barrack, best known as the ‘Cuartel de Armas’.
Travel Agencies, after hours & weekends:
(506) 2257-4171

Toll Free:
Costa Rica: (506) 2233-5151
Fax: (506) 2233-5284
E-mail: [email protected]
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