The name Irazu, derived from the language of the indigenous people and means: thunder” or “place that shakes,” which has been certainly true in the past! It is known by Costa Ricans as “Colossus” because of its 23 recorded eruptions since 1723. Irazu Volcano is now considered stable and dormant and has become the leading location for strawberry cultivation and other farming and dairy pursuits.
Irazu National Park
Less than a sixty mile trip from San Jose, Irazu is a very popular destination for visitors. The summit has several interesting craters including one that includes Diego de la Hoya. This is a fascinating deep crater lake with beautiful green water. At almost 6000 acres, the park is chock-full of interesting animal and plant species. The facilities include places to get food and drinks and locations for hiking and picnics. Worth visiting on your trip to Costa Rica, Irazu Volcano is a fascinating chance to see a volcano up close and personal!
The Irazu Volcano – an amazing day trip from San José!
It was such an amazing drive up to Irazu! So very beautiful- the clouds floated above the forest, and the temperature dropped about 15 degrees from the city. There was almost no traffic, and it was an easy drive- the roads were good all of the ways up. Every turn provided a new vista with an even more breathtaking view of the lush forest and fields or the beautiful city of Cartago.
The side of the road had dense foliage of large “elephant ear” type plants and tall pine trees. The name Irazu comes from the local Indian village I start, which meant a hill of trembling and thunder. We were grateful this wasn’t the case while traveling there! The whole area had an only moonscape feel to it- large “beaches” of a fine, black dusty sand and scarred rock walls where the blast ripped out the center of the mountain. This was a great day trip while you are in San Jose. Close to the city and a beautiful drive- well worth the time!
Beautiful Drive and Scenery!
Local farmers had set up on the roadside selling potatoes, onions, calla lilies, goat cheese and a variety of locally produced products. We finally arrived at the entrance to Irazu Volcano. Then we paid the entry fee only $10 for nonresidents and drove up to the parking lot. Instantly a group of friendly Pizote greeted us, also called the Coati which is a raccoon-like an animal. They amused all of the visitors with their antics and were very friendly. The Coati looks just like a raccoon except has a longer snout. Also, it is longer and thinner than the animals that I am familiar with. They were enjoying the crowds and rummaging through the trash cans.
Irazu was awesome! And hard to imagine the force required to create such an enormous hole. Though chilly at the summit, it was invigorating to walk up to the edge of the Irazu Volcano. So cool to peer down to the small lake at the bottom- yellow/green with sulfur. This active volcano is the tallest in Costa Rica at nearly 3500 meters and provides amazing views.
The Thunder of Irazu
The Irazu Volcano is one of the most impressive natural wonders in the Orosi Valley. In 1723 a major eruption destroyed Cartago, which was the capital of Costa Rica at the time. San Jose was completely covered in ash and heavy soot after an eruption in 1993. Costa Ricans call this sleeping giant “Colossus” due to the 23 eruptions recorded since 1723. However today, the volcano at Irazu is considered dormant, and activity here has stabilized. The area has become a prime location for agriculture due to its fertile soils. Here you’ll find many farms dedicated to strawberry cultivation, exotic flowers and dairy pursuits.
Irazu is a very popular destination for visitors as it is located less than sixty miles from San Jose. At the summit, you’ll find several interesting craters such as “Diego de la Hoya,” which features a fascinating deep crater lake filled with beautiful green water. The Irazu Volcano is a national park that protects nearly 6000 acres, preserving a multitude of interesting animal and plant species. The facilities include places to get food and drinks and locations for hiking and picnics. Irazú surely is one of the most amazing volcanoes in Costa Rica. In 2017, it was the most visited volcano in the country and the second most visited National Park after Manuel Antonio. Do not miss this destination on your vacation!