Irazú National Park

Come to the Irazú National Park, in the Cartago county, and admire the largest active volcano in the country

Irazú National Park
Irazú National Park
© Pontfire

The Volcán de Irazú National Park is one of the most visited natural attractions in Costa Rica because it holds the largest active volcano in the country. It is located in an accessible place for tourists which is about 32 km from the former capital of the country, Cartago. It takes its name from the native term “Iztarú”, which means ‘hill of the tremor and thunder’.

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Irazú National Park, Costa Rica
Irazú National Park, Costa Rica
© Roberto Fernández-Morales

The landscape of this national park is unbelievably silent due to the situation of the forest, which spreads along the hillside of the volcano towards the Caribbean Sea. The typical vegetation in its surroundings is rainforest and some spaces of bushes. Vegetation with small thick leaves predominates, and some of the most important varieties are myrtles, senecios, arracachillos and sombrillas del pobre. Very few species have got used to the harsh environmental conditions and to the cold winds of the region, and those are the ones that can be found at the summit of this place.

Some important rivers rise in this region, such as the Reventación, Sucio, Sarapiquí, Toro and Amarillo.

Due to the volcanic activity, wildlife is limited. Nevertheless, you can enjoy watching birds like the escarchero, the comemaíz, robins and different species of hummingbirds and owls. The only mammals there are red squirrels, armadillos, porcupines, gray foxes, rabbits and coyotes.

It is important to take into account the division of the park into two areas:

- Sector de los Cráteres: In this area you will be able to contemplate up to five craters. Two of these are close to the entry point, and the other three are only accessible for the most adventurous people, owing to their location at the summit of the volcano. One of the most important ones is the Diego de la Haya crater, at the center of which a beautiful lake of green waters has appeared, being 690 m in diameter and 80 m deep.

- Sector Prusia: In this area you can choose between going over El Roble or Bajo Laguna paths. In the latter you will find the source of the Reventado river.

The best months to visit the park are March and April, since there is little rainfall. Do not forget to wear warm clothes at any time of year, because it is really cold in the high areas.

Inside the park, you will find an information office that offers a guide service, a visitor center, a specific area to have lunch, health services and clear markers to access to routes and scenic overlooks. Camping is not allowed.

More information:

Location:

31 km from Cartago, Cartago province, Costa Rica.

Opening Times:

Monday through Sunday from 8:00 to 15:30.

Telephone:

(+506) 2200 4422

Website: http://www.sinac.go.cr/AC/ACCVC/volcanirazu/Paginas/default.aspx

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