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Central America National Park Vulkán Irazú (Costa Rica)

About one hour and a half from the Costa Rican Capital San José can be found a fascinating volcano Irazú. It is believed that in the original language it was called „ara-tzu“ a „thunder peak“. Irazú is Costa Rica´s tallest active volcano (3432 m). The main crater is filled with green lake and surrounded by a hostile landscape (small bushes, ferns, ash and strong wind). The last major eruption occurred in the year 1963, just when US president John F Kennedy was visiting Costa Rica. The entire Capital was covered by volcanic ash.
What here: There are two viewpoints, one is just ten to fifteen minutes walking passed the visitors center overseeing the main crater (300 meters deep). The other is situated on the tallest point of the Irazú National Park and can be reached by a car or by walking on the main road. On a clear day you can see both oceans (Pacific and Caribbean), white clouds floating over the mountain peaks and another volcano Turrialba (lately quite active and photogenic, throwing ash and smoke into the air). The small visitor´s center (souvenir and coffee shop) is sometimes visited also by an impertinent coati. First he checks the trash bins and if nothing appealing is found, he does not hesitate to steal your cake.

Entrance fee: 10 USD.

Where to stay:
San José is the best option.

How to get here: By a car, it is about 1 hour 30 minutes from San José or about 1 hour drive from Cartago. Other option is an organized tour. There is supposed to be one public bus that leaves on the weekends from San José, but I did not check that. In general there are way less visitors than in Poás National Park.