Irazú Volcano: A Bus Odyssey

After arriving in San José and realizing that the blogs we’d read in preparation had not lied and there was, indeed, nothing much to do or see there, we took heart in our planned trip to the Irazú Volcano. There are six active volcanoes in Costa Rica and around 60 dormant ones. Irazú is not only one of the active ones, but the highest one, and also really close to the capital, so it seemed to a good way to start our Costa Rican adventure.

The Irazú National Park is located in the Reserva Forestal Cordillera Volcánica Central, and there’s a bus that takes you there from downtown San José. The bus is cheap, but it makes sooo many stops and takes five hours to get to the volcano, which is way too much since a car would get you there in less than two hours. I didn’t mind that until we arrived in the Park and they charged us $20.00 to get in. And even then I thought, this must all be worth it! Spoiler alert, it wasn’t.

The area we were allowed to be in was tiny! it was about two kilometers in diameter, surrounded by a fence. The ground was covered in volcanic ash and the clouds were so low you could touch them. Even tho the landscape was majestic and eerie, we managed to see everything in forty minutes and had to wait for the bus at the souvenir shop.

We could, however, get a glimpse at one crater called La Laguna, “the lagoon” because it’s covered in water, and that was perhaps the coolest sight. There’s something thrilling about being on top of an active volcano, but I think the fact that the bus brings you all the way to the top is a bit of a bummer; it was not a hike or even an adventure although the sights were awesome.

I suppose I understand authorities must be strict with where they lt tourist roam around an active volcano, but a hiking route wouldn’t hurt nobody. In total, we spend about 8 hours on a bus and just one on top of the Irazú. But never mind, the coming days would make up for that day in adventures and exhausting hikes.

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