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Thursday, 19 October 2006

Holy Smoke:€“ Visiting Costa Rica'€™s Volcanoes - Page 5

Written by Thomas Lera & Sandy Fitzgerald
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As a traveler, I find myself schizophrenic. I’m unbearably optimistic in the planning stage, and utterly certain the night before departure I shouldn’t be going and of course have forgotten to plan and/or pack something utterly essential to the success of the trip. My wife is a meticulous and organized packer, who actually uses detailed checklists to ensure we have everything we might possibly need, without over-packing.

Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, located in the Parque National of the same name, is an active volcano and the largest (6,218 feet) of the five that make up the Cordillera de Guanacaste. It has nine separate but contiguous craters, with dormant Santa Maria the tallest at 6,286 feet. Many trails names’ are broad hints of what you will see…Las Pailas (Cauldrons), Los Azufrales (sulfur hot springs), Las Hornillas (the ovens), and Hidden Waterfalls Trail, which leads you past four continuous falls.

Volcán Barva (6,877 feet), in Braulio Carrilla National Park ($6 admission), is said to have a nice trail to the top. Volcán Tenorio (6,280 feet) is in Parque Nacional Volcán Tenorio ($6 admission), and has both a trail to the top and to the thermal hot springs – bring your bathing suit.

Volcán Turrialba (10,922 feet) is in Turrialba Volcano National Park with trails to the summit, the crater floor and one that circumnavigates the rim.

Trips to the tops of these volcanoes range from a half a day to two days of hiking. Always check with the ranger station before starting to get the current information on any activity and so they know you will be hiking there. Many local restaurants in the areas surrounding the volcanoes provide diners with views, as well as good food. Quaint local hotels face the volcanoes, offering spectacular views from afar, great for reminiscing after your up close and personal trek. Information on all of Costa Rica’s National Parks and Volcanoes can be found at

Places to Stay

Arenal Observatory Lodge ( )

Phone: (506) 692- 2070

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Room rates: Range from $ 40 to $ 154 plus tax depending on the season and include: large, clean rooms, all with great views of the volcano, some with balconies – although the beds in those with balconies do not face the windows; roomy bathroom with shower; full, hearty breakfast.

Both lunch and dinner are served in the dining room, and if you’re on campus during meal times, it’s worth it to eat here rather than make the drive down the mountain just to eat. The “Tiko” steak is excellent and goes well with the Chilean wine available at a decent price.

PeaceLodgeatLaPazWaterfallGardens (

Phone: (506) 225 0643

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Standard room rates: Range from $ 195 to $ 245 plus tax and include: all of the wonderful amenities mentioned in this article, as well as an in-room mini frig/bar, DVD and CD player. Fireplaces are gas and have times you can set for up to an hour. Food in all three restaurants was excellent, although a bit expensive and almost too much food in the main dining room. We ended up eating a bigger lunch by the trout ponds, and a salad and appetizer in the dining room at night… great wine list too! The array of food at breakfast was a wonderful start to the day, and launched our fruit with a least one meal campaign at home!

©Thomas Lera & Sandy Fitzgerald, 2006

(Page 5 of 5)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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