For the lava travel 

Hiking volcanoes in Costa Rica

click to flip through (3) PHOTO BY JONATHAN HILTZ
  • photo by Jonathan Hiltz

Ever since the dawn of travel, people have looked for a diverse array of activities to satisfy their wanderlust. This can be anything from scuba diving to mountain climbing or even hiking around a volcano. If that last one sounds good to you, then you may want to consider one of the greatest countries in the world, Costa Rica.

This gorgeous Central American oasis borders both the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It has a reported 78 different microclimates that include everything from humid and tropical to dry and dusty, but wherever you go in Costa Rica your activities are going to be served up hot as they are 10 degrees from the equator.

The volcano hike is something that's done right across the region as there are a number of these lava-filled honeypots all over the country. Costa Rica is geographically on a part of the world known as the 'Ring of Fire' where a large number of volcanic eruptions have occurred and continue to occur over the last 40,000 years.

Rebecca Clower is the President of Blue Water Adventures in Guanacaste and they have this very tour available. "We offer day trips to several volcanos in Costa Rica however our most popular tours are to the Rincon de la Vieja volcano and Arenal volcano. Both are active volcanoes." Clower went on to add that the day tours generally include whitewater rafting, ziplining and horseback riding. After all that, just as you start to get sore, you can visit the fantastic hot springs and let that those saddle bruises get the five-star treatment.

Along the hike you can clearly see fumaroles and also waterfalls but getting too close to the volcano is not permitted for obvious reasons. The tour is safe but you must be in good physical shape. Clower also recommends hiking boots, long pants and a jacket in case it rains.

In another region of this tropical green paradise, the Poas Volcano in the Central Valley is by far one of the most visited and accessible volcanoes in the country. Poas has erupted 39 times since 1828 but has been dormant since 1910 and is surrounded by a gorgeous cloud forest.

There is a great tour of this region that can be found on Anywhere Costa Rica, which has a visit to the volcano as part of it. After a bus ride towards the volcano, travellers first visit a coffee plantation along the slopes of this steaming giant.

After you charge up on some of the best caffeine you will ever have, the bus takes you up the slopes of the volcano where on a hike you will be able to look into one of the craters and see the steaming fumaroles.

For those of us who enjoy extreme adventures there is the Two Volcano Extreme Hike in La Fortuna. That's right, two lava-filled mountainous natural wonders in the same trip. For this, you need to be in tip-top shape as you will be navigating steep jungle trails and natural craters with a professional guide.

This monster of a tour is 10 hours long and visits both the Cerra Chato and Arenal Volcanoes. You first go up a steep jungle trail that takes you to the top of Cerra Chato. That hike just to get to the top is two hours long and afterwards you head down to the lake, which is actually the mouth of an extinct volcano where you get to swim in this unbelievably beautiful location. You then hike further across some farmland, through a forest and eventually reach the Arenal observatory where you get to enjoy views of Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal until sunset when your bus comes and takes you back. Pretty spectacular.

If hiking a volcano is not your thing but you are still an outdoor enthusiast, Costa Rica is the perfect place to enjoy. They have every outdoor activity you can imagine as long as the only ice it includes is in your drink.

Before heading on these fabulous volcano hikes, it would be a good idea to do some research about the areas around your volcano of choice. Costa Rica has an incredible list of different places to stay each with their own charm and some are very remote while others are in overpopulated tourist towns. Both have their pluses and minuses based on your likes and dislikes, but it's very hard to go wrong with any of them as no matter where you are in Costa Rica, it can easily feel like you are right at home.



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