Pura Vida: 3, The Volcanos of Costa Rica


Of the six active volcanos in Costa Rica (61 are dormant), this month I visited two.  Poas, a caldera volcano about 1 1/2 hours from San Jose in the Central Highlands, rises  8, 885 feet and is one of the largest and most active.  Its crater contains water and rising steam. Lush rain forests surround the volcano.  It rained the entire time I was there.

Arenal rises 5, 437 feet above the surrounding forests and verdant hills.  It has been the country’s most active volcano for more than 40 years.  In 1968, a large explosion buried three villages and killed 87 people.  More recent eruptions have been much less severe.  Smoke drifts skyward daily.  Arenal is a strat0 volcano, tall and symmetrical.  The lake near Arenal is manmade and an excellent place for kayaking in relatively serene waters.  The lake provides 12 per cent of Costa Rica’s electric energy.

Due to Arenal’s geothermal activity, the surrounding area contains a number of hot spring resorts, one of which is El Tocano, where we stayed two nights.

This place is delightful and relaxing.  The bar tender made yummy margaritas.  If you want to drink wine, Costa Rica is not the place.  However, the national beer, Imperial, tastes quite good and I do not usually like beer.

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