Costa Rica is one of the most volcanically active countries in the world making it a great place to go volcano touring!
With over 200 volcanic structures and 6 active volcanoes (that can still spew active lava ) it is a… hotbed 😉of volcanic activity. If you’d like to see the volcanoes of Costa Rica then buckle up, we’ll tell you everything you need to plan your visit!
Before we get too far into our guide we would like to explain our reasoning for the rankings. We are not ranking these volcanic adventures by ease, nor proximity to other activities.
We have ordered our list by your chances of seeing activity. Not the boil you alive kind, but at least the cool volcanic smoke and faraway lava flow kind. Be sure to check each park closures before planning your trip, they are still capable of eruption.
Boasting four active volcanic peaks the Tenorio Volcano is located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Tenorio is located only a few hours from San José, and has been closed sporadically the past few years, usually thanks to the constant murmurings and activity within the volcano.
It’s currently still open to the public but make sure to check before you visit as conditions change daily! While you’re there, you can also see the infamous Río Celeste Waterfall. You can see our guide on Costa Rica’s Best Waterfalls here.
Poás Volcano has been closed to the public since 2017 due to its constant volcanic activity. We were lucky enough to visit the park before it closed and were blown away (pun intended) by its beauty! Prior to its closure it was the most visited volcano in Costa Rica. An easy—albeit lengthy—hike wraps you through the forest and up to the lookout point.
Climbing through the cloud forests only added to the eeriness of the visit, it also meant the main crater was unviewable from the lookout. Shoot for an early morning hike when the park reopens to see the park before the clouds roll in!
In case you haven’t noticed yet, Costa Rica’s capital is surrounded by active volcanoes biding their time. Closed since 2014, this volcano last erupted in December of 2016. This park has no intention of re-opening anytime soon, so if this volcano is on your Must Visit List, keep your eyes peeled.
You can still view the impressive conical volcano from miles down the road, but a quick drive through the countryside will yield you the most impressive views.
Located in the Guanacaste Volcanic Range, Arenal is arguably the most famous of the volcanoes in Costa Rica. Millions of photographs of Arenal are taken every year due to its ideal cone shape. It looks almost exactly like every science fair volcano ever created, just 1000 times bigger!
Although it hasn’t erupted since 2010, its base city, La Fortuna, is still a popular tourist destination. You should check out La Fortuna for its quaint downtown and proximity to La Fortuna waterfall, our favorite waterfall in Costa Rica!
One of the benefits of San José being absolutely surrounded by these fire breathing monsters is that they are extremely accessible. Within a few hours you can be to any number of volcanoes in Costa Rica!
Irazú Volcano is located 35 miles east of San José near Cartago. Last active in 1963, this is the highest of all the volcanoes in Costa Rica, sitting at 11,260 feet above sea level. Irazú is home to 5 volcanic craters from past eruptions and collapses. The main crater is so impressive that you can hardly comprehend you’re still on earth.
Rincón de la Vieja Volcano
Rincón de la Vieja is named after a popular local legend. The story goes that a girl’s father threw her lover into the fiery volcano! The Old Woman’s Corner (Rincón de la Vieja) is located about 3.5 hours northwest of San José. This beautiful volcano is tucked away calmly into the countryside.
The National Park affords visitors incredible hikes through its 34,000 acres and hasn’t disrupted its visitors since 1998. Better visit soon because who knows when those quiet murmurings will turn into more!
There you have it! Everything you need to know to Visit Active Volcanoes in Costa Rica. Yes you could go surfing, or even parasailing, but nothing will get your blood pumping more than standing atop a monolith of lava!
If you’re heading to Costa Rica are you planning on climbing a volcano or two? Feel free to share your experiences in the comments below. And don’t forget to share!
Check out the adventures of Jacob and Kendra, a Christian travel couple from the USA over at TheAgapeCompany.com.