Conquering the Clouds: A Day Trip to Irazu Volcano National Park.

By Silvanna Pacheco, April 2nd, 2024

Costa Rica is a land of lush rainforests and beaches teeming with exotic wildlife. A network of national parks protects its incredible biodiversity, offering opportunities for exploration and discovery. One of the most amazing destinations to visit in Costa Rica are its volcanic peaks, like Irazu, the country’s highest active volcano reaching a staggering 3,432 meters above sea level.

Located about an hour and a half east of San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica, a trip to the Irazu Volcano National Park is a thrilling adventure that combines breathtaking landscapes with local culture.

The Drive and Arrival

We drove ourselves to the park, but you can also choose to book a tour that will give you the opportunity to be accompanied by an expert guide to share his knowledge about the volcano, its history and surroundings. A visit to this volcano is one of the best things to do in San Jose. The drive itself is an experience, winding through a variety of plantations: green onions, cauliflower, and potato just to name a few. Classic farmhouses and animals line the road, creating picture-perfect moments.

When you arrive at the volcano, you’ll find a spacious and guarded parking lot. You’ll receive a parking ticket that you can pay at the on-site cafeteria. This cafeteria is a great place to grab snacks, water, souvenirs, and coffee. Parking costs 2500 colones, the equivalent to $5.

Hiking and Views

The air was thin and crisp. With our jackets on, we started walking and admiring the panoramic views that stretched for miles. The highlight was undoubtedly the main crater, with its volcanic ash and rock. Usually, you get to see a mesmerizing turquoise lake nestled at its bottom, but not this time, it was dry during our visit.

Tips for Your Visit

Here are some tips for planning your own visit to Irazu:

  • Be prepared for the weather: The summit can be significantly colder and windier than the base, so pack a warm jacket and hat.
  • Wear sturdy shoes: The terrain is uneven and can be slippery, so proper footwear is essential.
  • Always bring sunscreen on any Costa Rican adventure.
  • Respect the park regulations: Stay on designated trails and observe all safety warnings.

Park Hours and Fees

The park is open every day from 8:00 AM to 3:30 PM. The entrance fee is $15 for adults and $5 for children (2-12 years old). You can purchase your tickets online in advance at SINAC website or at the park entrance.

Irazu Volcano National Park is a place where you can stand above the clouds and enjoy unique views. So, if you’re looking for an adventure that’s both exhilarating and educational, I highly recommend adding Irazu to your Costa Rican itinerary.