Guanacaste Range System
Location: The Orosi Volcano is the first mountain you see when you drive into
Costa Rica from Nicaragua.
Altitude: 1,487 meters (4,879 ft.)
You will enjoy the drive. It's take you through the miles of farm and cattle
land, made rich by the flow of minerals from the volcanoes. Keep your eyes on
the mountainsides, you'll signs of old eruptions everywhere. You'll also find
some nice jungle to look at and, in the western part of the forest, thousands of
pre-Columbian petroglyphs. The northern wall of the volcano offers hikers a good
view of Lake Nicaragua, miles to the north.
People who will believe anything believe that Orosi takes its name from a priest
who led a party of Indians to the mountain top where they were assaulted by a
violent earthquake. "Aha!" said the priest. "The earthquake is sign. There must
be silver here." From the depths of the volcano came a powerful, echoing voice
replying, "Plata, no; oro, si." ("Silver no, Gold Yes.")
".. Oro –? SI!" Oro-si. Get it? And thus did the mountain get its name.
Visitors are not permitted to climb scale to the volcano top for fear they might
stumble into the pit and turn to steam. National Park regulation reserve that
privilege for scientists only.
You'll find a good panoramic view of Orosi Volcano from the Santa Rosa National
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
Location: 40 km (25 mi.) East of Liberia
Altitude: 1,905 meters (6,250 ft.) high
Old Lady Rincon is a million years old and still carrying on as the third most
active volcano in Costa Rica. The last real blowouts – clouds of ash,
earthquakes and noise – came between 1966 and 1970. The most recent activity was
in 1983,1984,1991, and 1996. The volcano has nine active craters, though only
one of these can be counted on to give a good volcanic performance. The active
crater is elliptically shaped, about 500 meters (1,641 ft.) wide and 100 meters
(328 ft.) deep. At the bottom is a 20 meters (66 ft.) wide fumarole, a pit of
molten rock boiling at 250 C (482 F).
Follow the track south of the active crater, and you'll find a small freshwater
lake (100 meters by 40 meters), some pretty waterfalls, hot springs, steam
geysers and boiling mud pools.
Location: East of Liberia
Altitude: 2,028 meters (6,654 feet) It is the highest on the volcanic mountain
Miravalles has been sleeping for centuries, no explosions, no geysers or other
good volcanic stuff. However, if you own a four wheel drive vehicle, you would
find he trip worth making. The road passes through country and offers super
views of Lake Nicaragua. There's a geothermal electric plant in the park. Follow
the road to this plant and you'll find the volcano.
Location: East of Miravalles.
Altitude: 1916 meters (6286 feet)
This is wild country. The upper regions of the park have never been explored.
Lodges located near the base of Tenorio offer horseback and hiking tours through
the protected forests for close-up views of the abundant wildlife in the area.
Schedule you visit for January and February if you can. You'll avoid the wind
Location: Arenal National Park, between Guanacaste and Alajuela Provinces
Altitude: 1,633 meters (5,358 feet)
Volcano aficionados have declared Arenal the third most perfect volcanic cone in
the world. It's also the most active volcano in Costa Rica. You'll enjoy sitting
back with your cup of tea as night settles in the sky reddens with fire and
incandescent rocks bounding down the mountain slopes.
All this volcanic mischief has been of somewhat recent history. The mountain was
silent until suddenly, during the 1930's, it decided to emote. In 1968 it let go
with a mighty blast the blew off the whole western side of the mountain. A
village disappeared under a sea of tons of lava, killing more than about 62
Geologists warn that the Arenal Volcano could, without warning, blow up again.
Park officials recommend that tourists keep a good distance from the crater. The
safest spot from which to view the volcano is Parqueo Interior (Inside the
parking lot) 3 km (2 mi.).