Temporary Closure of Turrialba Volcano Is Due To Bad Roads

The temporary closure of the Parque Nacional Volcán Turrialba is taking its toll on the neighbouring community, as visitors to the colossus and the area decreases and unemployment rises. The main reason for the closure is the poor conditions of the roads, especially the last five kilometres, that leads to the volcano.

The lack of visitors has meant that many hotel and tour operators in the area had begun to lay off employees.

One of the most affected operators is the Volcán Turrialba Lodge, who, according to its owner, Tony Lachner, has had to reduce his staff from 25 to 4.

Tour operators have been forced to detour visitors to other parks like the volcán Irazú and the Monumento de Guayabo.

It is difficult to calculate the number of visitors avoiding the Turrialba area and looking for alternatives.

One thing is for sure, everyone loses, the owners of the hotels and tours, the employees and the community as a whole, with less visitors to the area.

The temporary closure was reccomnended by the Comisión Nacional de Emergencias (CNE) to the Sistema Nacional de Conservación (Sinac), as the road conditions of the area do not meet the security requirements, especially in the area of an evacuation in the event of an eruption.

According to Javier Pacheco, seismologist for the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (Ovsicori), the volcano that has increased activity in the last several months and the focus of attention of tourists, is open and can receive tourists for periods of up to 20 minutes at a time, the maximum time that is safe from exposure to the toxic gases emitted by the volcano.

Pacheco says that the only reason for the closure is due to the road conditions.

However, even though the Volcán Turrialba park is closed, that doesn't stop the curious from climbing the colossus. Area residents assure that daily they see visitors to the volcano, as there is no one there to stop them.

Since the park is closed, the park rangers have also gone home.



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