The Turrialba is one of the most active volcanoes in our country. Its last eruptive cycle began in October 2014, presenting the highest activity between the months of May and June of 2016, including at least three strombolian eruptions in that period, the most recent being on May 20, 2016, whose plume reached approximately 3,000 meters above the level of the crater, as well as numerous phreatic eruptions alternating with episodes of calm. On September 22, 2016, it registered the most powerful eruption that it has experienced in the last 20 years.
What else does El Turrialba tell us?
The Turrialba volcano is an active complex stratovolcano, it is located in the district of Santa Cruz, in the Turrialba canton, province of Cartago, which is 24 km from the city of the same name. It is the easternmost of the volcanoes of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range and gives its name to the National Park that surrounds it, which is today the beautiful Turrialba Volcano National Park. With its summit located at 3,340 meters above sea level, it is the second highest volcano in our country, surpassed only by the Irazú Volcano, which contains 3,432 meters above sea level. Its area consists of approximately 500 km.
Lately, it has experienced many closures, which does not help to increase its visitor numbers. Security is always more important, however, the park is reopened to visitors once the threat has passed.
The Turrialba Volcano remained asleep for about 130 years, the last big eruption was in 1866 until it reached its most recent activity. That said, even without a large eruption, the fumarolic activity at the high peaks remained constant. The large eruptions that have been recorded in the late 1800s, and the most recent activity since 2014. The high ash clouds have caused the closure of airports in the country.
This Turrialba Volcano park not only has great natural beauty, but there is also the security of observing fewer people than in other popular parks in Costa Rica, which helps for a good tour. You can use the Turrialba Lodge Volcano, which is located near the park, there are registrations for organized tours that take place inside the park. The official access route to the park is only paved for about 10 km, and then the rest is dirt or ballast. You can also explore the park on your own, without a doubt you can opt for an all-terrain vehicle. The cost of admission to the park is approximately $ 10, but it’s worth it.
Here there are beautiful green slopes and a great variety of dairy farms. The summit of the volcano offers an ideal cloud forest to explore and enjoy. Some of the species that can be appreciated are giant toads, agouti, toucans, howler monkeys, armadillos, and long-tailed hermits. There is also a great variety of rich and dense foliage, which includes bamboo.
The Turrialba Volcano is characterized mainly by constantly releasing feathers of smoke and ash, this caused the first Spanish colonizers to put the name of Torre Alba, which translates as “white smoke.” On a clear day and from the top of the volcano, you can appreciate breathtaking views of the Atlantic coast, along with other volcanoes, it is undoubtedly a great scenario that offers wonderful exploration options for the visitor.
The volcano has three main craters, which are easily accessible when the park is open. Visitors can tour these craters while enjoying the breathtaking panoramic views of the summit. This shares the same base of the Irazú volcano, for this reason, these are called twin volcanoes.
Among its fauna, 900 species of birds and 20 species of mammals have been identified. Quetzals, woodpeckers, collared pigeon, red-tailed hawk, jigglers, tanganas, mountain jigüirros, hummingbirds and bellbirds can also be observed. Among the mammals, coyotes, skunks, squirrels, rabbits, porcupines, armadillos, skunks, opossums, sloths of two and three fingers, coatis, weasels, and pumas. Among the species of plants, there are oak, dead chile, jaul, sweet cedar, anger, orange blossom, deer cactus, myrtle, candelilla, cypress, mosses, lichens, and brómelas stand out
To get to the Turrialba volcano you have to travel to the town of La Pastora, which is approximately two hours from San José. You can walk from there, but the journey can take about two and a half hours, all of this depending on the physical condition of the person, they may need more or less time to complete the tour. The ride by car is difficult, due to the bad condition of the road, it is advisable to use four-wheel drive vehicles to climb to the top. In the area there are some mountain hotels with nice tourist accommodations, so it is a great place to stay, rest and the next day continue enjoying the wonders of this Volcano.