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“Experience A Dynamic Force of Nature and Much Beauty”

Irazu Volcano National Park
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Day Trip from San Jose to Irazu Volcano National Park, Cartago City and Orosi...
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Irazú Volcano Half-Day Tour from San Jose
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Day Trip to Irazu Volcano and Boat Ride on Sarapiqui River from San Jose
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Owner description: This park is centered around the largest volcano in the country, which has a surprising moon-like landscape.
Reviewed January 18, 2014

This is one of the best volcano craters to see in Costa Rica. There are about 120 volcanos in the country, but only a few have accessible, visible craters, and none are terribly active. Still, the environment is unique, the sulfur smell interesting, and the sense of a massive force of nature impressive. The crater is about 1000 feet deep, and 3000 feet in diameter.

Things to know. The drive from San Jose airport to the top is about 90 minutes. Lots of twists and turns and a slow go in spots. Wonderful scenery in places along the way. The altitude is 3200 meters which may give some shortness of breath or a light headed feeling. The entrance fee is $10 per person. We forgot we were in the tropics and that the altitude would affect the weather. At the top it was about 50-55 degrees F, with a pretty strong wind. You need warm clothes. There is a concession stand right there to get hot or cold drinks, and small snacks. Kids could easily walk beyond the fencing so they need to be watched.

The signage could be better and more informative which is why the rating is 4 and not 5.

The volcanic ash field leading to the crater and the crater itself are variably cloudy so how much you can see is a bit of luck. We went from pretty dense fog to 80% clear and back again a few times in the course of two hours.

I was with four people total and we all loved it. Worth the drive and a couple of hours.

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8  Thank Trek-Always
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 30, 2013

There are several ways to see Irazu Volcano National Park. One way is to take a tour that includes: Cartago (the Basilica Tour), Lunch and the Volcano ( $50 per person X 6 hours) and another is the to take a bus or train from San Jose to Cartago and then book a taxi round trip to the park ( $50 for up to four people plus park entrance fees ($10 per person) X 2 hours). Either way you do it, don't expect what you see you in the photos of the brochures. The Volcano is quite dry most of the time and the park is quite boring with no eating facilities or cafes on site. There is third option that I might recommend to all that wish to see the site. Rent a car ($40/ a day) and drive up to Irazu via Cartago. I spotted several restaurants that a family could enjoy after an hour at the volcano. I recommend dressing warm because it can get quite cold up that high and it is windy. I won't tell people not to come see this site but just beware that the photos and brochures only depict one occasion of activity. Happy travels.

8  Thank Easylivingtravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 8, 2013

I knew that viewing Volcan Irazu, like other volcanoes in Panama and Costa Rica, was going to be somewhat dependent on the weather, but I found the whole experience pretty disappointing. The bus departs from a clearly marked bus stop over the road from the Theatre, allegedly at 8am, but it didn't turn up until 8.30am. It's a public bus, not just for tourists, so locals use it between villages up near the volcan area and there were a few little detours on the way to drop people off where they wanted (even worse on the way back to San Jose, the journey took half an hour longer with the detours off the main route). The bus costs about $5 each way for tourists going from San Jose to the volcano (you don't pay for a return journey, despite what some of the guidebooks say, you pay again when getting back on at Irazu). It's then $10 for the entry fee to the national park.

The cloud was very low when we arrived, and for most of the 2 hours we were there, so initially views were very poor. There's very little to do, so make sure you take warm, waterproof clothes as otherwise you'll be standing around getting cold and miserable - I'd dressed okay and walked around so wasn't too bad, but some other people looked pretty miserable. The clouds lifted 10 mins before the bus journey back, and we all rushed back to the crater viewpoint to see down into the crater and get shots of the lake inside .... but turns out it wasn't there (and hasn't been for a long time). I don't know when all the publicity photos were taken, but they can't have been any time recently. The reality is that it was just like looking down a hill, nothing special or particularly volcano-like. If you just want to say you've been to a Costa Rican volcano, then it's maybe worth doing - if you're after a really good experience or stunning views, then give it a miss, you'll get nicer views in the Scottish Highlands, English Lake District or Welsh mountains.

8  Thank Gail D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 4, 2013

I was here with Gray Line Tours only for 45 min but I wish it had been less, is extremely cold so is a MUST to bring your jacket, the turquoise lake that you see in the pictures is not there anymore but still worth the trip

1  Thank Diplan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2013

Interesting to watch the landscape change from the hustle and bustle of the city to farms. A few being tilled "old school" way, a couple of ox pulling a farmer on a wooden plow! Scenic views of central valley from above the midway point to Irazu. Once at the volcano, after taking a 5-10min walk, you can see beyond the 3 craters to the beautiful vistas below. As were leaving, the wind picked up (it was cold) and the clouds (from Caribbean side) rolled in above us pretty quick. Maybe getting there mid-morning, 10:00ish, may help with better views of San Jose and the surrounding Central valley areas. Filming the clouds roll in was spectacular, seemed like a fast speed movie the way it rolled above our heads. Before you leave to the volcanos make sure that the mountain is clear of the rolling clouds, it'll give you better scenic views once you're at the volcano.

2  Thank LeomtzLion
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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