Turrialba Volcano at a Glance
Ideal time to visit:
- Mid-November to mid-April
- Irazu Volcano National Park
For the past two years Turrialba Volcano has been frequently making the news with magnificent eruptions of ash & lava, with the most recent one (Sept 2016) being the most powerful eruption in the past 20 years.
Region: San Jose & Central Valley
Closest Town: Turrialba, approximately six miles away
Volcano Altitude: 10,919 feet (3,328 meters)
Closest Airports: Juan Santamaria International Airport, Guapiles Airport
Average Temperature: 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21 degrees Celsius)
Located in the Cordillera Central mountain range, Turrialba is one of Costa Rica’s most impressive volcanoes. Turrialba boasts not one, but three craters, and in the past, visitors could take their time and wander around the summit at their leisure. However, Turrialba is also one of the country’s most active volcanoes, and the noxious gases produced by the craters can be dangerous, so tourists are not allowed. The increased activity has culminated in 2016, when it erupted several times in the span of one week, actively closing the international airport in San Jose for a day. The evacuation zone surrounding the volcano has expanded to 3 miles from the top and is currently being monitored by the authorities. You can follow news in English about Turrialba volcano eruptions here.
The summit of Turrialba Volcano sits at an elevation of more than 10,000 feet, making the trek to the top a challenge for even the most experienced hiker. However, if you’re up for a truly unforgettable hiking experience, the winding trails and rugged terrain of Turrialba will more than fit the bill. Before you can embark on your adventure, you’ll need to get there first – and this is tricky without an experienced guide. The surrounding countryside is particularly dense, so you’ll need to either rent a 4×4 vehicle or go on a guided excursion.
Some tourists believe Costa Rica is hot and humid all the time. While this is true in some areas, this is not the case at Turrialba. For most of the year, the volcano is shrouded in cloud, and temperatures can be quite chilly at the summit.
Birding & Wildlife Watching
Turrialba Volcano is surrounded by primary and secondary forest, meaning there are plenty of opportunities to see wildlife while visiting the volcano nearby area. However, until the volcano remains active you should plan to visit some of the other volcanoes that have similar bird viewing opportunities.
Facilities & Infrastructure
Public transportation: Infrequent shuttles from San Jose
Public restrooms: Yes, at the Volcan Turrialba Lodge
Gas stations: No. The nearest gas station is in Turrialba, approximately six miles away
Cell Phone Reception: Poor
Nearest medical facilities: The nearest medical facility is in Turrialba, approximately six miles away