How Many Volcanoes Are In Costa Rica?

There are over 67 volcanic formations across Costa Rica. But the ones that attract more tourists and are considered active include Arenal, Irazú, Poás, Rincón de la Vieja, and Turrialba volcanoes.

Aside from the beaches and wildlife, Costa Rica is one of those places truly endowed with volcanic formations. In many of my reviews, I have always recommended Costa Rica as one of the best destinations for hiking in volcanic areas. 

However, you may be wondering how many of these volcano areas are accessible, how the hiking conditions are, and even how to plan an itinerary to visit as many volcanoes in Costa Rica as possible. 

You will find answers to these questions in the rest of this article. 

Key Takeaways

  • Costa Rica has over 67  recognized volcanic formations, but some geologists argue that it’s over 200. 
  • Six of these are considered active volcanoes, with many located in the Guanacaste Volcanic Range, while others are situated in the Central Volcanic Range. 
  • In terms of accessibility and the number of volcanoes, the Guanacaste Volcanic Range is the top choice.
  • Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Arenal Volcano, and Irazu Volcano are some of the popular destinations for tourists 
  • If you visit a volcano inside a park, you usually pay about $20 to get in. But if you go with a guide, it might cost up to $100 because they include extra things. 
  • If you go to a volcano that’s not as popular, you might not have to pay anything if you go alone. But it’s better for people who are good at hiking and speak Spanish well.

List of The Volcanoes in Costa Rica 

We could attempt to list all the recognized volcanoes in Costa Rica in this article, but there would be other small formations that have not been identified, making our list void. 

So, here are some of the popular ones:

  1. Arenal Volcano
  2. Poás Volcano
  3. Irazú Volcano
  4. Rincón de la Vieja Volcano
  5. Turrialba Volcano
  6. Miravalles Volcano
  7. Barva Volcano
  8. Orosí Volcano
  9. Tenorio Volcano
  10. Cerro Chato
  11. Cerro Chopo
  12. Isla del Coco
  13. Lomas de Colorado
  14. Durika
  15. Cerro las Mercedes
  16. Cerro Negro
  17. Los Perdidos
  18. Cerro San Miguel
  19. Laguna Poco Sol
  20. Lomas de Sierpe
  21. Cerro Tilaran
  22. Tortuguero
  23. National Park Masaya Volcano

There are still many volcanic formations and vents. 

For a detailed list that includes these minor formations, consider looking into geological surveys and studies from institutions like the Observatorio Vulcanológico y Sismológico de Costa Rica (OVSICORI).

What Is The Most Recent Active Volcano In Costa Rica?

Since these natural forces can remain dormant for thousands of years, a volcano is only considered active if it has erupted in the past 11,000 years. 

The most recent ones in Costa Rica are:

  • Poas 
  • Turrialba
  • Rincón de la Vieja
  • Arenal Volcano 

Poás Volcano, located 47 km (29 miles) northwest of the Costa Rican capital of San José, erupted last in 2019. 

Turrialba, 3,340 meters (10,960 ft), is still considered active. It last erupted on October 28, 2019.

Rincón de la Vieja, on the other hand, last erupted in April 2020. But it released hydrothermal gas and steam—not orange, hot lava. 

Pro Tip:

  • Since 2011, you can’t visit the active crater of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, but Rincón de la Vieja National Park is still worth the trip for its surrounding forest, hot springs, and beautiful waterfalls.

Also, The Arenal Volcano hasn’t erupted since 2010. Before that, it was the most active volcano in Costa Rica. 

It’s known for its tall, cone-shaped peak that rises 5,480 feet (1,670 meters) above the trees and for having one of the most prolonged eruptions in recent times. 

Arenal Volcano National Park has a lush rainforest, the La Fortuna waterfall, and several hot springs.

Planning an Itinerary To See Multiple Volcanoes in Costa Rica

Planning a trip to see multiple volcanoes in Costa Rica truly depends on your availability and the proximity of the volcanoes to each other. 

For example, if you fly into Liberia, you can start with Rincon de la Vieja. Nearby are some hot thermal hotels near Guayabo, close to Miravalles volcano, which you can hike if you’re an experienced hiker. 

Then, visit Tenorio National Park, though hiking on the volcano might not be allowed. Stay in La Fortuna to see Arenal volcano.

Next, drive to Poas Volcano, stay in San Jose, and visit Irazu on the other side of town. Both offer views of their craters, but Irazu’s crater may be dry in the dry season. 

For history enthusiasts, a visit to Cartago, which was affected by Irazu’s eruptions, is worth it.

So you can see that it also depends on the direction of your journey.

Are you starting from San Jose or Liberia?

The distances between destinations are around 1–3 hours. 

For parks like Irazu or Poas, remember to book tickets online in advance. 

What Is the Best Volcano to Hike in Costa Rica?

Cerro Chato, near Arenal, is a good choice.

It’s hidden away, tricky to climb, and not open for guided tours. 

At the top, there’s a lagoon where you can swim before heading back down. You’ll get amazing views of Arenal Volcano and the lake, and you can even climb on some old lava rocks if you enjoy that. 

It usually takes about 5 hours for two adults who are in good shape to climb it. 

They don’t allow guided tours because some people were not getting back before it got dark.

If you’re really good at climbing and want a tough challenge, then you might want to try Chirripo.

Wrapping Up

Costa Rica has many volcanoes, but only about five or six are popular enough to have guided tours. 

The best one for you depends on what you like. If you want a quieter place or to actually see inside the volcano from the top, there are options for that. 

If you’d rather stay at a hotel with hot springs and explore off the typical tourist path, there are areas suited for that preference, too. 

So, which volcano in Costa Rica are you most excited about?


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Born in California, Michelle traveled extensively through the USA and Europe before moving to South Florida during the pandemic. Her career in Marketing has taken her all across the world. Her favorite country is France but she'll never turn down a beach vacation!

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