Volcanoes in Costa Rica

Home to eco-tourism, surfers’ paradise beaches and great coffee, Costa Rica also has not one, not two, but 66 volcanoes. Of these, six are still active – but don’t worry, there hasn’t been a serious eruption in a long time – while the other 60 lay dormant.

With volcanoes not easily accessible from back at home, undoubtedly you’ll want to check them out. The sheer number of volcanoes may leave you wondering where to start on the search for craters and hot springs, so we’ve compiled a definitive list of the most notable volcanoes in Costa Rica.


Arenal actually held the top spot for volcanoes in Costa Rica for half a century as the country’s most active volcano.

As such, it was also the most visited, and has remained so even since it entered a resting phase in 2010. The eruptions may have taken some time off, but in the Arenal National Park you can visit natural hot springs with views of the volcano and go on boat trips across the vast Arenal Lake. Other activities include rainforest hikes, whitewater rafting and horseback riding.


The Poas volcano is just shy of 2,750 metres tall, so is one of the largest volcanoes in Costa Rica and can be found in the Costa Rican highlands, an hour and a half from the capital San Jose. With the current resting state of Arenal, Poas has overtaken it as one of the most active volcanoes in the country. Visitors to Poas can still see small eruptions of hot water, known as geysers, being catapulted out of craters – how’s that for a holiday in the heat?

Rincon de la Vieja

Take a trip to the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica and you’re unlikely to miss the Rincon de la Vieja volcano. It’s actually one of nine volcanic peaks that make up the Rincon de la Vieja national park, with the namesake volcano being the largest. Ideal for a day out hiking, it’ll take nine kilometres of walking to get to the top past active steam vents, bubbling mud pots and beautiful waterfalls. Once there, you’ll be treated to fantastic views of one of the most beautiful regions in the country, and of course an active volcano.


Located near to Poas in the highlands, Irazu is even taller, standing proudly as the highest volcano on the island at over 3,350 metres. No trek up Irazu is complete without checking out the colour-changing lake crater of Diego de la Haya, which dips between emerald green and deep red. With several active craters to climb up to, one 275 metres deep, Irazu is also a prime look out spot – you can actually see the Caribbean and Pacific coasts from way up there.


Another of the Guanacaste region’s volcanoes, Tenorio protrudes dominantly from the forests at its feet. Hot springs and geysers make the surroundings of Tenorio magical, and they’re considered great places for natural health benefits. Making your way to the top, you’ll pass winding rivers, still lakes and even move through the clouds, before reaching the crater itself.


Situated in the highlands of Costa Rica alongside its volcanic siblings, Turrialba is one of the peaks that lines the famous Volcanic Corridor. It’s absolutely massive, at 3,330 metres, and on a clear day you can see the Atlantic Coast, past fellow volcanoes Izaru and Poas. Though the volcano did erupt quite dramatically in 1866, it hasn’t produced anything more than gas and smoke since.

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