El Dia Del Volcán: Irazú

Cartago Travel Blog

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Our chariot for the day
Scary if you think about it
San José sits in a vast bowl formed by chains of volcanos and mountains.  Right about now is precisely the time to go and have a gander at some of these peaks because of the drier air and (relatively) minimal cloud cover.  I had a plan to get on a bus and visit Volcán Irazú.  Diego, el presidente of ANAI, the volunteer organisation I work for, had a better idea...

Pick up your truck, Señor
We went in the pictured vehicle instead. And Diego brought some of his kids along for the ride. Plus, it meant we could also go to another volcano (Turriabla, next entry) as well.  A woo and a hoo.
Irazú's main crater
  To an earlyish start, 7.30am and we're out of the office on the to pick up the sprogs.  Around 8.30, and we're winding our way to the top of the first of the days sight: Volcán Irazú, which is a fabulous place.  The crater sits at around 3,300 metres above sea-level and the rarified air and strong sun make it cold and hot at the same time - quite a feat. 

"Moonscape" is a common comparison for volcanoes.  To my mind, it seems a little wrong because there is life all over the place.  Strange plants adorn the volcanic scree slopes, there are insects about and we foraged on blueberries.  Yes it is dusty, but there is life there if you look. 

Crater - not for swimming
Irazú's key attraction is its green crater lake.  From the viewing points, it looks like a heady toxic brew - we speculated whether putting one's arm into it would result in all the flesh being burnt off.
Diego's brood and our white brothers
  Oh, jolly thoughts!  It is a very spectacular looking beast though and a geologist's dream.  All the strata in the rock can be seen, plus one of the dust slopes looks like a monster sand dune.

The view over the far lip of the crater was also pretty spectacular.  We couldn't actually see the Caribbean coast, but could make it out from the line in the clouds.  There is something special about seeing the tops of cloubs but not being in a plane.  From the other side, Cartago and the south of San José spread out before us, with the start of the Cordillera de Talamanca mountain chain rising from the other side of the valley and marching south.  Wonderful.

The usual weirdness
It seems to me that juxtapositions make experiences.
What a breakfast of blueberries does to the tongue
  So, we're minding our own business, wandering around a plain of vocanic ash, when a strange group of people appear on the horizon.  I know they were strange because all of them were dressed in white from head to toe.  And they moved in a flock as though they would be picked off if they left the safety of the group.  I still have no idea who they were (Diego thinks they were from the local asylum) but they were very incongruous and somewhat out of place.  But then the volcano is a stunning location, why would it not attract all sorts?  Made for some great photos.

Irazú would have been good on its own, but the beauty of my personal chauffer is the chance to visit other places, such as Turrialba...
dougal says:
I was hoping for close ups...
Posted on: Feb 12, 2007
Higton says:
Picture 3, sir! I'll whack another one up though just for you.
Posted on: Feb 12, 2007
dougal says:
Why no pictures of the white robed wierdos?
Posted on: Feb 12, 2007
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Our chariot for the day
Our chariot for the day
Irazús main crater
Irazú's main crater
Diegos brood and our white brothe…
Diego's brood and our white broth…
What a breakfast of blueberries do…
What a breakfast of blueberries d…
As per Dougals request, white-ro…
As per Dougal's request, "white-r…
photo by: walterman9999