El Dia Del Volcán: Turrialba

Turrialba Travel Blog

 › entry 43 of 72 › view all entries
View from the Lodge - must crop out that telegraph wire...
Four-by-Four's rock
... And so we began to descend back down the slope until... Diego had spotted a small turn off on the way up, so we swung into it and into "the real Costa Rica" according to The Man.  It was a great ride. Basically, we went down a pitted dirt track for ten or so kilometres which provided views of the central valley, a breeze through the full gamut of Costa Rica crops and a meander through some semi-forest.  The kids got out at one point and relocated into the bed of the pickup, which looked like fun.  It was a great part of the day and something I would have missed going on an official tour. 

Volcán Turrialba Lodge
We stopped for coffee and the Costa Rican version of cheese on toast (swap bread for tortilla) at the above lodge.
Steamy stuff at the crater's edge
This place looks really nice and, is apparently, $50 per head which includes room and 3 meals a day.  Great location and view (as per photo).  Apparently, everybody also speaks only Spanish, which makes a welcome change in a supposedly Spanish speaking country.  And so onto the volcano itself. 

Into the clouds
As it was relatively late when we started to climb the volcano (about noon), the clouds were beginning to form.  This made for some fabulous views as the volcano kept reappearing from behind the mist.  Unlike Irazú, Turrialba has a winding dirt track road to the top with some serious inclines.  Even the truck in low gear was struggling.  Although it shouldn't be, it was with a little surprise that we kept passing buses parked on the road.
Sulphurous emissions
  How they managed to reach as far as they did and be pointing back down the mountainside is as yet unknown. 

It was also a bit weird to find the summit teeming with people.  The last time Diego was here, there were no barriers or national park presences anywhere, you could literally wander about anywhere to your heart's content.  Now, there was a man with a clipboard and freshly painted signs all over the place.  Barriers were in situ to stop people wandering about near steaming pits and a man with a loadhailer was on hand to shout at miscreants. 

Inside and outside
That said, it is a really great, weird experience.  The whole place smells of hell, with sulphurous deposits lying around all over the shop.
Danger! Danger! Smelly pit ahead
  You can walk up to the odd one.  I tentatively put my hand in a smoking hole to find the rock warm to touch.  Plus, the sulphur and salt combine to form a sort of putty.  My hair still smells a tad of struck matches.  Fumeroles softly expel heat and vapour and the air  feels really thin, mainly because there is a lot more exertion when wandering about inside the crater.

We also took a wander to the Mirador Caribé. or Caribbean view, which was white.  The clouds had arrived with avengence and visibility was down to 200 metres on the outside of the crater.  So we ambled down for 100 metres into an eerie, silent forest and just stood.  Inside, there was a general hubbub of tourists and kids and chaps with walkie-talkies.  Here, there was nothing, just still air and hummingbirds.  Man, I love those quiet, personal times.

Thanks Diego and family - a great day all round. 
spursbackpacker says:
wow i have never heard about this volcan before, and it seems really close to San Jose. Shame we didnt climb any volcanoes.
Posted on: Feb 15, 2007
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
View from the Lodge - must crop ou…
View from the Lodge - must crop o…
Steamy stuff at the craters edge
Steamy stuff at the crater's edge
Sulphurous emissions
Sulphurous emissions
Danger! Danger! Smelly pit ahead
Danger! Danger! Smelly pit ahead
photo by: jeffy