Erupting in Exciting Costa Rica
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ERUPTING IN EXCITING COSTA RICA
After transforming the Costa Rican economy, (see first blog entry), we headed to Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú.
Our six super and silly TravBuddies:
1. cuaj – Adrian, San Jose,
4. martiana – Kelly, Essex, England,
5. travelman727 – Mark, Overland Park, Kansas,
Derek’s good friend and light bulb
Thanks to Adrian generously volunteering his 4 Wheel Drive and Kelly’s fabulous flexibility, we were able to modify our schedule to include an early morning trip to this famous and still-active volcano. Irazú made international headlines when it erupted in 1963 on the day that former US President John F. Kennedy visited the country. The last noticeable activity came in 1996; since then, it has been a quiet giant.
The Irazú Volcano is the highest active volcano in Costa Rica at 3,342m/10,962ft. Eruptions have been recorded since 1723. Because of these and other volcano dischargess, the soil of the Central Valley is exceptionally fertile.
Established in 1955, this national park protects over 5,700 acres of land around the base of the volcano. Bare landscape and craters are found at the summit, creating a surreal, lunar-like atmosphere.
The volcano has several craters. Irazú's Principal Crater is 1,050m/3,444ft in diameter and 300m/984ft deep. It’s other noted crater is the Diego de la Haya Crater, located to the right of the Crater Principal. It is 690m/2,263ft in diameter and 100m/328ft deep and contains a small lime-green lake that sometimes appears red. Irazú's present activity involves holes (fumaroles) emitting smoke and gasses.
We visited the Principal Crater. It’s unusual greenish yellow covering is caused by the rain dissolving the minerals along the crater’s walls.
From the top, you feel like you own the world. You can see high altitude birds, such as the volcano junco, mountain robins and owls. Rabbits, grey foxes, armadillos, porcupines and coyotes are also frequent friends. Thick forest vegetation is found below the summit; and you can find lots of oak and madaroño trees.
Strolling back to Adrian’s 4 Wheel Drive, I got a local tip from one of the Park’s critters that the Cafeteria/Souvenir Shop might be for sale. Fearless Freddie’s information was correct and I bought the store. Thanks to good fortune and the help of my TravBuddy pals, we were able to negotiate and sign contracts with some smart cattle to transport goods to the new store. J