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Walk Inside an Active Volcano

July 17th, 2010 • by Sandy Zimmerman

“Walk Inside an Active Volcano”

By Sandy Zimmerman

(Photos by Sandy Zimmerman)

If you wish to add the thrills of an active volcano to your vacation, there is an extraordinary opportunity.  I have hiked around volcanoes before but this is one of the few places in the world where people are allowed to walk inside an active volcano. Yes, I really mean inside the volcanoes’ crater!

When I



at the


of  the



I was startled by the eerie scene.

The air was filled with steam rushing up from holes in the

ground (fumaroles).

Bubbling mud and

bubbling water

pools were scattered all

around the crater.  

The guide led us

along an easy walking path except for two

places where the ground

and rocks were uneven.

During the tour I was

surrounded by the


sometimes I had to wait

a few minutes

to be able to see the trail.

It was thrilling to be that

close to volcanic activity.

Whenever the path moved next to the bubbling mud pools,

we could feel the heat. What an extraordinary experience,

but there was much more!

After the tour inside the crater, I

returned to the Volcano Activity Center to change into my

bathing suit to try the therapeutic hot mud pools.

The guide explained

the sequence

of steps, first we sit in the cold

mineral springs water pool for a

few minutes, switch to the

sauna, then relax in any of the

hot volcanic mud pools

depending on which

temperature you prefer.

The bathers patted the warm mud all over their body before

relaxing in the sun.  The steaming

misty crater was visible from

the mud baths.  

Feeling great after the mud pools,

I was ready to join the horseback

ride through the Guanacaste

rain forest and private reserve

to the falls.

The clear mountain water was so

inviting, so refreshing.

Guests also have the option of taking a

tractor ride to the falls.  

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Walk Inside an Active Volcano (Continued)

 They call it a walkable volcanic crater.
The high heat flow still remains after the
volcanoes' small explosion in 1946. 
The Miravalles Volcano is located in

Guanacaste, just a few hours from

San Jose, close enough for a

day tour but exciting enough to stay

 longer. The Miravalles Volcano is an

 andesitic stratovolcano. 

The large caldera was formed during

several major explosive eruptions

that produced voluminous

dacitic-rhyotic pyroclastic flows

between about 1.5 and 0.6 million years

 ago.  The only reported historical

eruptive activity was a small stream

 explosion on the SW flank in 1946.

High heat flow remains, and Miravalles

is the site of the largest

developed geothermal field in Costa Rica. 

Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs,

Miravalles Volcano, Guanacaste,

Costa Rica.

Tourist Information

Here are some suggestions about their South Caribbean region from the Costa Rica Tourist Board: With exuberant vegetation and the exotic Caribbean culture, these fantastic and mystical waters that just a few have explored are characterized by a coral reef ecosystem protected by the Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Reuge and the Cahuita National Park. Located approximately four hours from San Jose, this is an outdoor playground.

The coral reef has a biodiversity composed of over 123 species of multicolored fish like Angelfish, Queen Angelfish, Parrot fish, three-spined Stickleback fish, and many more. There are also over 35 coral species.   

In the South Pacific region, the best diving 

spot is found in the Cano?s Island Biological

Reserve, 45 minutes away from Drake

Bay-Osa Penninsula, where you will find

Hammerhead Sharks, White Finned Sharks,

Whale Sharks, Rayfish, and Dolphins and

the migration of the Hammerhead Whales.

These may be seen any month of the year,

but the best season is winter time in the

northern hemisphere.

The Costa Rica Tourist Board will assist

you in planning your vacation, business

trip, family reunion, unique setting for a

wedding, honeymoon, or any occasion.

They offer accommodations in all price


Costa Rica Tourist Board, no artificial


For information, call (866)-COSTA-RICA.


There is a special 14 day advance

price now of $358 round trip to Costa Rica.

For information about specials or flights,

call American Airlines, (800)-433-7300,

7 days a week.