Here's Why Costa Rica is Known as The Land of Fire

The land of fire
The land of fire | © Scott Robinson/Flickr | Scott Robinson
Jenn Parker

Costa Rica is a country of stark contrasts from verdant tropical rainforests to golden tropical dry forests, towering mountains to low lying valleys, and mangrove marshes to the vast open ocean. One of the greatest contrasts however is between the hundreds of ancient volcanic formations and the rich and fertile land that surrounds them. This “land of fire” is anything but infernal though.

It’s all about location

Costa Rica is part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire and the Central American Volcanic Arc. It is no wonder that there are 200 identified volcanic formations in Costa Rica. Today, 100 of those 200 formation are considered active. Not all 200 formation are classified as volcanoes though, some are craters, lava domes, or pyroclastic cones, among others. There are four main volcanic ranges, which are called cordilleras, in Costa Rica. The Guanacaste range and the Central Volcanic range host the most volcanoes and volcanic formations. The Central Volcanic range has the most active young volcanoes. A volcano is considered young if it is less than one million years old.

The iconic Arenal Volcano

Costa Rica’s famous formations

The earth is alive and beautiful

Volcano eco tourism

Aside from amazing hikes up to the volcanic craters, lakes, and hot springs, there are plenty of other exciting activities that you can do around the volcanoes and in the national parks. White water rafting, kayaking, waterfall repelling, horse back riding, volcanic mud bathing, birdwatching, and mountain biking all go hand and hand with many of the volcano national parks, including Arenal National Park, Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Turrialba National Park, Poás National Park, Irazú National Park, and Tenorio National Park.

Lush landscape around the Poás Volcano

The impact of volcanic activity

While you might assume that the impact of volcanic activity is only destructive and terrifying, there are actually far more benefits of such activity than there are consequences. The immediate repercussions of an eruption can be earth shattering and devastating, especially for those in the impact zone and surrounding areas. However, it is these eruptions and other types of volcanic releases that contribute to the rich surrounding soil, which leads the way for lush forests and productive farmland. The amount of tourism that the volcanoes and national parks attract also greatly contributes to Costa Rica’s economy and the livelihood of thousands of local families. This land of fire is truly memorizing and captivating – a ‘must see with your own eyes’ type of experience.

Yellow acid lake

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

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