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

The land of fire | © Scott Robinson/Flickr
The land of fire | © Scott Robinson/Flickr | Scott Robinson
Photo of Jenn Parker
25 March 2018

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 | © Carol C./Flickr

Costa Rica’s famous formations

Costa Rica’s volcanoes attract a large number of visitors every year. There’s something truly enthralling about being in the presence of such a magnificent force of nature. There are five volcanoes that have been active in Costa Rica in the past 400 years and these are the ones that draw the most attention. Irazú, Poás, Turrialba, Arenal, and Rincón de la Viaja are Costa Rica’s most famous volcanoes. All five are part of their very own national park, which hosts an abundance of fascinating flora and fauna and a collection of diverse ecosystems. Within these volcanic territories, there are mystical hot springs, opaque volcano lakes, and plenty of reminders that our Earth is alive and active.

The earth is alive and beautiful | © Kirk Kasicki/Flickr

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 | © dconvertini/Flickr

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 | © Wayne Feiden/Flickr

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: Epic Trips, Mini Trips and Sailing Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travellers and friends who want to explore the world together.

Epic Trips are deeply immersive 8 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and enough down time to really relax and soak it all in. Our Mini Trips are small and mighty - they squeeze all the excitement and authenticity of our longer Epic Trips into a manageable 3-5 day window. Our Sailing Trips invite you to spend a week experiencing the best of the sea and land in the Caribbean and the Mediterranean.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm – and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"