Journey into Volcan Turriabla


There's no one I've met (so far) that can say they've been down into what is now an active volcano…except my sister, mom and a few other extended family members. 

Back in November of 1992, my mom, sister and I took a trip to Costa Rica to visit family and just for "fun" took a trip to the volcano in Turriabla.  I say "fun" because the road trip there was less than ideal.  The path to the volcano is traveled mostly by hikers, not by crazy American women who want something interesting to do on a long vacation.

At one point on the drive, our taxi driver stopped our little Toyota mini-SUV and got out to survey the path ahead of us.  It was not a road, but an off-off-off the beaten path way to get to the volcano's edge and he was trying to figure out how to get his vehicle over the HUGE boulders to take his insane passengers on their way.  We all, literally, had to slide together onto one side of his vehicle to prevent it from rolling over.  It seemed to make sense at the time, but looking back, I realize just how crazy that was!  You NEVER hear of stuff like this happening in the states!

Once we got to the peak, we happened to meet up with a group of American backpackers/hikers and shared a small Thanksgiving snack with them.  Yes, we skipped the big turkey dinner that year. :o)

The edge of the crater is around 3000 m above sea level, so the air is fairly thin for those of us used to living at sea level!  We slowly hiked down into the crater, which smelled of sulfur, and spelled out words in the tiny rocks we found.  I think I actually picked up a little chunk of sulfur.  We didn't stay down there long, but our trek back uphill was H-A-R-D!  My sister, who was only 12 a the time, bounced up the sides of the crater like nobody's business.  My mom and I, on the other hand, were struggling, to say the least.

Holy moly it was rough!  But isn't it stuff like this that really MAKES a vacation?  Honestly, I have very few other memories of the trip (except the delicious food prepared by my grandfather's novia and the electrical switch to turn on hot water in my aunt's and uncle's shower!).  Going down into a volcano crater makes for much more exciting stories, doesn't it.

And to think that now it's an active volcano!!!

Have you done any crazy things in your travels that, once you were done, you realized were a lot crazier than you'd first realized?  Bucket list item: Hiking into a volcano's crater.  CHECK!

Photo credits: Flickr user Care_SMC

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One Response to “Journey into Volcan Turriabla”

  1. Mary Says:

    I live in Costa Rica and have also made the trek into Turrialba!  Now it is closed completely and they had to evacuate some area around the volcano.  We can see it's smoke plumes everyday from our house in Atenas.  Great times, but dangerous for sure:)

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