Yesterday I took one of our volunteers, Hannah, to Irazú Volcano for a look at one of Costa Rica’s most popular sightseeing spots.
The Irazú Volcano (“Volcán Irazú” in Spanish) is an active volcano located in the Cordillera Central close to the city of Cartago.
In Costa Rica, Irazú is known as “El Coloso” (The Colossus) because of all the destruction that it’s caused in the past.
We thankfully didn’t see any activity from Irazú on our excursion.
In fact, we didn’t see much of anything, except clouds and rain and some freezing tourists.
Let me paraphrase (from Spanish) our tour guide Jesus from the photo below:
“Sacré bleu! I’m telling you, guys, there was a volcano crater here last week!”
The view didn’t get much better after Jesus gave us 30 minutes to wander around Irazú Volcano. Here’s a brief video of all the action:
At least the brave souls in the video above took on the nasty weather and walked around the volcanic ash area.
The folks below? They decided (probably smartly) to instead huddle against a stone wall to avoid the sideways, freezing rain.
There was a rumor that a Hollywood crew was on-site to film the sequel to The Martian during our visit. I heard that the people below were extras taking a walk across Mars’ landscape — with Matt Damon in the lead!
It was not only incredibly cold but windy as could be. We tried getting a nice shot of Hannah, but the winds turned her into Mary Poppins right before our eyes!
What DID we see that was cool?
Lots of bicyclists.
The hills leading up to Irazú Volcano are filled with them.
Jesus told us that Andrey Amador, the first Costa Rican to ride in the Tour de France, can sometimes be seen training on these very hills.
We also saw lots of horses.
They’re the favorite mode of transportation for locals living in these hills.
And, long before our tour bus got near the top of Irazú Volcano, we passed the mysterious Finca Sanatorio Duran.
It may look like just an abandoned farm to the uninitiated. But the site was actually a tuberculosis hospital opened in the early 1900’s, finally closing in the 1960’s.
The abandoned and badly decayed Finca Sanatorio Duran has become a major tourist attraction — as one of the most haunted buildings in Costa Rica.
In fact Ghost Hunters did an episode from Finca Sanatorio Duran: