In Costa Rica there are at least 290 volcanoes. Some extinct, others “asleep” and only five active: Arenal, Poás, Rincón de la Vieja, Turrialba and Irazú.
Volcanoes are the key that opens doors to attractive tourist projects. But let’s not forgot that in many cases the consequences of their activities were dire, with dead and destruction all around.
-The tourist boom due to the active volcanoes consolidated tourist areas in Poás, Irazú, La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano), Turrialba and Rincón de la Vieja.
-According to the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), only for tickets, Poás Volcano National Park received more than $1 million in 2015. With the visits from nationals, they collected more than 198 million colones.
-Among the 6 most visited protection areas there are three volcanoes: Poás, Irazú and Arenal.
-The Central Valley (Poás), the Northern Plains (Arenal and its hot springs) and Guanacaste (Rincón de la Vieja and beaches) are the three most visited sites for tourists arriving in Costa Rica, according to the Costa Rican Tourism Institute (ICT). This increases the possibility of visiting one of the volcanoes mentioned.
-The Social Progress Index of tourist destinations developed by the ICT awarded the highest rating of 77.9 to La Fortuna (Arenal Volcano).
-The eruption from Arenal Volcano on July 29th 1968 killed 87 people. It completely destroyed the towns of Tabacón and Pueblo Nuevo and created three craters.
-The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) estimated 850 million colones on losses due to the constant emanation of ash from Turrialba Volcano during 2016. The biggest economic loss was suffered by producers of potatoes, with more than 200 million.
-The 8-day closure in the Poás Volcano National Park as a result of volcanic activity will leave losses of up to 20 million colones from the visits –or lack thereof- by foreign tourists, and 4 million from the absence of nationals.
-The constant emanation of gases and ash by the volcanic activity in Turrialba or Poás could trigger respiratory diseases.
-On August 12th last year, the new viewpoint of the Poás Volcano was inaugurated, but the recent eruption of April 14th caused severe damage to the metal structure due to the impact of stones.
Eliécer Duarte, a volcanologist at the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (Ovsicori), said that Poás could continue to be active because there are open conduits to the interior that facilitate the intrusion of magma (lava).