Irazu, Costa Rica, 2009
When hearing about Costa Rica one tends to think automatically of some South-American beach paradise, with palm trees, hammoks, cocktails and such. While such an image applies indeed to this country, one even more specific thing (well, more than one) of it are the volcanoes. They do have quite a lot. And some are even active, like Turrialba or the very famous Arenal. Even some of the beaches are covered by black volcanic sand. Irazu, very close to Cartago, the former capital-city, is quiet now and only sits there with his head almost always surrounded by clouds and attracts tourists. Inside one of the craters was formed a lake of a very strange and fascinating green color due to the minerals in the soil.
It’s a bit of a game of luck when wanting to visit it, because if it’s not sunny weather, one cannot see much there. We were lucky only at the second try, and that only because the sun decided to peek for 15 minutes through the thick layer of clouds which spread a bit, enough to be able to see the lake and take some pictures. The landscape is like on a different planet, and there was also a lot of lightning. Even driving from Cartago up the mountain was very weird, as in the valley the sun was shining and was very warm, and while we were climbing the weather was turning colder and colder, the cloudy and rainy.
Irazu is a national park, as well. Costa Rica was the first country to make such thing as national parks. On the top there’s this plateau, covered in black sand, bare and alien, yet full of life. Plants and birds thrive there, as odd as it may seem. The green lake in the crater became one of the many national symbols of Costa Rica. Until, probably, Irazu will wake up again, which can be very soon just as well.