Imagine having to sweep the sidewalk and cleaning the gutters and roofs of your home everyday, because of tons of ash that fall from the sky. Imagine walking around with an umbrella in order to avoid getting dirty, or driving with the headlights on even in the daytime. These are real situations that occurred when the Irazu volcano erupted on March 19, 1963. The volcano had the nerve to erupt on the same day that President John F. Kennedy visited Costa Rica. For the next two years after the eruption, the volcano spewed showers of ash that went as far as San Jose, and that damaged many crops and homes. The volcano’s first recorded eruption had occurred in 1723, during colonial times, but the 1963 eruption seems to have been much worse.
The park that includes this volcano covers 2309 hectares, its highest point being 3432 meters (approxim. 10,300 feet) above sea level. There are two theories for the name “Irazu”, one being that it’s a combination of “ara” (point) and “tzu” (thunder), and the other being that it’s named after “Istaru”, a 16th century Indian palisade built in the nearby town of Cot. The park is remarkable because of its surreal lunar landscape. There are two main craters, one is called the “Diego de la Haya” crater that contains a strangely colored lake (some days it’s light green and others it’s red) and the other is 300 meters (900 feet) deep.