CR Volcano for the elderly?

Old Oct 4th, 2005, 07:06 PM
  #1  
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CR Volcano for the elderly?

We're planning a trip to Costa Rica most likely in January and we're taking Mom who is 79. She's pretty game but is limited on how far she can walk mainly due to an ankle problem. She might be able to handle a mile if it's not too steep or rough. I'm wondering which of the volcano's might be pretty accessible, maybe even of the drive-right-up-to variety.
I gather Arenal is like that but I'd like to know if any of the others are.

Thanks,
John
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Old Oct 5th, 2005, 04:43 AM
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For Arenal, find out which side of the volcano currently has the best lava flow. Stay in a hotel facing that side.

When we visited 2 years ago, the Arenal Paraiso had the perfect view of the volcano. We asked the hotel staff to wake us up if the volcano began to put on a show. A little after midnight we were awakened by a knocking on the door--sure enough, when we opened the room door the Arenal was putting on an amazing display. We opened the curtains and watched the pyrotechnics from our bed.

Fantastic.
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Old Oct 6th, 2005, 07:00 PM
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Thanks Rufus,
We'll only have 8 days so we're trying to minimize running around time. Don't know if we'll make it to Arenal.

John
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Old Oct 7th, 2005, 08:09 AM
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We were in Arenal in June, and stayed at the Lost Iguana. We could see the lava flow at night from our bed!!!

Also, not far from the Lost Iguana is the national park that faces the side of the volcano where the lava is flowing (this can change). You could drive up this road, and there was actually a "bleachers" where people would sit to watch the volcano.

The eruptions are best seen after dark, and it is basically just a "stream" of red lava flowing down the side. During the day, you mostly see the steam, and if you have binoculars, you can see big boulders bounding down the mountain. At that bleachers viewing area, you can hear the boulders coming down.
Not sure if that road in the park is open at night. Also, I am not sure just how lucky we were to have unclouded views of the volcano. I know that some people spend 3 or 4 days at arenal and never see the peak of the volcano. Other postings will tell you if January is more or less likely to be socked in with coulds.
Either way, it was a marvelous part of our trip. I must have taken 500 pix of the volcano. I couldn't get enough of it.
EK
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Old Oct 9th, 2005, 06:03 AM
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Thanks for the info EK. Sounds pretty cool to be watching the lava flow from bed!
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Old Oct 9th, 2005, 07:30 AM
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Poas might be accessible to her with very little climbing. I remember it as being a very flat approach but since I was with young kids, I don't recall how far it was. Perhaps others here can remember the distance or you can check while you're in Cr.

It's close to San Jose and so doesn't require alot of extra driving.
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Old Oct 9th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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Poas is accessible but is not active--it is a caldera filled with a mineral lagoon. Very beautiful and they were driving those with mobility issues up the path when we were there--that coud be an option if your Mom would accept the help.

As for Arenal--January is cloudy. We were there and never got a glimpse of the peak. Some were lucky and caught a little show at night but it was in the wee hours of the morning for a few seconds only. I asked our hotel staff how likely it is to see the peak in Jan. and they said what we got was typical--cloudy with only a few short peeks at the peak.

But, if you go to Arenal, it's easy to see from all over the area. You cannot get close to the lava or even that close to the base of the volcano.
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Old Oct 10th, 2005, 10:35 AM
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Poas would be a good choice. The crater is beautiful, although the water is whitish/gray now as opposed to the brilliant turquoise it was up until recently where there was some acidic activity bringing about the change in color. The guide I spoke with indicated that it was being watched very carefully (it isn't completely inactive) and that the color change was permanent (if I understood his espanol correctly). It is about a 10 minute walk from the parking lot to the crater--slightly uphill, nice paved road.

Arenal is great for viewing the lava flow from a distance--it is very exciting as RufusTFirefly and others have said. Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but I don't think there is a particular month (like January) that is more cloudy than the rest. Seeing the peak is a crapshoot any old time. You probably have as good a chance of seeing Arenal clearly in January as you do any other time of year. We got lucky for a few brief moments at the end of December a couple of years ago. It just tends to be a cloudy area, and the clouds tend to want to "hang around" the top of the volcano.
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Old Oct 10th, 2005, 10:40 AM
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Ah, just thought of this one. . .you can absolutely drive right up to Volcan Irazu and its emerald green crater. It is icy cold up there, but very little walking involved. Gorgeous crater, very bare landscape due to altitude (unlike Poas which has secondary forest nearby to hike through).

You can easily catch a half day tour out of San Jose up to Irazu. Or you can opt for a full day and see Lankaster Gardens and the Orosi Valley--including the ruins of the oldest church in Costa Rica at Ujarras as well as Cachi Lake and Dam. In my opinion, this would be a great day for your mom--and you would enjoy it as well. The drive takes you through some beautiful country.
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 03:56 AM
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Thanks again for replies. So far we're likely to eliminate Arenal but Poas and Irazu seem like good options.
Also I realize that I was mixing Arenal up with one of the others in terms of accessibility.
Planning continues...
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Old Oct 11th, 2005, 05:48 AM
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schlegal--You just never know. We were in Arenal in January for two nights and had a spectacular show for several hours both nights. We asked them to wake us up if Arenal started putting on its show. They did, and we watched, fascinated, from our bed. It was more than just lava flowing down the sides--the entire top was glowing and spurting out rocks into the air. One of the travel sights we'll never forget.
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