Irazu, Ira-who? Charrarra, We Got Ya! (In 2 Acts)

Natural World Teacher Life

Act I

“Be sure to bundle up,” they said. “It’s colder than you would think,” they said. “Bring snacks,” they said.

Bundle up? Cold? Okay, snacks. That makes sense. We are talking about Costa Rica, right? Home of the most beautiful beaches, rainforests, and mountains in the world? Same Costa Rica? Yes. THE Costa Rica. We were heading to one of the iconic volcanoes that give the breath-taking views that Costa Rica is known for: Irazú Volcano. I couldn’t imagine anything cold. I don’t think most people would.

We awoke to a partly cloudy sky in the central valley. Birds were singing to celebrate the morning as they always do.  Early mornings on the only collective day off for the staff is always a little sketchy. Not that everyone is opposed to getting up early, just apprehensive. However, all members of the party showed up on time. We were excited to see the dormant volcano.

The drive up was no peach. It rained, the fog was terrible, and there were no signs of it improving. Well, there was one time where we saw a slight opening to the cloud cover. It was a tease. We got to the peak, where the gift shop and parking lot are located, and stepped into a cloud. Literally. You could barely see 10 meters in front of you. It was windy. It was cold. It was atypical to the image of Costa Rica.

We huddled into the gift shop to escape the rain. They offered hot coffee or cocoa at tourism prices. Some of us paid. My fingers were very much going numb standing in the wet, windy cloud. We resisted the walk to the crater observation, hoping the conditions would improve. They didn’t. Eventually, we made the short walk anyway. The landscape screamed of a horror movie. Bleak, desolate, low-visibility. Perfect for mischief. (None occurred.) We peered over the edge, where one would normally find the crater, and saw more of the same mass of cloud we were standing in. Disappointment abounded.

After snapping a few pictures of our other-worldly landscape, we headed back to the warmth and safety of the cars. The volcano will have to be visited another time. Stay tuned.

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