November 27, 2012

0397 COSTA RICA - Arenal Volcano

I wrote about the rich fauna of Costa Rica here, and about an important chapter of its history here, so now it's time to present one of the volcanoes of the country, namely Arenal Volcano, also known as Pan de Azúcar, Canaste, Volcan Costa Rica, Volcan Río Frío or Guatusos Peak. Located at around 90 km northwest of San José, at the center of Arenal Volcano National Park, this active andesitic stratovolcano measures at least 1,633 metres and is considered a young volcano, its age being estimated to be less than 7,000 years. It is fully surrounded by tropical rainforest, including its flora and fauna, is accompanied by inactive Chato volcano and the relics of another ancient volcanoes, and have two small lakes of emerald colored water at its laps.

It erupted at the Christopher Columbus arrival, producing an amazing pyroclastic flow deposit, dated around 1525. Then it was dormant for hundreds of years, until 1968, when it erupted unexpectedly, destroying two small settlements, Tabacón and Pueblo Nuevo. About 70 deceases was reported, but it is possible that the number of victims have been higher. Three more craters were created on the western flanks but only one of them still exists today. It was Costa Rica's most active volcano until 2010, and one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world.

Arenal Volcano area is also an important watershed for the Arenal Lake Reservoir (in image), the largest lake in Costa Rica (30 km long and almost 5 km at its widest point), enlarged to its present size as a part of a 1979 hydroelectric project.

About the stamps
Even if in Costa Rica are widely used the ATM (details here), Erick gave me the joy to use stamps (muchas gracias, mi amigo). The first is part of the series National Parks - Natural Wonders of Costa Rica, issued on August 24, 2009. It comprises seven stamps, with the same value (240 CRC):
• Arenal VolcanoRio
• Celeste
• Cerro Chirripo
• Isla del Coco - it's on the postcard
• Monteverde
• Poas Volcano
• Tortuguero

The second is part of the pair issued on December 10, 2007, with the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Esquipulas II accords, in which Óscar Arias Sánchez, the President of Costa Rica between 2006 and 2010, helped bring peace to Central America. This peace agreement ended the civil war in Nicaragua and helped hasten the end of hostilities in El Salvador and Guatemala. Both Costa Rica and Honduras had been affected by the Nicaraguan war. The twin stamp shows the front and back of the Nobel Peace Prize medallion that was awarded Arias in 1987. Only 80,000 pairs were put into circulation.

Arenal Volcano - Wikipedia

Arenal Volcano - Costa Rica 21
Stamps issued with CR018.09 - official UPU website
New postal issue commemorates Esquipulas II peace accord - A.M. Costa Rica

sender: Erick (direct swap)
sent from Heredia (Costa Rica), on 31.10.2012
photo: Jean Mercier / 1999


  1. I LOVE Costa Rica. As a rule, when I have been someplace, I don't want to go back because there are so many other places I want to see. However, Costa Rica is the exception. It is beautiful!

    1. Means you have been in many places. I haven't traveled to much, so I started to collect postcards. :)