Costa Rican Authorities Investigate Tour Guides That Offer Hikes to the Arenal Volcano Crater

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Local and foreign tourists continue to take unnecessary risks in their seek for adventure, rescue teams in Costa Rica receive numerous alerts every year about tourists that decided to hike all the way to the crater of a volcano, most commonly the Arenal Volcano in La Fortuna, San Carlos, but this also happens in Poas and Turrialba Volcanoes.

This weekend two American tourists had to be rescued after they wandered off a trail and were not able to make their way out of the area, it took firefighters and local guides hours to locate them and take them out to safety.

Back in November last year a group of four tourists from the Netherlands and their “guide had to be rescued after taking a clandestine trail to reach the crater of the volcano, in that occasion, a landslide caused the emergency leaving one of the tourists with a fractured clavicle.

The Ministry of Environment had reported last year the problem, explaining that visitors would access through private properties and risk their lives in unstable terrain. Tourists sometimes venture on their own while in other occasions “tour guides” (many of them without the necessary permits, knowledge or experience) offer the service to take them to the crater and charge them anywhere between $50 and $120 per person.

The district attorney office confirmed to local newspaper La Nacion that they are currently investigating along with the Judiciary Investigative Police (OIJ), several cases where tourist guides are involved in order to proceed legally against them for endangering the lives of tourists.

Randall Miranda, district attorney, stated in an interview with La Nacion “False guides play with the lives of tourists and their own. This irregular activity must come to an end before we have to regret a painful tragedy”.

The Arenal Volcano has an elevation of 1,670 meters (5,480 feet) and it is still considered by volcanology experts an active volcano; it’s last eruption took place in October of 2010.

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