The Legend of the Turrialba Volcano
The Legend of the Turrialba Volcano


While there is no shortage of amazing sites and landmarks to see in my homeland, there are few that are quite as impressive as Costa Rica's volcanoes. Even though these unique mountains make a tree frog like me feel even smaller, it's hard not to be impressed by these towering heaps. Over the years, these natural wonders have inspired more than awe, however, as many of Costa Rica's most popular volcanoes are the subject of local legend. Let's learn about some of these massive mounds, shall we?

The Legend of Turrialba Volcano: Costa Rica's Version of Romeo and Juliet

A long time ago in the Cartago province, there lived a woman named Cira who had fallen in love with a warrior from another tribe. Unfortunately, this was forbidden by the elders of both groups, especially Cira's father, the chief of her tribe. Yet despite her father's protests, the young woman would often sneak out of her village at night to see her beloved.

Eventually, Cira's father and a contingent of warriors followed the girl on one of these midnight rendezvous where he saw his daughter kissing the young warrior. Enraged, the chief ordered his archers to fire upon the star-crossed lovers to end this betrayal. Yet the earth, so moved by the young couple's love, came to life, engulfing Cira and her beloved in an enormous cavern and sending steam and smoke to defend them from the arrows.

This legend has yielded Turrialba a uniquely romantic atmosphere that many Ticos and travelers have reveled in over the years.

The Legend of Irazu Volcano: The Spirit of a Loving Daughter

Irazu was the favorite daughter of the ancient Cartago chief Aquitaba. After years of warfare with the neighboring village of Guarco, the tribe was desperate for the hostilities to end so they could control the whole valley. Aquitaba prayed to the gods for an answer to the problem, offering his favorite daughter to them in exchange for the power to defeat his enemies.

Irazu being a caring and generous woman, allowed herself to be taken by the gods so that her people could prosper. When the chief prayed to the spirit of his daughter during their next battle, the highest mountain in the area began spitting fire and rocks at the enemy – birthing the mighty volcano now known as Irazu

The beautiful Irazú Volcano
The beautiful Irazú Volcano