Hiking at Irazu National Park


During my botany class in Costa Rica, we took a trip to the Irazu National Park. If you remember correctly from my first article, I actually spent my first weekend in Costa Rica hiking to the Irazu crater at the mouth of the volcano. However, this trip is a bit different. Little did I know that the Irazu Volcano is so large that it is split into multiple different sectors in order to separate different microclimates on the volcano. On this day, I hiked the Prusia sector of the volcano. Here, my class and I hiked through many different elevations experiencing a variety of microclimates and habitats. For example, at the bottom of the volcano we hiked through a eucalyptus forest, yet by the time we reached the top we were in a pine forest. This is an example of how ecosystems adapt to altitude changes.  

What makes this environment special or different?:

It is a ten mile hike from the bottom of Prusia to the top of the mountain. During the hike, the climate changes drastically from the normal hot and tropical climate of Costa Rica to the cool weather at the top of the mountain where it is damp and even a little hard to breathe. This is due to the 11,260 foot elevation! This special place is not only a volcano, but also a protected nature reserve!