Turrialba is a modest, rural mountain town that is known as ‘Little Switzerland’ by locals and tourists alike. This highland town is gateway to the country’s best rafting and located in front of an active volcano.

Turrialba Volcano is one of seven active volcanoes in Costa Rica. There is a hiking trail that leads to the crater for observation. In January 2010, locals evacuated their homes due to a large plume of ash that the volcano released. Visitors can find out more information about Turrialba Volcano by visiting the CATIE tropical agricultural research center.

There are several great whitewater rafting rivers in the Turrialba area. The Rio Pacuare is regarded as one of the top 10 rafting rivers in the world, providing consistent Class III, IV and V rapids with spectacular scenery. Several other nearby rivers offer a slower pace with class II and III rapids which are more enjoyable for those that are looking for the fun of rafting without going overboard.

With all the rivers, streams and waterfalls in the area, there are also some amazing canyons. Many regard Turrialba as the best place to go canyoning in Central America. This is an awesome new sport which allows one to rappel down rainforest waterfalls and then navigate through the streams and canyon below. No experience necessary as outfitters will provide the latest safety gear and show you the ropes for an amazing adventure.

Though not in town, the most significant archaeological site in Costa Rica, the Guayabo National Monument is located close to Turrialba. Stone foundations and aqueducts can be viewed along with carvings.

The primary income of most Turrialba residents is farming, particularly in coffee. The area is world known for producing some of the finest and best tasting beans. The right mixture of altitude, precipitation and sun light contribute to the farmer's success.

Turrialba truly is one of the Costa Rica hidden treasures that few have discovered. If you are looking for a special experience with local flavor, this is a worthwhile stop for a memorable vacation.

Weather and packing list

Many consider the Central Valley to be the most comfortable climate in the world with temperatures usually hovering in the upper 70s during the day and lower 60s at night. The rain season here runs from May through November, though the heavy rains are generally during September and October.

Visitors should pack shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block. It is also advised to bring at least one pair of pants and a long sleeve shirt.

Fun Fact: CATIE, the Tropical Agriculture Research and Higher Education Center is a remarkable tropical plant research station which accepts visitors.


Latitude: N 9° 54' 17.64"
Longitude: W 83° 41' 9.24"

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