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QUESTION: My wife and I are  80 years old.    We understand the Volcanos are a must see.   We are interested in seeing the Arenal.    How much walking and step climbing is needed to get a good view of the volcano.

Is there an other volcano that would have less difficulty in walking etc. ?

What about the aerial tram.?    Would you recommend that for sight seeing ?

ANSWER: You cannot walk on the volcanoes that are active (Arenal, Turrialba, Miravalles, Rincon de la Vieja). The aerial tram near Arenal will give you the best view. Poßs volcano has a different view .. park in the lot at the top and walk about 200 flat yards to the rim to look down into the green lake.
You are driving yourself, or do you have a bilingual guide to drive you? This is the best, and most informative (and very secure) way to get places without tour buses, crowds. If you need help finding a reliable guide who knows the "secret" places only 4x4 vehicles can explore, I am happy to help you (no charge for me... the better bilingual guides cost about $180 a day). You can write me directly at

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QUESTION: We are going to Costa Rica on an organized 8 day tour.    On a "Free" day, they are offering an optional trip to the     Irazu volcano.     Again, I need to know the degree of difficulty  it is for 2 80 year old persons in below to average health..........Is there a lot of climbing and hiking once you leave the bus ?    On a scale of 1-10,   (10 being the hardest to negotiate) how would you rate the Irazu Volcano.

Thank you.

ANSWER: Iraz˙ is not difficult to hike up to the crater from the parking area.  The  volcano became slightly active.. emitting gases.. about 3 months ago. There is always a possibility they will close access, but 10 days ago it was open when our guests visited.
As you are on a fixed tour it is difficult to recommend an alternative volcano. Turrialba volcano, the closest to Iraz˙, is currently closed at the crater and indeed had a huge eruption last week.

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QUESTION: Is the dollar accepted in Costa Rica or should we get some of that countrie's  currency before leaving ?      Is the water safe to drink for us ?

Water very safe to drink, but every place new you go has different mineral content so be aware you might want to carry Immodium. Don't hesitate to drink water in restaurants, hotels, but use bottled water if at the beach.... not tap water.
Ice is also very safe, in drinks or just to suck to cool off.
American money almost always accepted... and easy to exchange. Perhaps get $20 in colones at the first hotel desk, for small tips. Souvenir shops etc. accept VISA  and Mastercard but rarely AmEx.

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Tucker Comstock


Can answer any questions about Costa Rica from perspective of a resident - weather, driving times/distances, things to see and things to avoid, what you should be nervous about and what is really not a problem, except in your head. I have lots of experience with government regulation, banking, property ownership, legal structures, insurance issues, employing people.


Resident of Costa Rica. Operating a business in Costa Rica sine 1991. Designer and publisher of technical information on Costa Rica travel. Experienced world traveler, so have grasp of travel standards required by many types of people


Bachelors degree, University of Colorado Masters, University of Michigan Commercial balloon pilot (flown balloons in 20 countries)

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