Explosions at Turrialba volcano gained strength on Friday but tourism operations remained open for business. The national park around the volcano in Costa Rica has been closed since 2010, when the slumbering volcano started to show signs of regular activity. However this is Turrialba’s largest eruption for more than a century. Last week, the neighbouring Parque Nacional Volcán Irazú also shut its doors as volcanologists monitored seismic activity at Turrialba. Surrounding villages began evacuations late last week while officials declared a yellow alert and the country’s Civil Aviation Authority issued a warning for all planes to steer clear of a 32km radius around the site.
Turrialba volcano lies more than 50km east of San José but the capital’s main airport, Juan Santamaría International Airport, is believed to be unaffected at present. Although vapour trails and ash from the crater have been seen in the area around the volcano and the smell of sulphur hangs in the air, Massi Devoto, president of the Turrialba Tourism Chamber, said that so far there were “no serious risks” to hotels, lodges and tours in the vicinity and businesses were operating as normal. Meanwhile, suburbs southeast of the capital San José were shaken by a string of earthquakes over the weekend. The tremors reached a magnitude of 4.2 and were largely concentrated in the Desamparados and Guacima neighbourhoods. Investigations revealed that the quakes were unrelated to the volcanic activity ramping up in Turrialba, according to the University of Costa Rica’s National Seismological Network.