The U.S. Embassy advises U.S. citizens in Costa Rica to exercise caution if contemplating travel in the vicinity of the Turrialba Volcano, located in Costa Rica’s central mountain range, 67 kilometers (approximately 41 miles) northwest of San Jose. In light of ongoing volcanic and seismic activity, Costa Rica’s National Commission for Risk Prevention and Disaster Response (CNE) raised the alert level for the Turrialba volcano from Green to Yellow (second-highest on a three-level alert system).
Juan Santamaria International Airport in San Jose (Costa Rica’s principal airport) was closed shortly after 4:00 p.m. on March 12 due to limited visibility (less than 500 meters). No reports are available at this time indicating when the airport will reopen. Tobias Bolanos Airport, a small airport for regional flights, located in Pavas, San Jose, also remains closed at this time.
The eruption of the Turrialba volcano is producing significant ash fall over areas to the west of Turrialba in the provinces of San Jose and Heredia. Ash is expected to continue to fall in San Jose in the coming days. According to the National Meteorological Institute of Costa Rica, the strong winds affecting the country will continue through the weekend. Future distribution of ash would depend on the wind conditions, the activity of Turrialba, and the height of the ash columns.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Costa Rica enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency. If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
U.S. citizens traveling abroad should regularly monitor the U.S. Department of State's, Bureau of Consular Affairs website, where the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information can be found. The U.S. Embassy also encourages U.S. citizens to review the "Traveler's Checklist,” which includes valuable security information for those both living and traveling abroad, and enroll with the Department of State or the U.S. Embassy through the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. Follow us on Twitter and the Bureau of Consular Affairs page on Facebook as well. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada, or outside the United States and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
The U.S. Embassy in San Jose is located at Avenida 0, Calle 120, Rohrmoser, and is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., (telephone number: 2519-2590). If you are a U.S. citizen in need of urgent assistance, outside of business hours, the emergency after-hours number for the U.S. Embassy is 2519-2000.