Angostura Lagoon, Cartago, Costa Rica

Lake Locations:

Costa Rica - Cartago -

Also known as:  Laguna Angostura, Lake Angostura, Angostura Hydroelectric Project Lagoon

Nestled near in the peaceful town of Turrialba in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, Cartago Province, Angostura Lagoon constitutes the newest and largest hydroelectric plant in the country. Hydroelectricity, which does not emit greenhouse gas byproducts, is vital to the fulfillment of Costa Rica’s goal to become a carbon-neutral nation; as of now, over 80% of its electric power is produced in this manner. This enormous operation, also known as the Angostura Electric Project, receives water from four rivers: the Reventazon, Turrialba, Tulin and Tuis. Managed by the government entity known as Grupo ICE (Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, or Costa Rican Electricity Institute), the 177-megawatt capacity plant supplies nearly 10% of the country’s total electricity.

In addition to its environmental importance, Angostura Lagoon, or Laguna Angostura, has also become a center for recreational water activities such as water skiing, canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and rafting. However, the area’s true claim to fame is undoubtedly its remarkable white-water rafting. Thrill-seekers can dominate a number of routes down the Pacuare, Pejibaye and Reventazon Rivers, all of which are flanked by lush, tropical jungle. A 12-mile trip down the popular Pejibaye River begins with class I, II and III level rapids before moving on to the trip’s climax: a trio of intense class IVs. The river flows into the Angostura Lake, where tired rafters can drift and float about, savoring the area’s sparkling waters and clear mountain views.

Angostura Lagoon is located but a few minutes away from a number of other nearby attractions and activities, like canyoning and waterfall rappelling. Guayabo National Park and Monument is an excavated Pre-Colombian site that was inhabited between 1000 B.C. And A.D. 1400; many of its bridges, roads, aqueducts, temples, and house foundations have weathered the years and can still be viewed today. Cheese factory tours are also available, where dairy lovers can learn about the process of manufacturing the unique soft cheese known as queso Turrialba.

A trip to Lake Angostura is not complete without a visit to the nearby botanical gardens belonging to CATIE, the Center for Tropical Agricultural Research and Education. Created by American visionaries in the 1940s, CATIE’s purpose is to research tropical agriculture and to train agriculturalists working in countries allied with the US, particularly those in Central and South America. The Pan American Union’s headquarters was established in Turrialba in 1942, but was later transformed into a field office for the Inter-American Institute for Agricultural Sciences (IICA). Today, CATIE offers tours of its 50 plantations and botanical gardens, dedicated to species such as coffee, avocado, mango, cacao, tropical fruit, and pejibayes. These areas provide valuable habitats for wildlife like toucans, butterflies, and iguanas. A mountain bike tour is also available for visitors aged eight and up, which is a bit more physically challenging and fast-paced. Each year in Turrialba, CATIE hosts an international fair fundraiser that attracts philanthropists from far and wide. The celebration features cultural events, sports, international food, and music.

Just a few minutes from Angostura Lagoon, the extraordinary hiking trails at Turrialba Volcano National Park are irresistible to energetic trailblazers. From the parking lot near the top, a trek to the summit of this 10,958-foot stratovolcano takes only about two hours, but only when conditions permit. Adventurers are rewarded with stunning views of fumaroles, mud pits, and Turrialba’s three massive craters.

Some areas in this region of Costa Rica are known to receive an average of 26 feet of rain per year — as a result, thick and verdant rainforests provide phenomenal birding and wildlife watching opportunities. It is not uncommon to see such species as the toucan, cormorant, green heron, Muscovian duck, and snowy egret in and around Angostura Lake. Be careful though: the area superior bird watching will ignite in you a fire for wildlife spotting and you may leave Angostura Lagoon with a lifelong passion.

With so many things to do and unique attractions nearby, it is no wonder that modern vacation rentals and real estate properties – many boasting spectacular lakeside views – are in such high demand at Angostura Lagoon; the same is true for the neighboring regions of Turrialba and Cartago. Come experience Costa Rican nature, technology, and culture at its best with a trip to this unforgettable project.

Things to do at Angostura Lagoon

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Water Skiing
  • Tubing
  • Hiking
  • Waterfall
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park

Angostura Lagoon Photo Gallery

    Angostura Lagoon Statistics & Helpful Links

    divider

    Spread the word! Share our Angostura Lagoon article with your fellow Lake Lubbers!

    Trophic State | LakeLubbers

    Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

    An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

    A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

    A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

    The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

    Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

    Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Completion Year | LakeLubbers

    This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

    The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

    You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Water Volume | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

    You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

    Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

    1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

    The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

    You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Average Depth | LakeLubbers

    This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

    Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

    Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

    At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

    Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

    When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

    This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

    You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

    This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

    A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

    When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

    You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Surface Area | LakeLubbers

    This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

    The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

    You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

    This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

    Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

    "Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.

    Lake Type | LakeLubbers

    There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

    - A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

    - A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

    - A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

    "Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


    Lakes for Vacation and Recreation

    Except as noted, Copyright © LakeLubbers LLC. All Rights Reserved.