In March 1963, Irazú Volcano began a period of eruptions that would last two years.
The below video, via the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), is a reminder of how life in Costa Rica was affected by the volcanic activity.
The first scenes show United States President John F. Kennedy’s historic visit to Costa Rica — which coincided with ash beginning to fall in the Central Valley.
JFK came here to attend the Conference of Presidents of the Central American Republic. In doing so, he became the first sitting U.S. President to make an appearance in Costa Rica.
You can listen to his speech at the University of Costa Rica (UCR) below:
“We also want to express our thanks to the people of Costa Rica,” Kennedy finished. “Every one of us will go home with a most profound impression of what a strong, vital people can accomplish.
“This journey to Costa Rica has illuminated the minds of 180 million people [in the United States] of what a great opportunity and privilege we have to be associated together in our common cause.
“Viva Costa Rica, arriba Costa Rica, y muchas gracias.”
Irazú remains active, though it hasn’t erupted explosively in decades. But Costa Rica is no stranger to volcanic activity: Just weeks ago, Rincón de la Vieja Volcano had a strong eruption.