Visiting Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano is one of the most popular volcanoes in Costa Rica. The volcano is in the Central Valley of Costa Rica near the capital, San Jose (approximately an hour and a half). The amazingly dense forest park that surrounds the two craters makes it an oasis close to the city! Poas has one of the largest active craters in the world. It measures over a mile wide and over 900 feet deep. There are two crater lakes near the summit of Poas. The National Park consists of nearly 15,000 acres that encompass at least four different habitats. This is another testament to Costa Rica’s amazing biodiversity. The bubbling crater lagoon of Costa Rica’s Poás Volcano is one of the country’s most thrilling attractions. The color of the lagoon varies from aquamarine to green. A truly magical place!
One of the best aspects of Poas is its accessibility. The park features a paved road that goes all the way to the crater’s edge. The national park is one of the few in Costa Rica that is almost entirely wheelchair friendly. Therefore, even more tourists are able to adore the beauty of the Poas Volcano. Few volcanoes anywhere in the world allow you to drive right up to the rim. However, Poas allows you to get within 300 ft of the edge. At over 8000 feet above sea level, it offers amazing views of the surrounding countryside and the beautiful crater lakes. The Volcano is a powerful symbol of the geothermal forces that formed Costa Rica.
The National Park features easy access to beautiful trails, awe-inspiring lookout points and an interactive museum that details the history of Poas Volcano National Park. Scenic hiking paths wind through cloud forest landscapes. There are three main hiking trails, which are ideal for travelers of all ages and abilities. The popular Botos Lake Trail leads to a stunning lagoon in the dormant Botos crater and is an easy half hour trek from the main lookout point. There are trails to each of the three crater lakes which offer uniquely different environments. One of these crater lakes is over 1000 feet deep, making it the largest volcanic lagoon in the world. Poas Volcano tours make for terrific day trips from the San Jose area. Depending on the excursion, it may include visits to other attractions including waterfall parks or even coffee plantations and the lowland rainforest of Sarapiqui. Without a doubt, Poas Volcano earns its reputation as one of Costa Rica’s most spectacular natural attractions.
Biodiversity of Poas National Park
The dwarf or stunted forest is particularly spectacular. It includes Bonsai sized trees and ferns whose growth is thwarted by the acid rain. Furthermore, the crater of the Poas has Geysers which can spew up to 600 feet, making it one of the highest geysers worldwide. Verdant foliage covers most of the park and is primarily made up of cloud forest and humid low mountain forest. The lower slopes of the volcano are covered with coffee plantations and ornamental plant farms. You can see that crater vicinity is mostly barren with windswept shrubs. Hundreds of epiphytes dangle from moss-laden trees, and the park is dotted with tons of poor man’s umbrella plants which are also known for their gigantic leaves.
The Poas National Park has eighty different species of birds. Birders will adore the variety of species in the area. Hummingbirds, toucans, sooty robins, black guans, and tanagers all frequently sighted. We can’t forget the resplendent quetzal also makes its home in the region. Because of the acidity in the crater lakes, there is little marine life. The history of the Poas National Park has a unique tie to the United States. In the 1960’s, a student named Mario Boza was visiting Poas. He was so impressed with its natural beauty that he wrote a conservation management plan for the area as his master’s thesis. Consequently, his thesis is the backbone of the National Park system in Costa Rica.
Visit between December and March: Costa Rica’s dry season is the best guarantee for a dry and sunny visit!
Dress well: The top can be quite windy. So bring some warm clothes to put on after your hike or drive.
Be fast in getting your ticket: With the park recently being reopened, they are letting in visitors according to a specific quota. Book your ticket online through the link below!
Poas volcano is located an only an hour and a half from San Jose. Withe the visits being more controlled, it is best to explore this volcano with a guided tour so you can fully benefit from a safe and instructive visit!
There are some great options to try out local cuisine in the area. For exquisite dining near the National Park, visit the tourist pit stop of Freddo Fresas Restaurant. Their take on local cuisine is modern, fresh and delicious! Make sure to try the Gallo Pinto for breakfast and the Casado for lunch. For a full Latin American flavor with the focus on healthy cooking, pay a visit to MasqSabor. Enjoy!
Where to stay
There are some great places to stay in the area. The Poas Volcano Lodge combines luxury with rustic charm. This is one of the most visited and developed of the National Parks in Costa Rica. Centered between luscious mountain terrains of Poas, Alajuela, lays Hotel Buena Vista. This hotels offers a serene mountain location with spectacular views.
POAS VOLCANIC ACTIVITY – IMPORTANT NOTICE
Hydro-thermal activity continues at Poas Volcano. However, Poas Volcano National Park reopened its doors on August 31 2018. They were closed for more than 16 months due to volcanic activity. Now there is controlled access with 50 people being able to enter at a time. To manage this quota, tickets must be purchased online through this website: www.sinac.go.cr. Get there in time and keep yourself updated!