Costa Rica, aside from all of the wildlife, beaches, and forests that make Costa Rica one of the best places to visit for adventure lovers, there are active volcanoes. If you were to travel to Costa Rica, there is this one venue that you may want to consider adding to your traveling list, Poas Volcano National Park. This volcano is active, but you will not be able to notice an eruption or lava flow as you visit the park.
Yes, you get to hike up through the sides of active volcanoes like the one in Arenal and La Fortuna Area. Which is constantly erupting at low levels. But there are some others that aren’t as active. There is no bubbling crater, but it is still releasing gases that come from the depths of the earth.
Poas Volcano Facts
Did you know?
- Thanks to amazing craters, spectacular views, and easy access, Poas Volcano is the most popular national park in Costa Rica, with over 250,000 visitors yearly. Less than two hours outside of San Jose, this park will please everyone. It is wheelchair accessible with well-paved trails and roads where you will have no trouble looking down the second widest crater in the world (9/10 of a mile). It is also the most accessible volcano in the world!
- Poas is one of five active volcanoes of Costa Rica, be careful, you might just be around when it puffs out some hot air and sends up huge ash clouds into the air.
- Amazing flora can be found here due to the high altitude and acid rains generated by the volcano. One, in particular, is called the “poor man’s umbrella plant”. Their huge leaves are over 3 feet in diameter.
- Don’t forget to check out the largest volcanic lagoon in the world with its aquamarine waters and almost 1000 feet deep.
- Only one of three craters at Poas is active, one of the others has transformed into a cold-water lake, Laguna Botas, which flows down the mountain feeding the Sarapiqui River.
- There are many day tours combined with Costa Rica coffee plantation tours, butterfly gardens, and La Paz waterfall that you can join.
How big is Poas Volcano National Park?
The Poas Volcano National Park is 16,000 acres and the actual volcano is 8,885 feet high, its crater is 900 feet deep, and the second largest volcano crater in the world.
Where is Poas Volcano National Park located?
Poas Volcano is located near San Jose City (one hour away from the city) in the Central Valley, in the province of Alajuela, Costa Rica, it’s one of the major attractions in the area and one of the most visited National Parks Keep reading to learn all about it.
Address: Alajuela Province, 55 km from San Jose and 37 km north of Alajuela
Poas Volcano National Park Weather
Annual Rainfall: 140 inches
Temp: 45 °F – 70 °F
- Super easy, wheel-chair accessible hiking
- Bird watching
- Camping is not permitted
- La Paz Waterfalls – part of the La Paz nature park which is also a wildlife refuge with an enormous butterfly garden and serpentarium.
Poas Volcano National Park Trails
There are three easy trails:
- Crater Trail (750 mt.) leads you to the lookout point of the main crater.
- Botos Lake Trail (1 Km) winds through the cloud forest to Laguna Botos – a cold-water lake occupying an extinct volcano crater. It also brings you to a great picnic spot.
- Want to try the least traveled path? Beginning at the picnic grounds is Escalonia Trail (1 Km).
Poas Volcano National Park Wildlife
- Over 80 species of birds
- Sooty robins
- Black guans
- The resplendent quetzal
- Flame-throated warblers
- Great curassows
- Purple-throated mountain gems
- Golden-hooded tanagers
- Baird’s tapirs
- Banderita Española orchids
- Royal broom zorrillos
- Poor man’s umbrellas (the largest leaves of any Costa Rican Plant)
- The best time to visit is early morning when the clouds are just rolling in. However, even if it’s cloudy, you might get lucky and the clouds will clear up.
- The dry season (December through April) is when crater visibility is most consistent.
- It’s chilly up here, bring a light jacket/sweater.
- Weekdays are less crowded.
How to get to Poas Volcano?
Due to its proximity to San Jose, it’s fairly easy to get to Poas and the best way to do it is by car, taxi, rented or shuttle, it’s a 1h drive from the city. There are public buses departing from San Jose that will leave you at the entrance of the park, it’s cheap but may have stops before arriving. The public bus departs from Avenida 2, Calles 12/14, at 8:00 am, it takes around 1h 30 min to get to the park by bus, and it cost $3 to $5. There’s only one bus returning to San Jose and it departs from the park at 2:30 pm.
Most tours are located in San Jose and offer day trips to Poas, the prices can vary depending on what other attractions or activities are included, but it’s usually from $60 to $140. In most cases the entrance fee to the park is included in the tour.
Best time to visit the Poas Volcano?
The best time to visit the Poas Volcano is during the dry season, probably from January to April. If you were to visit the Poas Volcano in the morning, you will enjoy the scenery. However, if you come late, clouds befog the views, making it hard for you to see that much through the crater. Well, aside from the scenery, there are other things that you can enjoy as you get there.
How much time to spend there?
One of the biggest draws about Poas Volcano is its proximity to San Jose, making it one of the most popular attractions in the area, it can easily be visited on a day trip, but I highly recommend you spend at least 2 days in the area since you can find a lot of attractions nearby, like the towns of Vara Blanca and Poasito, surrounded by green mountains, waterfalls, coffee tours, and strawberry farms.
Poas Volcano Entrance Fee
Entrance fee: $15 for foreign adults and $5 for children ages 2-12
Hours: You are allowed in from 7 AM to 2:00 PM and the last permitted entrance is at 1:20 PM. Every day. The park can close at any time, unexpectedly, due to irregular volcanic activity.
Telephone: (506) 2482-1226 / (506) 2482-1227
Infrastructure: You will only find a store and bathroom at the entrance, so be prepared.
IMPORTANT: They only allow a certain number of visitors inside the park every day. So, it is important to make a reservation beforehand.
A Family Adventure in Poas Volcano National Park
My family and I were traveling through Alajuela, Costa Rica, and wanted to do something exciting, so we decided to go on a day trip to Poas Volcano National Park. After we got picked up, we drove through coffee plantations, strawberry fields, and lush green slopes filled with cattle and enjoyed the beautiful scenery that this area has to offer. After we got there but before the actual tour started, we saw a beautiful, scale model of the Poas Volcano and took some time to enjoy a hot cup of authentic Costa Rican coffee.
Right after that, we started our walk up to the crater of the volcano, which took around ten minutes. I couldn’t believe how beautiful the crater was when I saw it. It has turquoise blue gurgling steam, and occasionally it burped sulfurous mud and sprayed hot steamy water high into the sky. I was so glad we got there early because the clouds were starting to obstruct the view.
When we got back down, we were so excited that we wanted more. So we decided to go on one more hiking trip. This time we started walking up to another trail that leads to the old, beautiful, and extinct crater. Nowadays, it’s filled with jade-colored water. It was amazing too. The way up is a trail between a high-altitude rain forest, where I had a great time looking for some wildlife.
On the way back, we stopped at Freda Fresas for lunch. This Costa Rican restaurant serves dishes with all kinds of fresh produce from the region. We decided to order the Casado. It is the most typical lunch there in Costa Rica. This dish includes rice and black beans, picadillo, fried plantains, farmer’s cheese with corn tortillas, and chicken in a tomato sauce.
This is one of the best places to go to in Costa Rica and was an amazing family adventure that I’m sure many of you might like to experience yourselves. So why don’t you?
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