Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park

Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Costa Rica in part because of its close proximity to San Jose (about 19 miles NW) but also because it is a powerful reminder of the geothermal forces the created Costa Rica. A paved road leads to the 8900′ summit which has incredible views of the Central Valley. The upper slopes and the summit are covered in cloud forest and at the summit is an aqua crater lake which is almost 1 mile in diameter and over 1050′ deep. Since this crater is one of the most active craters in the world, you will see colorful pits with smoking fumaroles, a gray-turquoise bubbling sulfurous lake, and a geyser which at times spews gray mud 280′ into the air! The last major Poas Volcano eruption was 1953 but it appears to be entering another active phase.

There is a trail in Poas Volcano National Park just before the crater that takes you to the beautiful Botos Lake which is the center of an extinct crater. Along the trails you will see many birds but not many animals.

On the eastern side of Poas Volcano there are 5 spectacular waterfalls in La Paz waterfall gardens. There is a gorge where you can stand on platforms to view the waterfalls – admission is $25 and open daily from 8 – 4. You can also visit the country’s largest butterfly garden. You will see coffee plantations in the higher altitudes on the southern slope of the volcano, along with beautiful flower farms and dairy farms.

The best time to visit Poas Volcano is in the morning (before 10 AM) before the cloud mist settles in – you will have better views and be able to see the crater.

The dry season is January to April. Because Poas Volcano is above the frost line, temperatures below freezing are common and winds can be strong. Dress warm and bring rainwear.

Poas Volcano National Park has 13,800 acres and was established in 1971. The admission is $10 and the park is open daily from 8 – 3:30pm daily. There is no camping in the park and it is frequently closed due to sulphuric gas emissions.

Poas Volcano National Park is located just north of Alajuela and is an easy day trip from the San Jose area. Lat -10.183333, Long – 84.208333.

Note: A trip to Poas Volcano National Park is a great way to either start or end your Costa Rica vacation if you are flying into San Jose International Airport (SJO).

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