Aerial View of La Garita, Alajuela

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Near by Attractions
Poas Volcano National Park


Few volcanoes allow you to drive all
the way to the rim. Poás does—well, at least to within 300 meters, where a
short stroll puts you at the very edge
of one of the world’s largest active
craters (1.5 km wide).
The viewing terrace gives a bird’s-eye view not only 320 meters down into the hellish bowels of the volcano, with its greenish sulfuric pool, but also down over the northern lowlands.

Poas crater

The sulfuric pool frequently changes
hues and emits a geyser up to 200
meters into the steam-laden air.
The water level of the lake has gone
down about 15 meters during the past decade, one of several indications of a possible impending eruption.
In the 1950s a small eruption pushed up
a new cone on the crater floor;
the cone is now 220 feet high and
still puffing.

aerial view Poas crater


Poas crater

Poás (2,708 meters) is a restless giant with a 40-year active cycle. It erupted moderately in the early 1950s and has been intermittently active ever since.
The park is frequently closed to visitors because of sulfur gas emissions.
Over the millennia it has vented its anger through three craters. Two now slumber under a blanket of vegetation; one even cradles a lake. But the main crater bubbles persistently with active fumaroles and a simmering lake.

aerial view Poas lagoon

Often as not it is foggy up here and mist floats like an apparition through the dwarf cloud forest draped with bromeliads and mosses.
Clouds usually form midmorning.
Plan an early-morning arrival to enhance your chances of a cloud-free visit.

Temperatures vary widely.
On a sunny day it can be 21°C (70°F).
On a cloudy day, it is normally bitterly cold and windy at the crater rim.
Dress accordingly.
Poás is popular on weekends with local Ticos who arrive by the busload.
Visit midweek if possible.


The Botos Trail just before the viewing platform leads to an extinct crater filled with a cold-water lake—Botos. This and the Escalonia Trail, which begins at the picnic area, provide for pleasant hikes. The park protects the headwaters of several important rivers, and the dense forests are home to emerald toucanets, coyotes, resplendent quetzals, sooty robins, hummingbirds, frogs, and the Poás squirrel, which is endemic to the volcano.

Information and Services

$7 adults, $1 students
tel./fax (506)2482-2165

Poás National Park is the most developed within the Costa Rican park system. It offers ample parking, toilets, and an exhibit hall and auditorium, where audiovisual presentations are given on Sunday. Upstairs is the Heliconia Nature Store, plus a café serving coffees, cappuccinos, and snacks such as muffins, sandwiches, and pizzas. There’s wheelchair access to the exhibits and trails.

The park has no accommodations, and camping is not permitted.
The park is open 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. daily May–Nov.; and 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Thur. and 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Fri.–Sun. Dec.–April.

Getting There
TUASA Bus, tel. (506)2222-5325
Bus #1241 departs San José daily at 8:30 a.m. from Avenida 2, Calles 12-14 ($3).
You arrive at the volcano about 11 a.m. and depart at 2:30 p.m.
Buses (tel. (506)2441-0631) also leave from the plaza in Alajuela at 9 a.m. Buses fill quickly; get there early.
Most tour operators in San José offer day trips to Poás (average $35 half day, $55 full day). Many arrive fairly late in the morning, which reduces the chances of seeing anything before the clouds set in. Try to get a tour that arrives no later than 10 a.m.

There’s a gas station at Poasito.
Villa Rita Country Cottages
La Garita, Alajuela, Costa Rica - Tel: (506) 2487-7566 -