The beautiful, 2708 meter high Poás Volcano is situated in a national Park in the Alajuela Province in Costa Rica. The area covers approximately 65 square kilometers, the main attraction is the active volcano Poás. Further routes lead you to the two extinct volcanoes Von Frantzuis and Botos. The nature conservation began in 1960 by the then student Mario Boza. He took the US National Park model as a reference and set up a similar conservation plan for the Poás Volcano.
Without doubt, it is one of the easiest reachable and most developed national parks in Costa Rica. From the parking lot, you will follow a paved path to the wheelchair accessible visitor center. Besides a restaurant, toilets and a souvenir shop, the visitor center also includes a small museum, which explains the volcanic action, the national park and the different geological areas in Costa Rica with its distinct flora and fauna. After another light 15-minutes walk, you will reach the edge of the volcano. From here you will have a stunning view over the crater and the landscape in the background. The carter of the Poás is 320 meter deep and and 1.6 kilometers across. With these dimensions, it is the largest active volcano in the world, a fact that attracts thousands of visitors every year from around the globe.
Standing on the edge of the crater, you can see the bubbling, turquoise lake at the bottom. The lake is constantly surrounded by mist and clouds. So maybe you need to wait some time until the fog parts and you can see the greenish lake more clearly. The smoke and rising steam comes from the water itself, and is produced when the water seeps into the hot rocks and evaporates. Sometimes even geysers emerge from the lake. But don’t worry, the water from the geyser will not reach you. However, you should be careful with the sulfuric gas emission. Do not stay too long on the rim of the volcano in order to not to inhale too much of the gas. It is also proven, that sometimes the concentration of sulfur is so high, that they prefer to close the park.
The area also invites for small hikes around the area. The national park offers dense vegetation and interesting wildlife. This includes a variety of birds, like hummingbirds, sparrows and the famous quetzals, but also mammals like squirrels and frogs can be seen frequently. You can see the brownish and blackish vegetation as a result of the acid rain. At the end of one of the turning and twisting trail, you will reach the crater with the jade green lake Botos. This is a tranquil place to relax and to observe the many cloud forest birds.
There is a daily bus leaving San José at 8:30 in the morning. To get back, the last bus leaves the volcano at 14:30. The bus ticket one way costs around $3.