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Poás Volcano National Park

Poas VolcanoPoás Volcano National Park is considered to be one of the most stunning sites in Costa Rica.  Situated in the Alajuela province, at about 2700 meters above sea level, Poás is one of Costa Rica’s largest and most active volcanoes – attracting thousands of visitors each year.  

The volcano’s main crater is about 2 km in diameter and more than 1000 meters deep.  The crater has a beautiful crater lake known as Laguna Caliente that bubbles and emits smoke into the air. There is a visitor’s center with spectacular views to the lake and the surrounding forests, where visitors can enjoy the landscape, often smell the sulfur in the air and even witness the acid rain’s effect on the vegetation surrounding the volcano.

The southern crater lake, Laguna Botos, is an amazing blue-green lagoon that fills an inactive crater, surrounded by a cloud forest within the national park.  There’s an exciting hiking trail leading to this extinct crater called the Botos Trail, providing a pleasant walk through the park.

The park is filled with lush vegetation and wildlife.  There are 79 different species of birds in the area, including quetzals, sparrows, hummingbirds and black guans.  There’s also a wide variety of small mammals that inhabit the park such as coyotes, rabbits, squirrels, frogs, marmots, etc; as well as an abundance of insects.

Being the most developed national park in Costa Rica, Poás Volcano offers convenient facilities and excellent services - large parking lot, toilets, exhibit hall and auditorium, picnic area and the pleasant Café Botos, serving warm beverages and snacks.  Camping is not permitted within the park.

Poás is located about 1 ½ hours from San José Capital City .  As you start ascending the mountain, you will pass never-ending fields of coffee and flower farms of varying colors.  Just after the coffee plantations you’ll enter the cloud forest, which is absolutely amazing.

The best time to visit is from January to April.  Poás is popular on weekends, so visit on weekdays if possible.  Morning visits are strongly recommended as it is clearer and warmer, making it easier to enjoy the scenery. On a clear day it’s possible to see both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts.


Due to its convenient location close to San José and other popular tourist destinations, there are several one day tours available that include a visit to Poás Volcano in their itineraries.

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