Poas Volcano National Park, a guide to the region

The Poas Volcano National Park has always been one of the most visited destinations of Costa Rica. It has been active for hundreds of years now, and you will have the rare opportunity of witnessing a live volcano right from the edge of its crater.

The Poas Volcano is a great destination for those coming to visit San Jose and have some time to know the Costa Rican famed rainforests and amazing landscapes.

A bit about the Park:

Poas Volcano National Park was set in 1955 with an estimated land area of 1200 ha (2965 acres). Nowadays the extension of the park has reached 6506 ha. (16,076 acres).

This area named Botos by the Spaniards, pointing to an indigenous group that lived in the foothills at Northside of the volcano.

The word Poas can be acquired from the Latin name “quills / púas” due to some thorny plants in the region or by the presence of a town called “Púas” found close by.

Poas Volcano has a record of eruptions standing the 1910 eruption, which consisted of a large cloud of ashes that rose to about 26.246 feet (8000 m).

In 2017, Poas Volcano erupted numerous times, spreading rocks so big it damaged the roads and structures in the park. These eruptions produced the national park to close its doors for nearly one and a half years.

At the end of September 2018, the national park reopened its gates again now that volcanic activity has diminished considerably.

Officials considered it safe for the general public and now visitors are able to appreciate the volcano’s impressive crater lake.

Location and route

On the way to Poas, that takes a one hour drive straight to the park,  you will find several interesting spots and fantastic tours to experience.  As you can see them on the map above, we marked the most interesting places.

At first, the route, if you are driving, the easiest way to go is by the Panamerican Highway, passing by the Juan Santamaría International Airport and getting into the Alajuela city.

In Alajuela, you will see the Juan Santamaría National Hero Statue. Given as a present by the government of France, this monument was made to remind the Costa Rican of all the heroes that died in the battles of the 1856 war.

Even though the main sculpture depicts a famous drummer boy who volunteered to burn the enemy’s garrison, on the sides, there are several plates with hundreds of names of the men who were killed in this international conflict against the invader.

The Central Park of Alajuela, the mangoes park.

One block after the Juan Santamaria statue and on the way to the Poas Volcano Park, you will find the main park of Alajuela. 

With several old mango trees, this park marks the history and traditions of Alajuela. A place where you will see every single day of the year, senior men sitting on the benches. It is a big tradition for the men of Alajuela to retire and come to the park to talk, gossip, tell jokes and put nicknames to the people passing by.

In the park trees, there have always been a couple of sloths that are visible randomly.

La Casita del Café

As you go up to the Poas Volcano National Park, you will find a small cafeteria, sitting on the edge of a great coffee plantation.

If you are not planning to do the coffee tour is a great opportunity to take some amazing pictures and taste the best coffee in the World.

Doka Coffee Tour

If you have the time a visit to Doka is compulsory. One of the oldest plantations of the region, a most important exporter and a great experience for any coffee lover.

Doka will teach you about the coffee process, from the seed and the nursery to the steaming cup. It also will pass you by a hydroponic vegetable garden, a butterflies greenhouse, and a bonsai trees exhibition.

Fredo Fresas

Fredo is a local hard working young man that built with his parents and brother the Fredo Fresas restaurant and stores. In the area, you can see them in various places along the road. The sell the most typical products of the region but especially strawberries with all sorts of toppings.

The restaurant is attended by his parents and all food is cooked in wood stove creating delicious flavors of the Costa Rican cuisine.

What to expect in the Poas Volcano National Park?

A visit to the Poas Volcano National Park takes around one hour:

10 minutes to show your entrance ticket (required purchase online), sign waivers, and queue up.

A 15-minute walk on the road from the parking lot to the viewpoint.

20 minutes at the overlook

15 minutes walk back to the parking area

You will go with a group and a guide. The last walk to the crater is at 1:20 p.m.

Up at the crater of the Poas, there is a permanent live camera that you can see online here

There are several choices to go if you can go on with the visit to the region.

The most re-known is La Paz Waterfalls Garden.

La Paz Waterfalls Garden is one of the most popular places near the city of San Jose, with a fantastic trail through the rainforest to witness several natural waterfalls, La Paz offers much more.

It has a great restaurant with a varied buffet that offers typical food, but also pizza and hot dogs, a rescue center, a huge aviary, and a breathtaking butterfly garden.

In the region, you may also find open to the public farms, hummingbird gardens, and a lot of typical restaurants and small stores where they sell the typical Costa Rican sweets and the strawberries of the place.

You can also stay in the area to witness the cloud forest coming to life early in the morning. There are some great options and the fresh morning air in this part of Costa Rica is absolutely delicious!

Please contact our travel designer to include Poas in your vacation in Costa Rica! We will create a visit to remember!

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