If you have never seen a crater before, Poas Volcano National Park might be perfect for that first experience. Located in Alajuela, has easy access from San Jose, Alajuela, or Heredia to this beautiful place makes it one of the must-go when taking a vacation in Costa Rica. With an elevation of 2,708 mts; once you get closer, the wheater change and you start feeling the cloud forest in the surroundings.
The Poas Volcano National Park has two craters; the main has a circular shape; and measures about 4330 feet (1320 m), 1049 feet (320 m) deep, and it’s one of the largest in the world. The Botos lagoon occupied by a cold lake of 1312 feet (400 m) in diameter and 46 feet (4 deep) and source purely rain, that drain into the Caribbean by the Angel river, a tributary of the Sarapiqui River.
One good news is, even though the main crater it’s active, visitors have the opportunity to be pretty close to it. This National Park also offers a couple of hiking trails where you can see fauna such as:
- Birds: most common species in this area are Tangara de monte (Cholorospingus pileatus), saltón patagrande (Pezopetes Capitalis), jungle soterrerey (Henicorhina lecophrys), zorzal piquinegro (Catharus gracilirostris) fire throated hummingbird (Fiery-throated hummingbird), tan hermit hummingbird (Glaucis aenea), Quetzal (Pharomachrus mocinno).
- Mammals are not abundant, although coyotes (Canis latrans), weasels (Mustela frenata), rabbits (Silvilagus dicei), smelly skunks (Conepatus semistriatus) and among the most common are the Poas Squirrel (Sciurus deppei) and the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcitus).
- Flora: In the public use area, visitors may observe plant associations related to the cloud forest, which highlight species like the Poor’s Umbrella (Sombrilla de Pobre, Gunnera insignis) and Encino oak (Quercus sp.).
Is Poas Volcano National Park a safe place to visit?
Yes, the park is safe to visit; however, since it’s an active volcano, you must follow the security protocol at all times.
- In the parking lot, you must leave your car in an exit position.
- Biosecurity like alcohol and soap for your hands are available at the entrance of the park. Your temperature will be measure too.
- Safety helmets are giving to visitors during check-in to the park.
- Follow up on all the evacuation instructions provided by the volcano staff.
What are the best months to visit Poas Volcano National Park?
In my opinion, the dry-season is better than the rainy season to visit this place; you will have more opportunities to see the main crater. However, my recommendation is to schedule your visit to be at the park entrance before 9 am.
If you get to the Poas Volcano later than that time, chances are, the place will be full of fog, and you won’t be able to see the craters.
What is the Poas Volcano National Park Schedule is?
Open from 8:00 am to 4 pm, including holidays. Access is granted just by the booking system which, you may access here.
What's the entry fee to access Poas Volcano National Park?
- Toddlers (under two years old): free entry.
- Children (over three years and under 13 years old): USD 5.00
- Adults (over 13 years old): USD 15.00
- Seniors (over 65 years old): free entry.
Parking Lot :
- Motorcycles: ¢ 1000.
- Automobiles or SUVs: ¢ 2000.
- Microbus and bus: ¢ 4000.
Rules and regulations when visiting the Volcano:
Dos' while visiting Poas Volcano:
- Take lots of pictures, selfies and flora and fauna are going to be on-demand while in the park. There is a lot to see, walk slow and quietly, and you’ll be surprised. Another good advice for this is, avoid trails with too many people in it.
- Enjoy the cloud forest sounds and smells; there is nothing else more different than the city noise and its population you are used to than this. Enjoy it; you travel a lot to be in contact with nature.
- Bring water with you. You will be able to take with you water to drink without any inconvenience; however, you might see the request of “Don’t feed animals” a lot, even if you see someone else doing it, avoid issues, and don’t do it.
- Bird watching, if you are fun of this hobby, you will love this place. 100% recommended; take a walk in the National Park Trails to see beautiful birds.
Don'ts while visiting Poas Volcano:
- Please don’t bring pets since they are not allowed to enter National Parks.
- Beers and Alcoholic Drinks are not allowed in Costa Rica National Parks.
- Drugs and regular cigarettes are not allowed either; if one of the security national park guards caught you with drugs, they could ask you to leave the park, and they might call the police.
- Hunting; is forbidden in Costa Rica.
- Taking out with you: plants, animals, or any other element of the park is forbidden, and you might get arrested if you get caught.
- Make fire; this will get you kicked out of the park, do not start fires at Poas Volcano Park or any other park.
- If you are walking on trails, stay on the path, do not get into the forest to explore; it’s pretty dangerous.
- Do not step on or walk into the volcano crater; it’s dangerous and, if you get caught, you will get expelled from the park.
- Leaving garbage on any section of the park might get you in trouble with the police; and also causes damages to the park. Please take all trash out of the park.
Poas Volcano National Park FAQS:
You can get to the park entrance, which is pretty close to the crater and with good altitude, but you can not go into the park out of the official schedule.
Depending on the traffic and if you know or not the road, the driving is faster or longer, the distance is approx 28 km (17.4 miles) and no matter if you are in San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, etc, as long as you are visiting Costa Rica, this map will get you to the volcano: https://goo.gl/maps/i87o8vZsKcHNSbKF6
The distance between San Jose town and Poas Volcano is approx 49 km (30.4 miles). Driving may take you around 1.5 hrs to get there (depending on traffic conditions this may vary) and you can also take public transportation to the park, however, this will make the trip duration longer, around 2.5 hours to get there.
This volcano is not dormant at all; in fact, it has erupted 40 times since 1828, including April 2017 when visitors and residents were evacuated.