Poas Volcano National Park
Duration: Half Day
Poas Volcano is the most visited National Park in the Costa Rica, due to its close proximity to San José, and the fact that it is one of the most biologically diverse parks in the country, covering an area of approximately 16 acres. A visit should be high on your list during your holiday in Costa Rica. The road to the park is an adventure in itself, as you admire the spectacular views; passing quaint villages, coffee plantations and dairy farms. When you finally arrive in the park, you are surrounded by lush green, unique vegetation.
Poas Volcano is an active volcano, and one of the most spectacular in Costa Rica. Featuring impressive craters and stunning scenery, visitors can get right to the edge of the volcano and look down into the bubbling cauldron below, which offers fantastic photo opportunities. At 320 meters deep, one mile wide and rising 2,708 meters above sea level, this crater is the largest accessible crater in the world. Sulphuric smoke and steam often rise from the boiling acid lake at the bottom, and the muddy waters often change colour (from turquoise, grey, green and yellow), depending on the volcanic activity. There are small, frequent geyser-type eruptions, but the last major eruptions occurred between 1952 and 1954.
The well-marked trails will lead you to two other craters in the park − the extinct Von Frantzuis and the Botos – both of which remain inactive. Botos is a beautiful, bubbling, crater lake, filled with cold green-blue water and surrounded by lush cloud forest. The area is home to a large number of cloud forest birds, including hummingbirds, flycatchers, tanagers, emerald toucanets, the famous resplendent quetzals and the lay-coloured robin, Costa Rica's national bird. The Botos crater has not erupted for about 7,500 years.
Aside from birds, the park contains a variety of other wildlife species, within four different ecosystems: cloud forest, an area of arrayans, scarce vegetation and stunted or ‘dwarf’ forests, which are unable to grow properly due to the acid rain that emanates from Poas Volcano. As you walk along the short, well-kept trails, look out for creatures such as bang’s mountain squirrels, bats, skunks, coyotes and Poas green-yellow squirrels, which can only be found here and nowhere else in the world – hence the name.
What to bring: Sun block, light jacket, walking shoes, raincoat, camera and hat.
Length of tour: Half day
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