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Poas Volcano National Park

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Poás Volcano National Park offers a stunning display of biological variety and geological marvels. Its focal point, the active Poás Volcano, captivates tourists with its easily accessible crater and changing landscape, especially for those who have never been near a volcano before. Keep reading to discover the incredible experience that the Poás Volcano National Park has in store for you.

Overview of the Park

Poas Volcano National Park is a striking example of the natural wonders that characterize this country rich in biodiversity. The park, which covers an area of more than 65 square kilometers, is home to the magnificent Poas Volcano, towering at an elevation of 2,708 meters (8,885 feet). Poas is one of Costa Rica’s most active volcanoes, with frequent eruptions that have shaped the surrounding terrain over millennia.

Besides witnessing the colossal volcano, visitors can enjoy a variety of other habitats, such as lakes, rich montane forests, and cloud forests.

Location, Hours, and Cost

Poas Volcano National Park is conveniently located approximately 37 kilometers (23 miles) northwest of San José, the capital city of Costa Rica, in the Central Valley. You can access the park via a scenic drive through verdant countryside, immersing yourself in the country’s natural splendor along the way.

The park is open every day (even holidays) from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, allowing ample time for exploration and discovery.

The entry fee for non-local visitors is $15 for those over thirteen and $5 for those under twelve. All earnings from this fee go toward the preservation and protection of this priceless natural heritage. Visitors can contribute to the ongoing efforts to safeguard Poas Volcano and its surrounding ecosystems by supporting these conservation initiatives.

Things to Do

Once inside the park, visitors are spoiled for choice regarding activities and attractions. Here there is our top 10 things to do in this national park.


Viewing the Crater

The main highlight, of course, is the breathtaking vista of Poas Volcano itself, with its steaming crater and turquoise crater lake, known as Laguna Caliente (meaning Hot Lagoon). Witness the impressive main crater, which is one of the largest active craters in the world. The crater often emits steam and gases, creating a mesmerizing sight. Poas Volcano is one of the many breathtaking volcano tours that Costa Rica has to offer.


Hiking Trails

Explore the various hiking trails within the park, which offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes, cloud forests, and volcanic features.


Botos Lake

Hike to Botos Lake, a beautiful crater lake located within the park. The trail to the lake provides opportunities for birdwatching and enjoying the lush vegetation.


Visitor Center

Go to the park’s visitor center to learn about the geology, ecology, and history of Poas Volcano and its surrounding areas through exhibits and educational materials.


Educational Programs

Participate in guided educational programs led by park rangers, which offer insights into the natural and cultural significance of the park.


Spot Wildlife

Keep an eye out for wildlife such as quetzals, coatimundi, toucan, house wren, armadillo, and many more birds and small mammals that inhabit the park’s diverse ecosystems.



Find endless inspiration in the park’s surreal landscapes and capture the unique geological features from the ethereal mists that shroud the crater to the vibrant hues of tropical flowers that adorn the forest floor.


Volcano Monitoring

Learn about the park’s role in volcano monitoring and research, which contributes to understanding volcanic activity and mitigating risks to nearby communities.



Enjoy a picnic amidst the scenic surroundings of the park. Several designated picnic areas provide opportunities for relaxation and enjoying nature.


Souvenir Shopping

Browse the souvenir shops near the park entrance, where you can find locally made crafts, artwork, and other memorabilia to commemorate your visit to Poas Volcano National Park.

General Recommendations

Before embarking on your journey to Poas Volcano National Park, it’s essential to come prepared. Here are a few recommendations to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience:

  • Wear layers of clothing to account for the often-changing weather and temperature swings.
  • Wear sturdy hiking shoes or boots with good traction, as some trails may be slippery.
  • Be mindful of altitude sickness, especially if you’re not accustomed to high elevations.
  • Take breaks as needed and listen to your body.
  • Respect the park’s rules and regulations, including staying on designated trails and refraining from littering.

By following these simple tips, you can make the most of your visit to Poas Volcano National Park while minimizing your impact on its delicate ecosystems.

Recommended Items to Bring

As you prepare for your trip to Poas Volcano National Park, consider packing the following items:

  • Sunscreen and sunglasses to protect against the strong tropical sun.
  • Insect repellent to ward off pesky mosquitoes and other biting insects.
  • A lightweight rain jacket or poncho in case of sudden downpours.
  • Snacks and energy bars to refuel during your trip.
  • A small backpack to carry essentials such as water, snacks, and camera gear.
  • Binoculars for wildlife viewing and birdwatching opportunities.

With these essential items in tow, you’ll be well-equipped to explore the wonders of Poas Volcano National Park and create lasting memories amidst its natural splendor.

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Best Time of Year to Visit

While Poas Volcano National Park is a year-round destination, the best time to visit is during the dry season, which typically runs from December to April. During this time, you’ll enjoy clearer skies, warmer temperatures, and optimal hiking conditions, allowing you to fully appreciate the park’s beauty and diversity.

However, even during the rainy season (May to November), Poas Volcano retains its allure, with lush vegetation and fewer crowds to contend with. Just be prepared for the possibility of afternoon showers and cooler temperatures at higher elevations.

In conclusion, Poas Volcano National Park offers a captivating blend of natural beauty, geological wonders, and outdoor adventure, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Expect an awe-inspiring spectacle of its active volcano as well as the tranquil beauty of its cloud forests. This national park invites visitors to embark on a journey of discovery and exploration unlike any other.

As you traverse its rugged trails and immerse yourself in its enchanting landscapes, take a moment to reflect on the profound mysteries of the natural world and the importance of preserving these precious ecosystems for future generations to enjoy. If you would like to visit this extraordinary national park on your next trip to Costa Rica and have any questions about it or need to find amazing vacation rental properties in the area, check out what we can offer you!

Other Attractions

After you have visited volcanoes and national parks you may want to observe (or cool off in) some of the many beautiful waterfalls while in Costa Rica. Be sure to view our full list of things to do in Costa Rica to ensure you’re experiencing all of the main attractions while on your vacation.
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