The story behind the conservation of Poás Volcano began in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in the United States in the 1960s. When Costa Rican student Mario Boza visited the U.S. park, he was extremely impressed and decided to develop a plan to manage the Poás Volcano area in a similar way.
Boza's plan was ultimately adopted and Poás Volcano has become one of the symbols of the extensive system of national parks located throughout Costa Rica.
Poás Volcano is a true symbol of the geo-thermal forces that ultimately formed the country of Costa Rica, with its rain-fed lake surrounded by the rising smoke and steam. The crater itself is approximately 1,050 feet deep and nearly one mile across, making it the largest active volcano in the world.
The Perfect Day Trip from San Jose
Situated in the province of Alajuela
, Poás Volcano sits at approximately 2,700 meters above sea level. As it is only an hour and a half drive from downtown San Jose
, the national park is a popular day trip
destination for tourists from around the world.
Overlooking the crater lake is a visitor's center which offers a spectacular view of the volcano and is a site that should be a top priority for anyone traveling to Costa Rica on vacation. The best time to observe the crater is in the early morning before the clouds start to cover it.
Map of the Area
Travelers should also consider taking a hike through Poás Volcano National Park if the clouds are already covering the crater. This gives one an opportunity to view the impressive wildlife at the park while waiting for the clouds to clear out for the day.
Some of the wildlife that you will find at Poás Volcano National Park are the cloud forest birds, including hummingbirds, tanagers, toucanets, the clay-colored robin and the stunning quetzal.
Visit Coffee Plantations on the Way
The road to Poás Volcano National Park is a site in and of itself, with a variety of coffee plantations along the way. La Paz waterfall
is also located on the way to the national park, but it may be best to visit this exciting site on the way back from the volcano.
Because it is located in a cloud forest, Poás Volcano National Park can be extremely cold and wet, so make sure to pack warm clothing for this unforgettable trip.