Conservation efforts at Poás Volcano National Park help shape a nation

Poas Volcano Costa Rica
Poas Volcano Costa Rica

Over the years, ecotourists have fully embraced Costa Rica as the ultimate destination for sustainable travel in the region. Travelers regularly visit the storied Central American country to view its myriad wildlife, incomparably beautiful and natural rainforests, and its numerous volcanoes. While those vacationers with a carefully budgeted travel schedule may have trouble deciding which of these aspects they like best, a day trip to Poás Volcano National Park may be able to suit all these needs in one.

Close to San Jose

Established as a national park in 1971 by the National System of Conservation Areas, Poás Volcano National Park is located just 19 miles from the popular city of San Jose and boasts a vast array of native and migratory wildlife that vacationers would be remiss not to see.

Conservation at Poás

Conservation efforts within the park have helped preserve innumerable species of plant, animal and insect, and have largely shaped the way the country's other national parks have been maintained to this day. According to David Rains Wallace, author of the book "The Quetzal and the Macaw," noted conservationist Mario Boza was so inspired by a trip to Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains National Park he had taken as a student, that he wanted to create a similarly run nature park in his native Costa Rica.

Boza's ideas would be used to help develop conservation areas in and around Poás Volcano National Park, and eventually serve as a model for all areas managed by the National Park system in Costa Rica.

Poás Volcano National Park

The park itself covers an area of around 65-square-kilometers, and plays host to an impressive array of both plants and animals. As the volcano itself features three unique craters (two of which are inactive), the areas that stretch along the boundaries of these areas feature very rich and potent soil and provide a perfect place for unique and rare plant life like the Poás Magnolia (known locally as the Candelilla), a rare form of subcanopy tree that sprouts ornate white and gray flowers that bloom between November and July.

Like many other parks found throughout the Central American nation, Poás Volcano National Park is also home to an impressive variety of bird species rarely seen outside of Costa Rica. Birds frequently spotted within the shadow of Poás Volcano include the clay-colored robin and the resplendent quetzal, as well as several varieties of hummingbird, tanager and toucan.

Of course Poás volcano itself is still a massive draw for the Alajuela Province, yet travelers should be cautious as the park has occasionally closed due to sulphuric gas emissions from the volcano's main crater.

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