Centrally located in the province of Alajuela, Poas Volcano National Park is a popular destination for both residents and travelers alike and is a perfect day trip for all members of the family.
About an hour and a half away from San Jose you can find yourself entering the mystical realm of the cloud forest as you embark on the chance to look deep into one of the largest craters that the world has to offer.
The drive to Poas Volcano National Park is just as beautiful as the park itself. As the paved road takes you on a journey through the mountains, you feel the temperature begin to change, to fresh cooler air.
The sprawling views below of the rolling pastures and valleys will have you stopping for photos all along the way. Strawberry stands line the roadway along with plenty of souvenirs, they are some of the most delicious, fresh strawberries so make sure you stop to pick some up for the adventure.
Over the years there have been some dramatic changes with Poas Volcano National Park as it is an active volcano. There was activity several years ago causing the park to have to close temporarily.
The reopening in 2018 came with some limitations in the park, no longer are you able to hike through the trail loop to the Botos Lagoon. However, it is still a must-see destination and delivers an amazing experience with stunning photographs.
Visiting Poas Volcano
When you arrive, you will be required to listen to a short informative presentation going over some safety precautions as it isn’t every day you are walking in the presence of an active volcano.
Everyone is given safety helmets to wear while in Poas Volcano National Park as part of the safety measures. Bathrooms are also located in the same general area as your safety presentation.
The paved path to the sprawling volcanic crater is lined with trees and foliage feeling the presence of nature all around you. The trees drip with moss with ferns exploding from the forest.
Throughout you will see plenty of poor man’s umbrella plants which are exactly what they sound like, they have giant leaves that could act as umbrellas if you get caught in the rain. You won’t see animals along your walk however, you are more likely to see the various birdlife and perhaps even the resplendent quetzal who can be found within the cloud forests.
There are several different observation areas and platforms to have your rare opportunity to look into the crater, spanning over a mile across. The aquamarine and green are set against the backdrop of the grays popping before your eyes.
The weather may not always cooperate as you are in an area of cloud forest so you may need a bit of patience. But when the clouds break you will be marveled at what stands before you.
Visiting during the rainy season may hinder your chance of possibly seeing into the crater. However, walking through the path in the clouds, feeling the wind and rain as you tower above the crater is still yet a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
You may not realize what lays beneath but you will know you are there with the fumes of the sulfur in the air.
Tickets for Poas National Park
This National Park is a bit different in the means of its operation in comparison to some of the other parks in Costa Rica. You will need to plan ahead for your outing in order for everything to go well.
Poas Volcano National Park has a limited number of entrances to the park each day and you must access their online booking site in order to make a reservation. You are no longer able to purchase your tickets at the park’s entrance booth.
It only takes a few moments so it is worth the effort, you can register at https://serviciosenlinea.sinac.go.cr/
If it is your first time you will have to create an account on the SINAC website before purchasing your online reservation.
While on SINAC’s ticket portal ensure you choose Parque Nacional Volcán Poás and decide which date and time work best for you and your schedule that day. Take a moment before choosing as you want to factor in your travel time as they do not refund your purchase if you are unable to make your reservation time slot.
The first entrance is at 8 am, set at 20-minute intervals with the last entrance at 2:20 pm. The reservation requires you to include the names of those in the reservation as well as their identification whether it be passport numbers or cedula. Have this on hand when you visit to be prepared when they ask for confirmation at the entrance booth.
Entrance fees are $15 for non-resident visitors who are over the age of 13 and $5 for non-resident children that are between the ages of 2 – 12. Residents and nationals are only 1,000 colones for those 13 years and up and national and resident children from the ages of 2 -12 are 500 colones.
The park does charge a parking fee for your visit which is 2,000 colones if arriving in a car and motorcycles are 1,000 colones. Remember that you are visiting an area of a cloud forest so the weather can be cooler. You will want to bring a warm layer and even a poncho or rain jacket if you are visiting during the rainy season.
Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most visited destinations in Costa Rica and once there you will understand why. It is the perfect stop to add to any day trip, walking through the slow-moving mist waiting to unveil what’s behind the clouds. There is a sense of peace and tranquility in the silence as you walk alongside the forest.
Standing above such a powerful geological force, looking into the depths of the volcanic crater will leave you speechless. Poas Volcano National Park is yet another amazing wonder that can be found within the beautiful country of Costa Rica.