The Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most important National Parks of Costa Rica, perhaps, it could be considered as the most important of the country in terms of tourism, since is the most visited of the country and because it holds one of the only 2 volcanoes that can be accessed all the way to its crater by vehicle (the other one is Irazu Volcano). Poas is one of the active Volcanoes of Costa Rica where minor volcanic activity can be seen, such as fumaroles that constantly produce gas and steam from the main crater. Other Costa Rica Volcanoes where this type of activity also takes place are the Miravalles Volcano, Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Tenorio Volcano and Arenal Volcano; but the one that is really active nowadays is the Turrialba Volcano, doing very large ash and incandescent rock eruptions.
Besides a constantly active volcano, the Poas Volcano National Park offers other natural attractions, such as nature trails through its high altitude Cloud Forests and access to the beautiful Botos Lagoon, a large ancient volcanic crater filled with rain water and covered with lush forests in its surroundings, that it is believed last erupted about 7,000 years ago. The name Botos was given to this extinct crater because of the of name of the native tribe that use to inhabit this area and its surroundings: the Botos Indigenous Tribe, that extended even as far as the Sarapiqui Rainforest area, many kilometers away from here.
In terms of size, Poas is a relatively small national park compared to others, measuring just a total of 6,506 hectares (16,076 acres), but very important for the conservation of the fragile flora and fauna of the region, including some endangered species like the resplendent quetzal and other Costa Rica’s Animal Species. The weather here is cooler because of the high altitude of 2,700 meters (8,800 feet) above sea level, and it ranges from 8-20 degrees Celsius during the day (45-68 Fahrenheit), but it could go as low as below freezing during the night hours. During the rainy season, May – November, this area normally stays clear in the mornings until 10-11 a.m. and then it gets cloudy, which makes it difficult to observe the craters. During the dry season, November – May, the weather is very unpredictable here, and as it could be perfectly clear all day, it could also be drizzling, cold and cloudy all day long and for several days (this happens more than likely between mid-November through February). If you are planning to visit Poas, make sure to bring a sweater and a rain coat, both could be very helpful…
This national park has many advantages that make it the most visited of the country, such as a very easy access from the Capital City of San Jose, which is only one hour away by vehicle and the road is paved all the way to the parking lot of the park. Also, the surrounding areas of the Poas Volcano National Park had developed a lot, with several restaurants, souvenir shops, cafeterias and some attractions for those planning to take a one day tour there, such as zip lining tours, cattle farming tours, coffee tours, nature walks, recreational areas with sport’s fields and the famous La Paz Waterfall Gardens, which is the most visited privately own attraction of the country, featuring nature trails in the rainforest to observe 4 beautiful waterfalls; large botanical gardens including an orchid collection; and an animal exhibit that shows more than 100 native species to Costa Rica, like frogs, snakes, wild jungle cats (like jaguars, ocelots, pumas, margays), birds, monkeys and the largest butterfly garden in Central America. Even though this area is developing in terms of tourism, there are not a lot of lodging options around the national park, just a couple of luxury hotels and a handful of modest accommodations.
The Poas Volcano National Park is also very important for the protection of the natural areas of Costa Rica, because it is a part of the Central Volcanic Conservation Area, a group of national parks that create a large biological corridor that connects the tropical forests from the South Regions with the ones on the Northern Regions, allowing our Diverse Wildlife to travel and populate freely throughout the whole territory of Costa Rica. This project has being very successful, because many species that were extinct in some areas are now populating again, like the impressive jaguar, that was extinct for many years in the North Pacific part of the country and now it is believed to have more than 100 of these beautiful animals there.