miles and roughly an hour drive from the capitol of San
Jose is the Poas Volcano. This is one of the most
visited areas in Costa Rica,
and the weekends here sees a lot of tourists who come
to see the streaming, sulfurous lake in the center of
one of the two explosion craters on Poas. Take the highway
near the airport through Alajuelas, and continue driving.
You will pass through Pilas, Poasito and then you just
follow the signs until you get there. You will notice
that the temperate begins to drop as you drive up the
smooth paved road up to the Poas Volcano National Park.
The summit area of Poas Volcano is covered with ash and
has little vegetation. Explosions still occur regularly,
and the activity like the steam, is often caused by the
interaction of the lava with the water. While the water
in the lake may seem inviting, it is extremely acidic
and can be as hot as 185 degrees Fahrenheit, so it is
definitely not for swimming. There is mild activity occurring
frequently, and 39 eruptions have been recorded since
1828. In 1989, high gaseous emissions caused the part
to shut down temporarily, but usually the eruptions are
of steam and muddy water, giving Poas the distinction
of being the world"s biggest geyser. There is an animal
that is unique as well. It is the Poas yellow-green squirrel,
and it is only found here in the part. Aside from this
79 species of birds live here, like hummingbirds and the
Aside from the visitor center and the wooden viewing
platform, there are trails in the forest that lead to
the craters of Poas. The main one is the 750-meter Crater
Overlook trail. It is paved, and goes around and directly
to the crater. A side trail will take about half an hour
to hike, and takes you to Botos Lake. Another 30 minutes
hike is the Escalonia trail, which winds through the forest.
The combination of cool temperatures and humidity makes
dressing comfortable a must. Solidly built comfortable
shoes are suggested, as well as a sweater to keep you
warm and a raincoat to stay dry.
The blue lake that used to be here drained away in 1989.
What remained was the first scientifically observed sulfur
pool on the surface of this planet. Io, Jupiter"s moon,
has sulfur volcanoes. So you can visit this otherworldly
setting and experience something that is truly out of
this world. Reflecting the climactic diversity of the
rest of the country, a number of different habitats are
within the Poas Volcano National Park. There is a cloud
forest, a stunted forest, and inhospitable areas with
little vegetation due to the acidic rain.
The nearby Poas Volcano Lodge is a comfortable place
to stay while you visit the volcano and the nearby Las
Paz waterfalls, which is only 20 minutes away. It is located
on the road between Poas and Vara Blancas. For more information,
call 506-482-2194, or go to www.poasvolcanolodge.com.
This lodge was erected as a main house for an English
daily farm. It is set on the slopes of the mountainside.
It has warm touches like a reading room, a sunken fireplace
and stone walls. The spare but inviting rooms of the Poas
Volcano Lodge are decorated with travel souvenirs from
countries around the world. This has a great home like
feeling, and you will find this a comfortable retreat
to return to after spending the day exploring the wonders
of Poas Volcano.