Peekaboo – Poás Volcano National Park, Costa Rica


Poás Volcano National Park, just over an hour from the capital San Jose, is said to be the most visited national park in Costa Rica. At nearly 9,000 feet (2,700 meters) the weather in the park is cool and fresh and many Ticos come here to escape the heat and relax, especially on weekends.

Visitors are also drawn here because of the massive size of this volcano. Some claim that Poás Volcano is the second biggest crater in the world. At 1 mile (1.5km) across and 950 feet (290 meters) deep this active volcano is impressive no matter where it ranks on the list. Add in a spectacularly green lake that has formed inside the very active crater and you’ve got one hell of a view. Sometimes.

At Poás Volcano National Park your biggest concern is not plumes of noxious fumes (though the park does close occasionally when volcanic gas levels get dangerously high) or the weekend crowds. Your biggest concern is the weather which is capricious and regularly covers the whole mighty spectacle in a dense blanket of clouds and fog. That’s why we had to visit Poás Volcano National Park twice.

Hide and seek in Poás Volcano National Park

During our first visit to the park in December the crater lake was completely clouded in. We stood in the cold, damp air in the observation area near the rim for nearly half an hour and caught only fleeting glimpses of it in the rare breaks between swirling clouds, steam and fog.

Believe it or not, there’s an impressively huge crater filled with eery green water behind that thick cloak of clouds, fog and steam at Poás Volcano National Park in Costa Rica.

Views galore in Poás Volcano National Park

Our second visit to Poás Volcano National Park in September was a different story with clear blue skies and a fully visible lake–impressively green and troubled looking.

Poas Vocano National Park, Costa Rica

It took two visits, but we were rewarded with a rare-ish clear day at Poás Volcano National Park in Costa Rica, affording us views of the impressive crater and crater lake.

After getting our fill of the main attraction we quickly ascended a well-groomed and well-maintained fairly gently trail to the dormant Botos crater where a lake has also formed. Sure enough, that one was cloud-free as well.

Potos Crater Lake, Poas Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

A gentle trail leads up to Botos lake, a second crater lake in Poás Volcano National Park in Costa Rica.

 

Poas Volcano panorama

Panoramic view of PoásVolcano in Costa Rica (click to enlarge this image).

Two ways to stay near Poás Volcano National Park

Though San Jose is close by you really want to be at the park entrance when it opens at 8 am to increase your chances of clear skies. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to stay near the park and we can suggest two very different options.

Poás Volcano Lodge is stylish, homey and surprisingly sophisticated thanks to the care and creativity of owner Michael Connor’s post-earthquake reinvention of the place a couple of years ago. For more very good reasons to stay (like fresh strawberries and awesome hiking trails and the evening company of Mr. Connor and his gregarious sidekick Beba).

Poas Volcano Lodge

Gorgeous room #5 at Poás Volcano Lodge in near Poás Volcano National Park in Costa Rica.

Oh, and if you work up an appetite during your visit to the park, stop for a meal or a snack at a restaurant called Chubascos–you can’t miss the sign or the crowded parking lot right on the road to/from the park. This place is an institution and is most famous for grilled meat but they also served up the lightest, creamiest fried yucca we’ve ever had.

Another very different place to stay near the park is The Peace Lodge at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park with massive rooms with fireplace, elaborate stone work and private patios with outdoor jacuzzis.

The best thing about staying at The Peace Lodge is access to their on site nature park which boast an enormous aviary, one of the best (and most educational) butterfly enclosures we’ve ever been too, an extremely popular outdoor hummingbird haven, a well-populated frog enclosure and a series of large runs for jungle cats that have been abandoned or rescued–everything from margays to pumas to ocelots to jaguars can be seen here.

Even better? Guests of The Peace Lodge can return to the cat enclosures after dark which is when the animals become most active.

Ocelot feeding time - La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

An ocelot at feeding time in La Paz Waterfall Garden in Costa Rica where guests of their on-site hotel, The Peace Lodge, have exclusive access to the park and its animals even after dark which is when their collection of rescued big cats comes to life.

Keel Billed Toucan - - La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

A keel-billed toucan gets curious in the aviary at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Karen w/ Chestnut Mandibled Toucan - The Peace Lodge, Costa Rica

Karen chatting with a chestnut mandibled toucan in the aviary at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates) - Blue Jean Frog & Green & Black Poison Dart frog

It was fun spotting the dime-sized frogs, like this blue jean frog (left) and green and black poison dart frog (right), in the special enclosure at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Red-eyed Tree Frog - La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

A red-eyed tree frog climbs up the shirt of an employee at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Butterflies emerging from the cocoon - La Paz Waterfall Butterfy Garden, Costa Rica

These butterflies recently emerged from their cocoons in the excellent butterfly enclosure at La Pas Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Templo & Magia Blance Waterfalls - La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

A short trail leads to Templo Waterfall (left) and Magia Blanca Waterfall (right), part of La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Green Violet-ear Hummingbird (Colibri Verdemar) - La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

A green violet eared hummingbird takes full advantage of the special garden and feeders created just for them at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

Violet Sabrewing Hummingbird (Colibri Morado) - La Paz Waterfall Garden, Costa Rica

A violet saberwing hummingbird takes full advantage of the special garden and feeders crated just for them at La Paz Waterfall Gardens Nature Park in Costa Rica.

 

Read more about travel in Costa Rica

If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to my RSS feed!
[contextly_main_module]

Support us on Patreon





5 comments on “Peekaboo – Poás Volcano National Park, Costa Rica

  1. Pingback: Teach Through Educational Travel: Volcano Poas, Costa Rica - WorldStrides WorldStrides

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge