A Quick Stop at Poás Volcano National Park
After all the buses, taxis, and boats we had been in over the last ten days, it felt good being driving on my own – Music blasting, windows down, and ripping through the winding roads surrounded by lush coffee fields and flower farms all the way up Poás Volcano National Park. When looking north from San Jose (Alajuela), the 8,885 ft (2,708 m) Poás Volcano is a prominent feature rising from the horizon and on a clear day, it’s possible to see both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans from the summit. It’s not only one of Costa Rica’s largest and most active volcanoes, but also one of the most active in the world.
The national park itself was surprisingly developed with an extremely large parking area along with a decent-sized visitor center. From the visitor center, the “hike” to the caldera is about 10 minutes up a paved road, which we made quick work of along with what must have been a tour bus load of other people. The smell of sulfur got stronger and stronger as we walked up the road, which ended at an overlook peering down at a mile-wide (1.6km) and 1,000 ft (300m) deep smoking crater. The main caldera contains a large light blue-green sulfuric pool bubbling in the middle of the crater, emitting a large plume of smoke into the air. Small geysers would sporadically appear throughout the lake, displaying how active the volcano still is.