Volcano Day Trip outside San José

Poas Volcano – One of  Costa Rica’s Natural Wonders!

While traveling in Costa Rica, many visitors find themselves returning to the city of San José.  Sometimes, this is because San José is between the various destinations that lie up and down the countryside.  Other times, it’s because vacationers return to the capital with a day to spare before their flight home.  “Better early, than sorry” when it comes to catching a flight home.  If you find yourself with time to spare in the country’s capital, don’t despair!  There are plenty of perfect day trip options to take you out of the city and reveal the real Costa Rica!

One of the popular excursions is to the Poas Volcano National Park — a pleasant drive through coffee plantations and cattle-filled, grassy mountainsides.  The air is fresh and clean and you will find plenty of roadside sodas (small restaurants) to stop and admire the views.  Roadside vendors often offer sweet, locally grown strawberries along the way too.

Poas is best visited in the morning — before the mountain mist settles over its spectacular aquamarine water-filled crater, which bubbles and steams with a strong odor of sulfur.  The viewing point is very accessible; making it an ideal trip for those with small children or fellow travelers who are not able to hike for long periods.

For those who feel more adventurous, the park offers approximately 3 kilometers of trails that lead through the unusual dwarf cloud forest towards the volcano’s other lagoon crater.  Although the second one is less dramatic than the first, it’s still beautiful nonetheless.  The trails are often rewarding treks for bird-spotters — with the infamous Quetzal being among those seen.

The route is fairly simple.  Take the Pan-American Highway to Alajuela (in the direction of Juan Santa Maria Airport), exiting on Calle 2 for the town itself and then follow the signs for Itiquis and Fraijanes.  The volcano is also clearly marked.  The journey from San José takes about an hour and a half, so awake early and get moving to really make the most of your day!