Poas Volcano National Park



An easy trip 35 mi/55 km northwest of San Jose, Poas Volcano (8,800 ft/2,700 m high) has what is said to be the world's largest active crater. A short hike from the car park at the summit leads to the rim, where you can see the colorful lake that often emits a puff of sulfuric smoke.

The park closes on occasion because of small eruptions and subsequent concern about sulphuric gas emissions. Stone steps lead you up through the lush cloud forest overhang to another crater, Botos Lake, that is extinct and filled with emerald waters. There is a nice sitting area overlooking the spot.

During the rainy season, it's best to visit the park early in the morning, otherwise you're likely to sit for hours waiting for the clouds to clear. Restrooms, an interpretation center with excellent exhibits, and a cafe are on-site.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens, about 8 mi/13 km east of the park, is a splendid addition to a Poas visit. In addition to the garden's stupendous waterfalls (accessed by steep trails), there's a huge netted butterfly garden, a serpentarium and several other attractions to fill the day. http://www.anywherecostarica.com/attractions/national-park/poas-volcano.

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