Get there as early as possible - it opens at 8AM because by 10AM the crowds and clouds have arrived. The crater view is a short (uphill) walk from the entrance and many people don't go much further than it, but there are also interesting trails to do - we took our picnic lunch (there is a cafe as well) and spent most of the day in the park - it is $15 to enter so we wanted to get our money's worth!
We arrived at SJO in time to check into our hotel, rent a car and drive out to the PoasVolcano. Using our GPS we took the crowded route through Alajuela city center to the Poas Volcano NP Once out of the city the road was a beautiful winding scenic country road to the Volcano NP. The park closes at 3:30pm so plan accordingly. We were lucky as we were able to walk up to the main crater and the view was spectacular. The clouds had cleared and we were able to see the crater as well as the there is no guarantee of a good view at Poas - as with many mountainous areas, the weather is very unpredictable and low cloud can ruin all the best views. The walk to the main crater is about 15-20 walk on a paved walkway. There was a nice gift shop and information center at the entrance to the Volcano. Cost $15pp. well worth the trip if the weather permits. we returned to San Jose via the lovely towns of Grecia and Sarchi. A much better route back to San Jose avoiding driving through Alajuela. Stopping in Sarchi is a must. Visiting with the locals in the town plaza was a treasured experience.
Poas Volcano was the first site we saw in Costa Rica and it was certainly one of the more memorable. Though an active volcano, do not expect to see lava pouring from the crater. At the summit of Poas is a stunning blue pool of water surrounded by steam and sulphur rising up from underneath. For us, the day was crystal clear, which we are told is not always a guaranteed. The viewpoint of the crater, about 500m away, affords a fantastic view, and although you are really only allowed to stay for about 20 minutes, it tends to allow enough time to take in the crater.The hike to the crater is not onerous, and if you are worried about any volcanic activity, they shut the park down if there's any indication that it might erupt. Also near Poas is the Botos Lagoon, the site of a now-extinct sister crater. The hike is maybe 20 minutes from Poas through the trees and it is a easily worthwhile. It is not onerous either, though the elevation seemed to wind a lot of people climbing to Botos. Botos now looks like a little pond, but it is a very scenic addition to the Poas experience. You can hike back to Poas the same way you came or via a longer route.There is also a reception centre and gift shop on site, though I did not take advantage of the reception centre. I am told if you want to see Poas' crater, the best time is early in the morning before the fog/clouds roll in. If you are really lucky, you can even see Arenal Volcano from Poas. Several hundred kilometres away, Arenal is only visible from Poas for two weeks a year. Feel lucky if you get to see it.
As indicated by previous reviewers, there is no guarantee of a good view at Poas - as with many mountainous areas, the weather is very unpredictable and low cloud can ruin all the best views. However, we were among the lucky ones to get clear views of not only the magnificent crater and its amazing grey-blue crater lake, but also the countryside for many miles around. It was stunning, and we know how lucky we were because our guide admitted that the last twice (in the previous week) he had taken parties to the rim of the crater, they had been able to see virtually nothing. With regard to the facilities, they were most impressive, with a series of enormous car parks, a big visitor centre with excellent shop, restaurant and toilet facilities and a range of explanatory boards and trails through the surrounding area.
We booked a tour through TAM & paid $45pp for a half day tour. We left our hotel at 8.30am & got to the attraction entrance around 10am. I noted the entrance fee was $15. It was clear blue sky & warm when we left. Upon arrival, it was very cold, raining slightly & had complete cloud cover. Make sure you take a sweater/jacket & a waterproof even if its 80 degrees when you leave your hotel! There is an optional path to go & see the lagoon too so we took that but again couldn't see anything due to cloud cover.We were disappointed & walked back to the cafeteria which was the meeting point for our tour. We had a choice to either stay there or give it another shot & walk back up to the crater viewing point. We chose to walk back up. What a good choice! for about 5 minutes, the cloud/fog disappeared & gave us an incredible view!We left the main parking lot at 11.40 and noticed how large the lines were to get into the car park, it was literally 1 car in, 1 car out so it seemed to be best to visit early to avoid the lines.
We were fortunate to visit the Poas Volcano on a perfect day, so we could fully appreciate the beauty of the crater lake. This park is well-maintained and handicap accessible; Costa Ricans should be justifiably proud of this and their other national parks.
The volcano is interesting and there is a nice view if clouds clear up. Make sure you arrive early enough to do tour on path which takes about 50 minutes. We arrived at 2:30 to discover park closed at 4 pm. View was great at this hour because it was a sunny day and the fog had burnt off. Attraction a little pricey for non Costa Ricans ($15 I think). Make sure you have enough warm clothes. Drive to Volcano is very pretty.
I visited Poas Volcano on my recent Caravan Tour. We were blessed with a beautiful, clear day that offered an amazing view of the crater. The easy half mile hike to the crater from the parking lot is on a paved road with slight elevation. Depending upon the time of day and year this area is shaded and may be cool. I was quite comfortable in my windbreaker. The path is lined with Poor Man's Umbrellas and other interesting vegetation. I found out later that the acid rain associated with the volcano causes the commonly seen holes in the leaves. Once at the crater signs are posted to limit your visit to 20 min. I could faintly smell the sulfur and after awhile sensed a tickle in my throat, but otherwise had no lasting effects. I also took advantage of hiking the Escalonia Cloud Forest Trail. This is moderate to challenging depending upon the speed with which you take the stairs and inclines. But, the gift at the top is a beautiful lake crater. I continued the trail to the parking lot which extended the hike quite a bit. I probably got in 3.5 miles in the couple of hours I was there. I suspect that the ratings for this attraction are completely dependent on the weather. If you have flexibility in your schedule, match this up with a clear morning and you will not regret it.
We hired a private driver that our hotel concierge recommended. I couldn't imagine spending half a day there with a tour bus, its very cold. The drive up the volcano is so beautiful. Some of the vendors were selling winter jackets and I thought that was a bit dramatic until I left the car and walked to the crater. It is freezing. Luckily I had a small blanket in my bag. There is also a building near the parking lot that sells coffee and food and souvenirs. There is also washroom facilities on the trail. We could barely see anything because of the thick white fog. There is a walking trail you can take to a lagoon if you venture off of the main walkway to the crater. (The walk from the parking lot to the crater is very short) So we took one of the walking trails which was an upward climb to see some of the forestry. It is absolutely beautiful!!! The drive up the volcano and all the souvenir shops on the drive plus the walking trail in the Poas Volcano park definitely made up for not seeing the crater due to fog. There is beautiful cloud mists as you walk around. If you go, dress warm!! I think the entrance fee per person was around 15$ US and 4$ for parking.
Went there last week and by the time we reached the observation deck, it was cloudy. However after 10-15minutes of waiting, we saw the main crater.
The volcano was awesome, but you do have to get there early to beat the fog/clouds. The day we went, it was already foggy when the park opened, and we had to wait about and hour for the fog to blow out for a total of about 25 seconds. In that 25 seconds you could see the crater and lagoon, but then the fog/clouds blew back in so heavy you couldnt see much more ahead of where you were standing.The wind is very strong. If you plan on waiting it out to see the lagoon and crater, bring a good jacket and maybe even gloves...my hands were freezing by the time we got back to the car. I think it was probably about 45-50 degrees fahrenheit, with a strong wind. It is about a mile hike to get to the active crater, and another mile to the old crater. Both are equally as foggy and windy.
Got to the park at about 9:45 am, up at the crater rim it was freezing cold, windy and cloudy. I couldn't see anything, but I decided to tough it out and wait. At 11:00 am the winds shifted and I was able to see the amazing view of the crater. My tour left the park at 11:45 am and I was back at my hotel in Escazu by 1:30 pm.I recommend warm shoes and a jacket.
We were staying in Jaco so the ride to the site is about 2 hours; well worth it. The temps are cold and it is a beautiful walk up to the volcano. We were very lucky to see the perfect colors as the sun was out for a short period; then the fog came in so we were quite fortunate to witness the site with good pictures.
Short stay in the park with two very small trails. You can see the volcano crater and lagoon (weather permitting), with smoke raising. Very beautiful view, but don't expect any special volcanic activity like geysers. Go there VERY early (park opens at 8, be there before), but check the skies before going. If you're lucky you'll have clear skies and be able to see the crater. if you go late, your chances are slim..
This is probably a good place to visit - but not in the rain like it was when we visited in January. Our visit highlight was a hot cup of machine coffee so that tells the whole story. Thank Heavens that we had our panchos; they sure came in handy. Didn't (couldn't) see the volcano and the whole area was very slippery and dangerous.