The Poas Volcano
The Poas Volcano that gives our
The geographical landmark is protected as part of the
The geographical landmark is protected as part of the Poas Volcano National Park, a reservation area that comprises a whopping 5,600 hectares, including two distinct craters and abundant natural forests.
A large percentage of visitors who travel Latin America make a point of including the Poas crater lakes in their itinerary, and with good reason. The summit crater lakes are incredibly scenic and often feature geyser-like eruptions of up to 250 meters! Lake Botos is the southernmost of the two and last erupted around 7,500 years ago, leaving its water cold and clear, the perfect habitat for cloud forest birds such as hummingbirds, tanagers, flycatchers and the clay-coloured robin. The other lake is warm and acidic, featuring frequent eruptions that have been documented since 1828. Aside from the lake, the 2,708 meter stratovolcano also boasts reservoirs of molten sulphur near its active crater, the only known examples of its kind in the world.
If you are loath to leave the comfort of your Costa Rica rainforest lodge just to gaze at a couple of water-filled craters, rest assured that there is plenty of other activity at the Poas Volcano. An active volcano prone to frequent small geyser and lava eruptions, this big boy has also gained a reputation of being the world’s largest geyser due to its sizeable eruptions of muddy water and steam. History tracks its eruptions as far back as 11 million years and as recently as 1989, when the park had to be closed to visitors due to dangerous levels of sulphurous gas.
Poas accommodation providers often point out the Poas Volcano National Park as the first tourist attraction in the region that warrants a visit. The park boasts an interactive visitors’ centre that features educational presentations and activities. But a day at the volcano doesn’t have to be stuffy or academic. Aside from its volcanic activity, the park also boasts four different habitats that clearly display Costa Rica’s unbelievable biodiversity. The habitats include scarce vegetation, cloud forests, an area of canyons, as well as a fascinating stunted forest, also known as a dwarf forest, is one of the most interesting ecosystems present in the park area and features an array of tough ferns and bonsai-like trees that remain small due to the acid rain that comes from the volcano.
Visitors looking forward to combining their stay at their accommodation in Costa Rica with some scenic hiking, have come to the right place. The Poas Volcano National Park has a number of short, well-kept trails that run around the craters and venture into the forests. Here, keen naturists can observe the 79 bird species that inhabit the park, among which are the robin and the breathtaking quetzal. As far as mammals go, there are a variety of coyotes, weasels, skunks and various small felines. Make sure to keep your eyes open for a curious green-yellow squirrel. Aptly named the Poas green-yellow squirrels, these little guys are exclusive to the park and can be found nowhere else on the planet.
If you do plan on visiting the volcano, make sure to arrive before 10 a.m., since this is when the clouds roll in and obscure the main attraction – the crater. The facilities at the Poas Volcano National Park do not include a restaurant or vending machine facilities, so make sure to pack a lunch before setting out from your Costa Rica jungle lodge.