Updated: Oct 31
Volcán Poás (2704m) is an active volcano with one of the biggest craters in the world! It has a diameter of 1,3 kilometres and a depth of 300 meters. Within the crater, there is a lake with a diameter of 400 meters and a depth of 14 meters.
Volcán Poás is part of the Cordillera Volcánica Central, a volcanic mountain range that stretches over 80 kilometres through Central Costa Rica. Other volcanos like the Volcán Barba, Volcán Irazú and Volcán Turrialba are also part of this ‘Cordillera’.
In this article we explain with plenty of insider tips how to plan and enjoy your visit to Volcán Poás to the fullest!
A visit to the Poás Volcano is a great morning excursion from Mangífera Hostel. There are a few important things you need to know though before visiting Volcán Poás!
In this section of this article you can find out what's the best way for you to get to there: by car, joining us on a tour, Uber or public bus.
Volcán Poás is very often covered in a thick layer of clouds and mist, so it's not sure that you're actually going to see the crater. In this section of this read, we explain you step by step how you can increase your chances to arrive with good weather conditions.
Because your visit can perfectly look like this:
Make sure you're in good company, then you'll never be disappointed:
Well, we didn't see anything this time. But it was still a whole experience.
Or it can look somewhat like this:
You arrive and you still don't see anything: this sucks!
You start thinking: what can I do...
And, out of pure desperations you come up with the weirdest strategies to make the fog disappear.
But then... all of a sudden.... the clouds start to fade
And you get to enjoy the amazing view of this impressive place.
Other things to keep in mind:
Since the volcano recently has shown activity you are only allowed to go to the viewpoint and stay there for maximum 20 minutes. At this moment it's not possible to walk/hike around in the national park.
Volcán Poás can only be visited after buying tickets on the website of Sinac. You CAN NOT buy your tickets at the entrance. For foreigners the total cost for a visit is about $19 per person.
It's also important to know that you have to buy a ticket for a certain time slot. This is due to the fact that every 20 minutes, only a limited amount of people are allowed to visit the viewpoint. You can't arrive late, because you'll be denied access.
How to make your visit to Volcán Poás a success? A step by step guide.
One day before you want to visit, go to the website of Sinac and check out if there are still tickets available for the time slots that you want to visit. If they are almost running out of tickets, you might want to consider to already buy your ticket for the desired time slot. We advise you to pick a time slot between 9am and 10am, since (according to us) you have the biggest chance to see something around this hour. Important note: If there are still plenty enough tickets, don't buy them yet.
Check the weather conditions at around 7:15am on the day that you want to visit. We suggest you to go outside and check out the amount of clouds around the top of Volcán Poás from Grecia town. This is a first indication if it will be worth it or not. Secondly, you can watch the webcam on this webpage. If you only see a lot of clouds everywhere...You just kind of know that it's not worth the visit.
If you can actually see the crater on the webcam, you can consider to go. Calculate about an hour to arrive. We advise you to take off around 8am, to arrive at around 9am. Don't buy your tickets yet, unless the weather conditions are amazing. The best option is to drive almost all the way to the top and stop at Fresas Maye to buy your tickets. At Fresas Maye work a couple of very friendly ladies that can help you to buy your tickets. It will cost you a little bit more than buying them directly on the website of the Sinac, but the big advantage of doing it in this way is that you will almost be sure that you are going to enjoy the amazing view at Volcán Poás. You can ask the ladies to check out the webcam to see if the weather conditions at the top still look alright. If it turns out to be very cloudy, you can still decide to not buy the tickets and save at least $19 per person to spend on other activities in Costa Rica.
This is, according to us the best way to approach your visit to Volcán Poas. Because, if weather conditions allow it and the volcano is visible... it's a MUST DO in Costa Rica. The crater of Volcán Poás is overwhelmingly big and the colours are just amazing.
Some other tips:
The climate in Grecia is totally different from the climate around the volcano! It’s cold and windy at the top. Don’t get tricked by the calm and warm weather in the valley. Prepare yourself well by wearing layers and taking enough clothes. We also advise you to take a rain jacket, just in case!
You can also choose to stay a couple of days in Grecia to enjoy Volcán Poás in a calmer way and to give yourself time to enjoy the other of the beaten path activities around this vibrant town. Check out our other blog posts for more inspiration about the attractions that our surroundings offer.
The environment of Volcán Poás
Because of the colder climate around Volcán Poás, farmers cultivate different types of fruits and vegetables on the slopes of the volcano. On the roads towards the volcano, you’ll find vendors selling their harvest. Especially the strawberries, blackberries and blueberries are worth a try!
The landscapes and views from the slopes of the volcano are magnificent:
Laguna Fraijanes, located on the slopes of the Volcán Poás, is a nice place to have a picnic and a small afternoon hike on the way down back to Grecia. You can also have lunch at ‘Mirador del Poás’. A typical Costa Rican bar/restaurant with views over the farmlands of the central valley:
How to get there?
Volcán Poás is one of the few volcanos that can be reached by a paved road. If you travel with your own car or a rental car through Costa Rice, it’s very easy to get there. You just type ‘Parque Nacional Volcán Poás’ in Waze, and you’re off!
If you don’t have a (rental) car, there are a couple of options to visit Volcán Poás.
You can ask us at Mangífera Hostel for the possibilities to take you on a trip to the volcano. We can also offer other visits, like to Bajos del Toro or Cataratas 'Los Chorros'. Ask us and we'll inform you about availability, prices, etc.
You can go by Uber. Calculate enough time ahead to give the driver enough time to reach the hostel and to get you to the top so you arrive at the entry time you booked for. We advise you to request the Uber at least 1 hour and 20 minutes in advance. You can ask the driver to wait for you at the top of the volcano to take you back home after your visit. It depends on the time of the day what Uber will charge you for the ride. It’s a nice idea to check with other travellers who are staying at our hostel to share an Uber ride to Volcán Poás.
Many people ask us if they can take a public bus to the volcano. Of course, this is the cheapest option, but it takes very long, it's hard to time this journey well (considering your ticket is bound to a certain entry time) and it's hard to arrive at an early hour when there is less chance of clouds. If you really want to take the bus, we would recommend to go there by Uber and to get back by public bus. In this way, you’re sure to arrive in time and on the way back, it gives you the opportunity to spend some time in the smaller villages surrounding Volcán Poás, enjoy the views and get a taste of the local food and culture. For the ones that still want to arrive by bus: To get to the volcano, you take a bus to the village ‘Poás’ at the bus station next to the ‘Mercado Municipal’ of Grecia. Once in Poás, you have to take a bus to ‘Poasito’. Get off on the last stop and walk up the hill to the entrance of the volcano. It’s about a 5 kilometre walk up. You can ask the bus driver or locals to point out where you have to get off and on the buses. To get back to Grecia by public bus, walk down from the Poás Volcano Parking lot to a restaurant called ‘Mirador del Poás’. This is about a 5 kilometre walk downwards to the last stop of the public bus (see image below). Take the public bus towards ‘Poasito’. In Poasito you need to change to another bus to the village ‘Poás’. Once in Poás you take a bus back to Grecia. You can ask the bus driver or locals to point out where you have to get off and on the buses.