Updated: Jan 28
Volcán Poás (2704m) is an active volcano with one of the biggest craters in the world! The crater has a diameter of 1320 meters and a depth of 300 meters. Within the crater, there is a crater 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’. Since the volcano is located in the mountain forests of the central mountain range, the landscapes and views from the slopes of the volcano are magnificent.
A visit to the Poás Volcano is a great morning excursion from Mangífera Hostel. There are a few things that you need to know before you visit Volcán Poás!
The top of the volcano is part of the national park: ‘Parque Nacional Volcán Poás’ and can only be accessed after buying a ticket on the website of Sinac (Sistema Nacional de Áreas de Conservación Costa Rica),a governmental organisation that takes care of the national parks in Costa Rica. We strongly advise you to already check out the availability of tickets BEFORE you get to Grecia, otherwise you might lose the opportunity to visit the volcano. Sinac only allows a certain amount of people to access the national park. Through this webpage you can get your tickets for Volcán Poás. To buy a ticket, you have to register yourself first. 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 example the one about Sarchí, for more inspiration about the attractions that our environment offers.
Although the national park is open between 8 am and 4 pm, the best time to visit the volcano is early in the morning, before 10 am. Normally, after 10 pm, clouds start to gather around the top of the volcano. That’s a pity, because they cover the volcanic crater and you won’t be able to enjoy the views from the top.
Since the volcano is located in a protected area and because recently it has shown activity, you are only allowed into the national park through a guided visit. You’ll stay near the crater for about 20 minutes.
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!
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! 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 reach. You just type ‘Volcán Poás parking lot’ in Google maps, and you’re off! Be aware that it takes about a 50 minute drive to get there. We advise you to leave one hour before the indicated time on your ticket to the national park.
If you don’t have a (rental) car, there are two options to visit Volcán Poás.
You can request an Uber. Calculate enough time ahead to give the driver enough time to reach the hostel and to get you to the top before the entry time that’s shown on your ticket. We advise you to request the Uber 1 hour and 15 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. Count on a cost of approximately ₡13.000,00 (= about $23,00) for the way up. The way down is probably a bit cheaper. To lower the price, it’s a nice idea to check with other travellers that stay in our hostel to share a ride to Volcán Poás.
Take the public bus. This options is the cheapest option, but it takes longer and you have to plan your journey well beforehand. 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, 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. 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.
Insider tip: You can also go up with an Uber and come down, back to Grecia with the public bus. This way, you’re sure to arrive in time. 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.
Enjoy your visit to Volcán Poás!