Poás volcano is a powerful symbol of the geothermal forces that formed Costa Rica. When the mist and clouds part you’ll see the sulfuric, bubbling green, rain-fed lake at the bottom, surrounded by smoke and steam rising from fumaroles. Water from the lake is constantly seeping through cracks in the hot rock, evaporating and building pockets of steam. When the pressure in these pockets exceeds the weight of the water above, the steam breaks through in geysers that rocket up to 820 feet high. At almost a mile across Poás is one of the largest active craters in the world.
Tours of the volcano are scheduled daily, including holidays, from 7 am to the last viewing tour at 1:20 pm. However, if the volcano shows disturbances, the park could be closed for viewing. Entrances must be purchased online using the SINAC website http://www.sinac.go.cr/EN-US/ac/accvc/pnvp/Pages/default.aspx. If the park is closed, you will find this notice on the website or the Poás volcano Facebook page:
During the high season, January through April, purchasing ahead of time online is strongly recommended. There are restaurants near the volcano (Restaurante Quieres) that will sell you a tour ticket with a $2 surcharge, but the number of visitors per tour is limited and you may not get the entrance time you planned your visit.
Each group is allowed 20 minutes in the park. The short walk from the entrance to the crater lake viewpoint is less than one kilometer on a paved, handicap friendly pathway. A guide will escort the group after watching a safety presentation and handing out helmets for visitors. Mornings typically are clearer, but there is no guarantee there will not be cloud cover in the cloud forest. The drive to the volcano and the scenery at the park are certainly worth the drive and effort to see the crater. Though 20 minutes is fairly short, bring a jacket or a sweater. You may want to explore the area after your tour of the volcano. You will be 8884 feet above sea level and the temperatures will be much cooler.
The park does have bathrooms near the entrance. Other amenities are limited and may not be open – bring water!
Children 2 to 12 years: $5
Parking for automobiles: $4