Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica)

Languages: Spanish

Currencies: CRC · Costa Rican colón (₡)

Capitol: San José

Continents: North America

Borders: Nicaragua, Panama

More useful information

Area: 51,100km2

Population: 5,094,114

Traffic/driving side: right

Landlocked country: No

Independent country: Yes

United Nations member: Yes

IDD Prefix: +506

Timezones: UTC-06:00

Traveling to Costa Rica? Get everything you need with the best deals:

Last updated on July 13, 2024
How to get to Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano National Park – one of the most spectacular volcanoes I’ve seen, located 2700m above sea level, with 350 meters 350-meter-deep lagoon crater. Poás Volcano National Park is located 31 miles from San Jose northwest direction. There are a few options on how to get to Poas Volcano, including a public bus.

This active volcano with a magnificent crater lake is located in the province of Alajuela and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

  • Poás Volcano elevation: 2700 meters above sea level.
  • Valcano Status: Active.

How to get to Poas Volcano from San Jose?

If you decide to take a local bus from San Jose to get to Poas National Park the drive takes about 1.5-2 hours. 

Going by local transport is fun but it will leave you with limited time to explore the park, as there is only one bus each way. You can go with an organized tour, which allows way more time to explore Poas natural wonder and hike the whole area toward Botos Crater lake.

If you missed your bus or prefer to arrive in Poas Volcano early in the morning (the park opens at 8 am) you can take a bus from San Jose to Alajuela and a taxi from Alajuela to Poas Volcano – the cost is around USD 60-70. 

How to get to Poas Volcano from San Jose?

Getting to Poas Volcano by a public bus.

Poas Volcano is definitely one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica, although it’s quite tourist and during good visibility weather you will be certainly surrounded by crowds. The good news is – it’s very easy to get there by public transport.

  • First you need to get from San Jose to Alajuela by public bus (Alajuela is a city located on the north of the airport) – costs around 1$.
  • Once you get to Alajuela – ask for a bus terminal to Parque Nacional Volcán Poás – everyone will lead you the way. The bus stop is well marked/see the photo. The ticket costs around 2$. We’ve been searching hundreds of information on bus schedules and each website contains different information. There used to be only one bus a day going to Poas Volcano at 9 a.m. Bus station sign – Poas Volcano (station nr 8).
  • If you have any doubts my advice is to go to the local bus station in advance and ask on how to get to Poas Volcano – they will tell you updated schedules and bus times – but till now there is only one bus running in the morning and one bus in the afternoon from Pooas Volcano.

How to get to Poas Volcano on your own.

You’ve got 3 options to get to Poas Volcano from San Jose:

  • By a local bus – it takes about 1.5-2 hours.
  • Taxi – it takes about 1 hour and the cost is around $65 – agree the price in advance. 
  • Book an organized tour, which often offers sightseeing the surrounding area or hot springs.

Most amazing things to see in Costa Rica.

Getting a tour to Poas Volcano.

If you want a more organized experience, you can book a tour to the volcano. This is much easier option on how to get to Polas Volcano and you don’t need to stress out about the buses. There are many tour companies offering guided hikes to the crater. This option is great if you want to learn more about the history and geology of the volcano.

Going by public bus to Poas National Park will leave you on a tight schedule, as there is only one return bus. If you want to be more flexible and have time to explore the area and hike to Botos Crater Lake it is better to go on a tour, here are the best options on Viator:

Is Poas volcano worth visiting?

Absolutely yes! Once you figured out on how to get to Poas Volcano you have granted yourself an access to one of the most magnificent views of an active volcano crater lake! This is one of the most incredible natural wonders I have visited. There is usually a thin layer of clouds hanging above the volcano. One thing you should check before visiting is the weather forecast. I heard in bad weather the volcano visibility might be very limited. Remember we are talking about an altitude of 2700 meters, which is highly and easily affected by weather conditions.

How much is an entrance fee to Poas Volcano?

The entrance fee to Poas National Park is 15$ and 2$ for Costa Ricans or residents. It’s a short hike, there is a paved road you can walk on to get to the lookout spot. This is an easy walk taking you directly to the crater.

However, there are many other trails you can explore in the area. After reaching the spectacular Poas Volcano hot acidic lake there is another attraction just a short walk from Poas. You will most likely see a path taking you to a beautiful Botos Crater Lake. It takes around 30 minutes to reach Botos and go back, so take your time to admire amazing nature and wildlife along the way.

How to get to Poas Volcano in Costa Rica - magnificent crater lake.

How long is a hike to Poas Volcano?

The hike to the crater is relatively easy, but it does require some physical exertion, especially if you want to take further to Botos Crater Lake.

The trail is well-maintained, but it can be steep in some places. It takes about 15 minutes to hike to the crater and the views along the way are stunning. When you reach the crater you will be greeted by a breathtaking sight.

The crater is about 1.7 kilometers wide and 300 meters deep. You can see the sulfuric lake at the bottom of the crater, which changes color depending on the level of volcanic activity.

It’s important to note that Poás Volcano is an active volcano, and it can be dangerous if you don’t follow the rules/there are restrictions in place to ensure the safety of visitors.

Best time to visit Poas Volcano?

The weather conditions and visibility in January were amazing! But you should know that sometimes it gets cloudy and the visibility from the hill is really bad. Poas Volcano National Park is located in the forest, the temperature easily drops to 15 Celsius degrees, so bring some warm clothing. 

At high altitudes, the best views are usually in the morning time. Poas Volcano opens at 8 am and it’s best to be there as early as possible. 

The bus going back to Alajuela will leave the National Park at 2.30 p.m. Don’t be late as there are many people looking to take the same bus back to San Jose and there is no other bus!!!

It is highly advisable to buy entry tickets to the park in advance – you can get them on TripAdvisor, in some restaurants and local agents! It is very common for visitors to be refused to enter the park because of a lack of tickets. It is not possible to buy tickets at the gate due to visitor limitations.

Hiking to Botos Crater Lake.

Hiking to Botos Crater Lake is very enjoable advanture. Once you’ve done admiring magnificent Poas Volcano you can take a 20-25 minutes walk toward Botos Crater Lake, located in Poas National Park. There is a visible, well maintaned path leading to an inactive Botos volcano with stunning green lake. The whole loop is about 2.5 kilometres.

Hiking Arenal Volcano.

I highly recommend considering La Fortuna Waterfall, Hanging Bridges and Arenal Volcano Combo Tour (Tripadvisor). These are some of the greatest sights to visit in Costa Rica, I explored the area for days and with different hikes. With this tour you are visiting three natural Costa Rican wonders in one day, with the chance to hike around Arenal Volcano, swim beneath La Fortuna Waterfall and spot wildlife as you walk the Arenal Hanging Bridges.

Arenal Volcano - How to get to Poas Volcano in Costa Rica?

Poas Volcano Hot Springs.

A lot of visitors would be looking for a natural hot springs river around Poas Volcano. There are no traditional hot springs directly associated with Poas Volcano itself, but there are several hot springs in the surrounding areas that you can visit and enjoy. These hot springs are formed by geothermally heated water and provide a relaxing and therapeutic experience. 

Note: This post may contain affiliate links, which are at absolutely no cost to you – I can earn a small commission on sales generated through this website and thanks to that I can share travel guides and inspirations that may help you reach your dream destinations and discover our unique world. I only recommend sites I actually use and have traveled to. Thank you for your support!

Sassari Sardinia

Hey - I'm Eva!

Hiker, adventurous traveler and the author of this blog. My biggest joy is mountaineering and writing reportage travel stories here on this blog, to help you create a unique travel experience. Traveling is freedom, allows you seeing the world truly, meet communities, grow. Taste it!

Leave a Comment