Costa Rica (Republic of Costa Rica)

Languages: Spanish

Currencies: CRC · Costa Rican colón (₡)

Capitol: San José

Continents: North America

Borders: Nicaragua, Panama

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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

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Last updated on March 24, 2024

Poas Volcano National Park – one of the most spectaculat volcanoes I’ve seen, located 2700m above the sea level, with 350 meters deep lagoon crater. There are few options on how to get to Poas Volcano.

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

How to get to Poas Volcano

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 a local transport is fun but it will leave you with limited time to explore the park, as there is 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.

How to get to Poas Volcano from San Jose by a local transport?

Poas Volcano in definitely one of the best places to visit in Costa Rica, although it’s quite touristic 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 from the airport) – cost around 1$.
  • Once you get to Alajuela – ask for a bus terminal to Parque Nacional Volcán Poás – everyone will lead you the way. The tbus stop is well marked/see the photo. The ticket costs around 2$. We’ve been searching hundreds 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).
How to get to Poas Volcano from San Jose?

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

Most amazing things must 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 that offer 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 best options on Viator:

Is Poas volcano worth visiting?

Absolutely yes! The views of Poas Volcano and the crater lake are magnificent! This is one of the most incredible natural wonders I have visited. One thing you may want to check – is the weather forecast. I heard in a bad weather the volcano visibility might be very limited. Remember we are talking about an altitude of 2700 metres, 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 and visibility in January were amazing! But not everyone is so lucky, I know sometimes it gets really cloudy and you can’t see anything from the hill. Poas Volcano National Park is located in the forest, the temperature easily drop to 15 Celsius degrees, so bring some warm clothing. 

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

Bus going back to Alajuela will leave the National Park at 2.30 p.m. Don’t be late as there were more people coming back to San Jose and there is no other bus!!!

It is highly advisable to buy tickets in advance – from tripadvisor, restaurants, local agents! It happened that people were refused to enter the park because they didn’t have tickets, and it was not possible to buy them at the gate due to visitors limitation.

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.

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!

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