Poas Volcano National Park Costa Rica’s most Visited

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Travel Costa Rica to the most visited national park-Poas Volcano National Park.  My husband Ken and I left very early in the morning traveling thru Alajuela on our way up to the Poas .  We decided to stop at a Coffee Plantation tour called Doka Coffee Tour-Three Generations.  Here we sampled several blends of coffee, toured the plantation and processing plant, learning how coffee is grown and all the many steps before it  actually becomes a cup of coffee.  Highly recommended tour:  the $12 entrance fee was well worth it.  Time for tour-1.5 hours

Fifty minutes later, after passing fern farms, strawberry fields, and diary farms-all of which look like a Norman Rockwell painting- we reached the entrance to the Poas Volcano park.  After paying the $7  each entrance fee, we walked the 20 minutes to the actual crater.  Which was bubbling and belching from it’s deep turquoise blue hot water pool  (geyser)  Quiet a spectacle!  We were glad we had worn our old comfortable tennis shoes and all weather jacket.  The weather was misty and windy-very cool, because we are 8,000 feet above sea level.
Then we hiked the  Botos trail to the secondary inactive crater (now a small jade colored lake).  Boy were we tired when we got there…quite an incline., but worth it.  This took us around forty five minutes up and down.
On the way down we stopped at Fredda Fresas restaurant, Costa Rica for a delicious typical Costa Rican lunch called casada.  Rice, black beans, cabbage slaw,  locally grown fresh vegetables yucca and chayote, and chicken or shredded beef.  Yummy.  Plus a strawberry shake made from the locally grown strawberries and desert-of course- was thres leches (three milk cake) recipe originated in Nicarauga.  Topped off with a cup of capuchino. Wow!  All for $8 a person.
Afterwards, Fredda insisted we visit his home across the street where we met Camilla,  his golden retriever  and Bambi, the baby deer.  Bambi was affectionately licking Camila’s face.  Needless to say, they are great friends and companions.  Then he took us on a personalized tour of the kitchen run by his wife and children…the highlight being  the wood burning stove where we got a lesson on how to make homemade tortillas.   Fredda’s warm hospitality is very typical of Costa Ricans.  They are gentle,  friendly and helpful, and find time for  their friends.  Not in a rush–like us north Americans.
Well..this kind of laid back life style is definitely rubbing off on us.  And as they say here in Costa  “Pura Vida” …. pure life
Ken and I drove our rental car, but this tour can be purchased from several different tour agencys (check at your hotel)  And is considered an all day tour.  Last I checked cost was around $80 per person.  Or hire a taxi (from your hotel) for the day..around $125.00
Clothing- very comfortable walking shoes and all weather light rain jacket.  Of course the camera–great photo opportunities.
Try to get there around 10 am or earlier because often clouds cover the crater (the later in the day, the worse it is)  However, hang around the crater awhile and the clouds may be blown over by the winds.
Dry season December thru April is best time to visit.  Otherwise you may get afternoon rains.
Unfortunate to say, but the other popular tourist attraction located 20 minutes from the Poas Volcano National …The La Paz waterfall Gardens were heavily damaged by the Jan. 10, 2009 earthquake of 6.2 magnitude.  And for now is closed, the roads over to the waterfall gardens were very heavily damaged by the quake.
The road which leads to the Poas Volcano is open and in good repair.
Park hours 8:30 to 3:30  all year.  Entrance fee $7 per person.
There is a small coffee shop and bathrooms on the grounds of the park.  The coffee served there is Costa Rican-of course- and delicious!
Also a small museum displaying  the history of the Volcano and also a gift shop.
Remember:  Dress warmly- walking shoes and all weather rain jacket.  Take camera and  bird binoculars.  Get there as early in the morning as possible -clouds seem to cover the crater as the day goes by.
What time of year to visit?  Dry season is best- December thru April  However,  since this is 8,000 feet above sea level a misty cloud cover seems to often cover the crater (by late morning) but winds blow hard and with luck the  clouds are blown off the crater.
People visit during rainy season also, just try to get there as early as possible.  Park opens at 8:30 am and closes early at 3:30  p.m.  Entrance fee is $7 per person.
From San Jose the drive 1.5 hours, road is good and easily accessed  by  car.
Major tour agencies offer day tours  (around $80 per person which often includes lunch.)

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