**As of October 2018, the Poas Volcano National Park has reopened with certain restrictions and regulations including pre-purchasing entrance tickets. Read below to find out how to visit**
Poas Volcano National Park is one of the most visited national parks in Costa Rica for several reasons. It has one of the biggest geyser craters in the world with an abundance of breathtaking nature and scenery.
Poas Volcano is an excellent day trip from San Jose and great national park to visit for first timers to Costa Rica. Everyone loves volcanoes and Poas Volcano is in particular, an especially unique one to see with your own eyes!
Here is our guide to visiting Poas Volcano National Park. Make sure to read carefully on purchasing tickets because visitors cannot just show up to the park anymore.
- Location and Directions
- How to buy park tickets (Important!)
- Around the Park
- What to bring
- Day trips
Poas Volcano National Park
Poas Volcano National Park was created in 1971 to protect the volcano and surrounding flora and fauna. The last eruption was registered on October 2013 without causing any major damage.
However, in 2017, Poas Volcano erupted several times, spewing rocks so big it damaged the roads and buildings in the park. These eruptions forced the national park to close its door for nearly 1 and a half years.
At the end of September 2018, the national park opened its doors again now that volcanic activity has decreased greatly. Officials deemed it safe for the general public and now visitors are able to admire the volcano’s impressive crater lake.
Poas Volcano National Park map
How to Get to Poas Volcano National Park
If you rent a car in Costa Rica, the drive is very nice. You can find directions on Google Maps and Waze (just type in Poas Volcano Natioanl Park). The road to Poas Volcano National Park is completely paved, no 4×4 necessary.
The drive to the park is very nice. You will have a great view from the central valley, pastures, local stores that sell strawberries and souvenirs. We really enjoy driving there because the views up to the national park are just stunning.
Parking: There is a large parking lot at the national park. It costs 2000 colones per car and 1000 colones per motorcycle.
Bus: There is just 1 bus that departs daily from “Parque de la Merced” in San José at 8 am and the same bus passes by Alajuela around 9 am. Read mpre about taking public transportation in Costa Rica here.
Entrance Fee, Park Tickets and Hours
Poas Volcano National Park is open everyday from 8 AM to 3:30 PM.
The Poas Volcano National Park entrance fee is $15 for foreign adults and $5 for children. Every visitor has to purchase entrance tickets beforehand in order to visit the park as they are only allowing a certain number of people in the park a day.
How to purchase Poas Volcano National Park tickets:
Go to the SINAC website (they have an English option), create an account, register and purchase your tickets there. You have to print your ticket which is what you will show this to the park entrance office.
If you are having trouble on their website, you can read the directions on their Facebook page to purchase tickets. Since the park has just reopened, they are working on streamlining the process to purchase tickets.
Tip: If you are unable to print your tickets or already in Costa Rica, you can ask Poas Lodge (hotel near the national park) if they can purchase tickets for you. They charge $3.50 per ticket and also have a live webcam so you can see what the crater looks like before you go.
Poas Volcano National Park Observation Point
Government regulations regarding visiting the national park: Visitors are now only allowed to stay in the park for a maximum of 40 minutes. The trails are closed so visitors can only walk to the observation point and back. Helmets will be given out to each visitor.
Once you’re inside the park, walk on the trail to the crater observation point. This is the only place visitors can go in the national park now, as the lake trails are closed.
The walk from the entrance to the crater lake view point is very short and all on nicely maintained, flat roads. It is handicap friendly.
Once you are the view point, you can walk around the platform to see the crater. The platform is quite big, necessary to fit the hundreds of visitors the park receives daily.
Tips for seeing the crater
Since Poas Volcano is up in the cloud forest, it is not always a guarantee to see it completely clear. So don’t get disappointed if you arrive and see it covered in clouds though, we recommend to wait at least 20-30 minutes to see if the clouds clear up. It’s worth waiting because the crater is absolutely incredible to see!
When we went at the end of August, we were lucky to have a very beautiful and clear day so the crater was clear the whole time we were there. The second time we went in November, it was incredibly cloudy and we saw nothing but fog.
The park entrance office also has a webcam and another time we tried to visit in July, we asked them what it’s like. It had been raining at the crater all morning so we decided not to go (we were on a time crunch too).
Poas Volcano sits at around 2700 meters (almost 9000 feet) in elevation so this area gets cold. The average temperature of Poas Volcano is mid to high 60s (around 18 Celsius).
During dry season (end of December to end of April), it can get sunny with temperatures up to mid 70s (~24 Celsius). In rainy season (beginning of May to mid December), it can get down to low 60s (16 C). However, because it’s in the cloud forest it can rain even during dry season.
The best time to visit Poas Volcano is during the hottest and driest months of March and April so you have better chance to see the crater clear. It is possible to get nice days during rainy season though, but less chances during September – November as those are the rainiest months in that area.
What to Bring to the Park
***Now they will give you a helmet, each visitor has to wear one in the park.***
We recommend you to bring a sweater or a jacket as it is a little chilly, comfortable closed shoes, and food if you like. There are some picnic areas and their visitor center has a restaurant.
If you are coming in rainy season, make sure to bring a waterproof backpacks to protect equipment. Also make sure to bring a waterproof rain jacket.
Poas Volcano Tours
If you’re in San Jose and don’t have a car, you can take a Poas Volcano day tour from San Jose. We have a partnership with Expediciones Tropicales who operates tours to Poas Volcano and we have a small discount for the tours. Now that the park is open again, this is one of the best day trips from San Jose to see what Costa Rica is famous for!
They also do Poas Volcano and Doka Coffee, Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee and La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Poas Volcano, Doka Coffee and Grecia/Sarchi tours. Please click to get our San Jose day tours discount here!
Read about other national parks here!
Arenal Volcano National Park: Popular national park by La Fortuna with the Arenal Volcano, rainforest and lava trails. Great for hiking.
Manuel Antonio National Park: Popular national park in the Central Pacific coast with white sand beaches, hiking trails and lots of wildlife.
Marino Ballena National Park: National park in Uvita with beach and rainforest. One of the best places to see humpback whales.
Carara National Park: National park by Tarcoles and Jaco. Excellent for hiking and birdwatching, has the biggest colony of breeding Scarlet Macaws.
Turrialba Volcano National Park: Closed indefinitely due to the very active Turrialba Volcano but visitors can still drive up to the entrance for a close view.
If you like this article, follow us on Facebook for more Costa Rica travel tips and inspiration!