After our scenic bus trip through Costa Rica’s Central Valley our Caravan tour bus had finally reached its first destination: the Poas Volcano National Park. After parking our bus we walked about 20 minutes towards the top of the mountain where there was a viewing platform with an absolutely phenomenal view of the volcano’s crater. A posted sign said that we were at an altitude of 2,574 metres (8,444 feet).
No wonder I was cold, it was rather chilly at the top of the volcano and as my suitcase was still lagging behind in Miami, I was freezing in my thin little sweater. But never mind, the breathtaking view of the heart of this volcano was absolutely worth it!
The water in the crater lake of the Poas Volcano is highly acidic and does not support any life forms whatsoever. Sulphuric clouds were hovering above the crater, partially obstructing the view. Every once in a while the wind would tear apart the clouds and we would catch a great glimpse at the crater lake of the Poas Volcano and the grey and brown rock formations surrounding it.
People were snapping pictures left right and centre in this scenic location before we started to hike partway down and turned left onto a hiking trail that would take us to the Botos Lagoon. I was fascinated by the plants in this cloud forest habitat: the top of this volcano is usually covered by fog which fosters the growth of a wide range of moss and ferns. The resplendent quetzal, a brightly coloured member of the trogon family, is the most famous tropical bird inhabiting this environment, but on this day I did not see any. Even the lagoon itself was shrouded in mist. Costa Rica is an absolute treasure of biodiversity, but there is no guarantee you are going to see brightly coloured tropical animals.
After about 45 minutes I had reached the national park’s visitor centre at base of the hiking trail again. Most of the other members of our group were still on the mountain, so I had some time to explore the gift shop which features a wide varied of Costa Rican handcrafted items. National symbols such as the tucan, the scarlet macaw and the Blue Morpho butterfly showed up on all sorts of wood carvings, ceramic items and paintings, ready to be scooped up by visitors in need of souvenirs.
Next door to the gift shop is a coffee shop and downstairs is an interpretive centre that provides information about the Poas Volcano as well as the different natural habitats of Costa Rica. I was so glad that we had managed to get into Costa Rica last night, because it would have been a real shame to miss this educational outing to the Poas Volcano National Park. Anyone with an interest in geology would definitely enjoy this excursion.
Now it was time get back on the bus and head off for lunch and learn about coffee in the afternoon.
Image Gallery of the Poas Volcano:
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