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Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

Circuito Laguna Botos / Laguna Botos Loop

Costa Rica, Latin America

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Parque Nacional Volcán Poás

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  • The main crater of Volcán Poás is 320 meters deep.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Sendero Sombrilla de Pobre.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Sombrilla de Pobre / Poor Man's Umbrella, is actually a large gunnera plant that was historically used as an umbrella.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Sendero Sombrilla de Pobre.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • The paved path is under a fairly dense canopy.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Trail to Laguna Botos.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Bromeliads along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Bromeliads along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • The paved path is under a fairly dense canopy.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Bromeliads along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Fungus along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Spiderweb in the raindrops.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Fungus along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • The paved path is under a fairly dense canopy.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • The loop is easy to follow with clear signage.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Laguna Botos.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Fungus along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • The paved path is under a fairly dense canopy.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Cross section of volcanic ash layers.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
  • Flora along the trail.- Parque Nacional Volcán Poás
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Amazing crater lakes. Birdwatching. Flora.
Cons: 
Clouds can obscure views. Crowded.
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Region:
Costa Rica, LT
Congestion: 
High
Pets allowed: 
No
Net Elevation Gain: 
328.08 ft (100.00 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.11 mi (3.40 km)
Trail type: 
Loop
Trailhead Elevation: 
9,534.12 ft (2,906.00 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Hike Description

Hike Description

Team

Because of its proximity to San José, Parque Nacional Volcán Poás is one of the most visited National Parks in Costa Rica. It's an easy bus, taxi, or car ride through the countryside to the northwest of Costa Rica's major city. Additionally, the trails are paved with bricks or cement, which makes the route accessible even in the notoriously wet rainy season, which would otherwise be too muddy to consider. The crowds that visit the park don't quite allow for that wilderness experience most might seek, but it's a great introduction to a Central American cloud forest, with plenty of interesting flora and fauna, not to mention extraordinary geologic features, to whet the appetite.

Access to the main attraction, the steaming volcanic crater, is via a 600-meter paved trail called Sendero Sombrilla de Pobre (Poor Man's Umbrella Path – named after the giant tropical plant). Newly constructed viewing platforms allow a great vantage point regardless of how many other people are there. The fumeroles are still active, spewing steam through the crater's lake. The crater is often shrouded in mist and clouds (it is in a cloud forest, after all), but if it's out of view, try waiting a few minutes, as the wind can change conditions quickly.

After taking in the crater, continue the loop to Laguna Botos – a pristine volcanic lake. This crater is no longer active, and it has filled in with rain water. Due to the acidity of the soil, algae can't grow here, so the lake is crystal clear and reflects the sky and greenery beautifully.

The loop continues through the cloud forest, which is so dense that it provides some protection from light rain. Keep an eye out for all manner of epiphytes, including bromeliads and orchids. Seventy-nine species of birds have been identified here, including the resplendent quetzal, which is at the top of many bird-watchers bucket list, and several types of hummingbirds. Mammals aren't as abundant here, but you may notice tracks of coyotes, skunks, weasels, and the like.

After rejoining the Sendero Sombrilla de Pobre and taking it back to the headquarters, take a few minutes to explore the visitor center, which gives a fairly thorough history of the geology, fauna, and history of the area.

Entrance to the park is 1,000 colones for Costa Rican residents, or $15 USD for non-residents.

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