One of the most famous volcanoes in Costa Rica is Volcán Poás located just about an hour and a half from San Jose. It is a great half-day trip for people of all ages!
Given the close vicinity to San Jose – one of the most touristic areas of Costa Rica – Poás is one of the most visited and developed of the National Parks in the country. Navigating through this park is much easier than others, like Arenal, because it has paved roads and clearly defined trails to each of the 3 crater lakes. This is also one of the few Costa Rican National Parks that is almost completely wheelchair friendly.
When planning a visit to Poás the weather is very important. It is harder to get a site of the crater when it is cloudy or raining. Due to altitude daytime temperatures year round are a bit chilly and often moist so make sure to pack a rain jacket! During the raining season most mornings are cloudier but if you’re lucky (like I was) it will also be quite windy and you’ll have some moments where you can good glimpse of the crater lagoons.
Like the park is easy to navigate booking a tour is not necessary. I took the public bus from Alajuela, that leaves at 9:15AM every morning (8:30AM from San Jose) and costs just a little under $5USD roundtrip. You can use google maps to search “Parada de Bus Poás” before leaving your hotel/Airbnb and it will give you the walking directions to the stop.
There is only one bus that departs from each location each day so make sure not to miss it! Try to arrive to the bus stop early because the line can get long and you could risk not being able to get on or having to stand (or sit on the ground like some passengers on my bus did) for the 1.5/2 hour ride.
Once you arrive at the park the admission is only $15USD per person ($10 during “low” season) for tourists. Once you get inside the park it is only about a 10 minute walk up the paved road to the main crater. You can walk around the park within 2 hours and I’d say to give it a little bit or extra time to enjoy the natural sites, biodiversity and the craters.
The bus departs from the park leaves at 2:30PM and is also the only one so make sure to get to the bus stop on time! If you aren’t taking the bus I still recommend heading to Poás early because if you can’t see the crater immediately you can hang out for an hour or two and see if the wind pushes the clouds away.