Poás Volcano National Park

There are over 100 volcanos in Costa Rica, with 7 of them being active. Poás Volcano is one of them. Let’s walk to its edge together. ...

There are over 100 volcanos in Costa Rica, with 7 of them being active. Poás Volcano is one of them. Let’s walk to its edge together.

Poás Volcano National Park is located only about 30 miles (50 km) north of San Jose, however, the road is twisty and you gain lots of elevation as you drive up. You may want to stay overnight as close to the park as possible since you'll have better chances to see a main volcano's crater. After 10 o'clock in the morning clouds start to build up and obstruct the view.
There is a nice visitor centre at the park with a big souvenir shop, clean restrooms and a cafeteria. 
We were the first visitors at the park. Upon entering the gate, we rushed right to the volcano's crater to make sure we can see it. What we did not properly consider though was the park's elevation. At over 8,400 feet (2,560 m), it gets pretty chilly in the morning even in tropical Costa Rica. But the good thing is that we made the trail's distance of 1.300 ft (400 m) in less than 5 minutes. 
This park is very rich in flora and fauna. It's mostly covered with typical rainforest's vegetation, except the area around the crater.  
The Poor Man's Umbrella is a jewel of this park. Its huge leaves were once used as an umbrella by people living in this area. It is the largest native plant in Costa Rica, and, thanks to the conservation efforts, it now thrives in Poás Volcano National Park. This plant even became a symbol of the park and must be really rare as I didn't see it anywhere else in Costa Rica. 
The trail ends at the observation deck overlooking the main crater from the top. This view is one of most powerful ones I've ever experienced in my life. It strikes you right away and you cannot look away for at least a few minutes.
A diameter of the main crater is 4,330 ft (1,320 m), its depth is over 1,000 ft (300 m). The water temperature is 104 °F (40 °C).
The maximum stay allowed at the observation desk is 20 minutes as the fumaroles steaming from the crater have a large concentration of sulfur dioxide which can be dangerous for living organisms.
As you can see the vegetation around the crater is very scarce. This is due to acidic rains caused by the sulfur dioxide. 
The last series of mild eruptions were recorded between 1953 and 1955 when lava fragments were ejected. But who knows for how long this volcano will be quiet and calm?
Poás Volcano is located within the main mountain range in Costa Rica close to the continental divide. 
Another interesting place which is often overlooked by visitors to the Poás Volcano National Park is Botos Lagoon. It's linked to the main crater's observation deck via a beautiful 2,600 ft (800 m) loop trail which goes through a misty cloud forest. 
Vegetation is so dense, so it's almost dark down on the ground. Kudos to those plants that are trying to survive in the shadow of their taller relatives.
Botos Lagoon is an old crater filled with a crystal-clear rainfall water. Unlike the main crater's lagoon, the water temperature here is only 55-57 °F (13-14 °C). 
Despite its appealing look, almost no living organisms can survive in the lagoon. High concentration of acid makes it a very harsh habitat.
Forest is a very important source of drinking water especially during the dry season. 
Beautiful bromeliads, relatives of pineapples, live on the trees. 
Pools made from the leaves catch the rain water which many animals then drink.

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