Pura Vida Travels - A Guide To Travel In Latin America








Trip 5 began with what would be become a daily ritual, a rain shower. I was in Costa Rica for 9 days and on every day but 1 at almost precisely 1 PM it started to rain. Generally, the rain only lasted for a few hours so it really wasn't a big deal. Most of my days start around 7 AM so by 1 o'clock I'm ready for a break anyway. My first night I decided to try my hand at some night photography. I got exactly 1 picture that was usable which explains why I write computer programs for a living instead of taking pictures.


Here comes the rain again...

Rain drops

San Jose at night
I decided to take a trip to see Poas Volcano and also go on the Cafe Britt coffee plantation tour. I debated renting a car and driving there myself but after witnessing several horrific traffic accidents I hired a driver that I met a few nights earlier. That turned out to be a smart move since the chances of me finding the volcano on my own would have been about zero. At this point I'm sure you're wondering, how could you not be able to find an 8000+ foot tall volcano? Well, first off I think I saw about 3 road signs once we left San Jose. Second, some of the "roads" that we took were roads in name only. Third, we got stuck in a massive traffic jam and the 45 KM trip ended up taking over 2 1/2 hours. All of these things were more than enough to convince me that hiring a driver was a wise investment. Also, my driver was a great companion on the trip and we talked about a wide range of topics.


Fresh fruit in Heredia

Tropical flower farm

Random scenery

Coffee plantation

Roadside waterfall

Fuerza Publica station

Fuerza Publica station

Road To Poas

Why are all these people here?
At this point in our journey we could have walked to the volcano faster than we were driving. Unbeknownst to us we were stuck behind "the torch". We found this out by asking some of the people standing along the road what was going on. To celebrate Indepence Day in Costa Rica they run a torch across the country like they do for the Olympics. Unfortunately for us, the torch bearer was about a kilometer in front of us with full police escort and they were allowing no one to pass. Fortunately for me I was in no real hurry so I just enjoyed the ride and snapped some photos along the way.


Local school

Driving through the clouds

Driving through the clouds

Driving above the clouds

Peering Into Poas Volcano

Gee, it's cloudy up here
When we arrived at Poas it was completely socked in by clouds. It was extremely disappointing to say the least after sitting in traffic for 2 1/2 hours in beautiful sunshine only to be able to see nothing once we got there. Luckily, the clouds did break for a bit so I could get a look at this prehistoric looking monster. The first thing you notice at the rim is the sound. The volcano lets out eerie groans that remind you that you are standing on top of something that is thousands of times more powerful than a nuclear bomb. The second thing you notice is how massive this volcano is. It's over 8000 feet high and nearly a mile across. The lagoon at the bottom is nearly 1000 feet below where you are standing. The air smells of sulphur from the gas the volcano vents. On occassion they close the park when the emissions reach dangerous levels.

The "gringo tax" to enter the park to see the volcano is $7. For the locals it's $3. My driver told me that all of the money collected goes to the Red Cross so you get to see some interesting stuff and benefit a good cause at the same time.



Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Observation area

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Just chillin...

Can you tell I'm afraid of heights?

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano
After spending about an hour at the volcano it was time to make the long walk back to the car. A couple of notes if you are considering visiting Poas. First, bring a jacket because it's COLD there. Second, wear comfortable shoes because it's a fairly long walk from where you park to the rim of the volcano. (probably about a mile) Finally, make sure your plans are flexible because you never know how long it might take to get there. On the way back to the car my driver Gerardo broke the bad news to me that he didn't think we would be able to make it to the coffee plantation in time for the tour. Instead, he offered to buy me lunch and take me to the Lapaz waterfall gardens instead. That sounded like a pretty good plan to me so off we went...


Adios, Poas

Another bad photo of me

"Umbrella" plants

Poas visitors center


The Trip To Lapaz Water Gardens


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