Another volcano, senor ... oh go on then, one more

Trip Start Jan 04, 2008
Trip End Dec 17, 2008

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Flag of Costa Rica  , Province of Alajuela,
Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Up early to take a day trip out of San Jose up to Volcan Poas which is supposedly the most visited national park in Costa Rica. It takes about two hours or so to get there from San Jose by local bus via a nearby town called Alajuela and passing through some quite stunning scenery in a region called Western Meseta Central. The active volcano crater is really a "wow" sight and possibly the most visually spectacular volcano I have seen. On this occasion I was actually pretty pleased it didn't require an arduous trek to get to the top (think I've done enough tough volcano climbs for the time being) - in true Costa Rican package holiday style the bus takes you up most of the way and it's then only a short walk to the crater viewpoint ... for your complete holiday volcano experience :) There are two main areas of interest - the active volcano crater and then a smaller lagoon nearby which has been formed from rainwater in another dead volcano crater. The main active crater is a remarkable 1.3km across, 300m deep and is apparently the largest active volcano crater in the world - it spurts out gases almost continuously, creates a highly pungent smell of sulphur in the air and it's pretty turquoise lagoon is pure acid and has a temperature over 120 degrees ... so I didnt really fancy going in for a swim. The smaller dead crater is called the Botos lagoon, which has a diameter of about 300m, is made from cold rainwater and is surrounded by vegetation making it a very picturesque setting. It's possible to walk some short nature trails in the forest around the craters but there isn't too much to see in the way of wildlife apart from some highly tame squirrels that practically eat out of the hands of tour groups. All in all a very good day trip but I have to say I'm feeling very tired tonight - been on bus journeys for four days out the last five with some early starts - even though its been highly enjoyable experiences all the way and obviously travelling life beats "real life" of long days in the office hands-down, there does still inevitably come points where you feel like you need a bit of a rest (I know, I know, bring on the violins), so rather I'm planning a relatively easy day hanging around in San Jose tomorrow (Wed) before embarking on more activities or further travelling.
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