A few months ago, Poas Volcano started with new eruptions that closed the park for several weeks. Government institutions are monitoring the eruptions of gas, vapor and ashes in the area. Luckily, the part that is next to the crater has been the only area declared open, with restricted access.
For visitors, it is still safe to visit the zone, but there is a reasonable resistance to people going there, especially foreign tourists. Costa Ricans aren’t that intimidated by volcano eruptions. We have had days recently when 3 volcanoes decided to make eruptions, but they were mostly steam and ashes, so yeah, no big deal!
We love this part of the country, so right now we want to support the area by joining with the local campaign the government is promoting to visit Poasito and Vara Blanca, the towns that are next to the volcano. Tourist businesses from the area are concerned about r how long the national park will be closed and the impact it will have on the economy and tourism.
More than just a volcano, the area represents a big part of Costa Rican culture.You get to learn about the main economic activities before tourism and other industries came. The Costa Rican economy was built pretty much on agriculture, cattle farms and coffee. Also, the route through the area has a very scenic drive, with light-green rolling valleys set in between dark-forested mountains.
Corso Lecheria Tour
Rodrigo and I found the Corso Lecheria tour after we visited the Poas Volcano early last year (it wasn’t that active back then) with some friends from the US. We did a quick stop before we headed to La Paz Waterfalls. We just saw the strawberries and the cows and we definitely knew that we would have to come back.
The initiative started between two local businessmen from the area of Poas. Since strawberries and milk are two of the main products that have sustained the area for decades, they decided to show people the behind-the-scenes process of how Costa Rica produces dairy and strawberries with the rich soil from the volcano.
According the information provided, the tour takes place on the farm of approximately 220 hectares, which is the perfect setting for all the activity. This property was acquired in 2004 with the purpose of milk production, with amazing results. However, it was not until 2012 when the gates of the farm were opened to the public and the tour part of the company was started.
What does the tour include?
The tour is divided into different stations trying to give you a fun day on the farm.
The tour includes a rural ride around the farm, a view of the volcanoes Poas and Barva, a visit to the primary and secondary forest, two strawberries fields, a milking stall, and a mini farm.
- Truck ride
The truck ride will take you to a viewpoint of the Poas Volcano. From here, you can observe the volcano if it’s clear. You can also see the cattle fields that are characteristic of the area.
Many people from San Jose find this ride interesting because they have never been on a truck or gotten to know the rural farming culture. Some of them mentioned the experience is like finding with their roots.
- Viewpoint to observe Poás Volcano and Barva Volcano
Volcanoes attract millions of visitors every year, for different reasons. Perhaps one reason is that they are an example of the wilder side of nature and are impressive sights, just puffing out steam and smoke. This makes this tour special as well, because the farm is located next to one of the most visited volcanoes in the country.
- Milking stall
Maybe cows don´t sound like a lot of fun for some. We know that probably isn’t something that will stand out in your wish list of tours, BUT for tourists who want to know about Costa Rican culture or kids and locals who live in the big cities of Costa Rica, it’s valuable to see the process of dairy and beef production. It’s an activity that provides the foundation of our local economy.
Cattle ranching began in Costa Rica in the early colonial period. So the tour tries to keep that as part of our identity. The idea is you can take your own milk straight from the cow, or they put out chocolate for you to try. This is the best part for the kids definitely!
- Natural regeneration of a forest
We were really excited to see the natural regeneration from cattle to a small patch of forest, Now, you can walk inside this trail and never imagine that the spot used to be an old milking stall. The farm is trying to become a carbon-neutral business to reduce the impact of its carbon footprint on the environment. The trail takes around 300 meters (0.8 miles), so it is small but nice to see species of animals getting benefits from it.
- Strawberry field
All along to Poas Volcano, you will see signs in the road for fresh “volcano strawberries.” At the farm, they took us to a well-planned strawberry plantation. We were amazed how big the strawberries grow in a controlled environment but with natural pollinators and pest control. It was very educational.
The concept of this restaurant is really typical but they offer more than “casados.” They really focus on “Gallos.” They have the concept to bring the food from the farm to the table so you get to know what you are eating. We love that idea!
By the way, we learned a new fact of history in Costa Rica food. We knew about the origin of the word “casados,”but not “Gallos.” Well, you learn something new every day.It seems that one president of the country had the tradition of inviting the people from a town to a meal. He tried to replicate the famous Canapé (ˈkanəˌpē) but instead of the piece of bread and savory topping, he changed it for “tortillas and picadillo.” Rafael Yglesias was his name, but his nickname was “Gallo,” giving the origin to the name of the food.
We are really grateful for the time the farm administrator took to take us around. You can really see the passion and hard work behind the project. He has been there since the beginning, so that tells you how much he believes in this project.
The Corso Lecheria farm tour really represents our culture through the concept of rural tourism but without sacrificing the piece of convenience and service for visitors. For us as locals, it encouraged us to get deeper in our identity and not forget also this part of our culture. After the tour, we were more inspired to honor the agriculture of our farmers that work their best in the fields to produce what we eat.
The tour is a good example for other initiatives around the country and the area. Even when they have been challenged by the activity of the volcano and the decrease of visitors to the area, they are really focused on representing our roots and economy in a real Costa Rican experience.
Here is the information you’ll need to visit the place:
Corso Lecheria Tour
Address: Located in Alajuela on the road to Poas Volcano, 3 kilometers east at the detour to Poasito and Vara Blanca, in front of Villa Calas.
Map: (Their name used to be Freddo Aventura Rural)
Phone: (506) 2482-1024
Minimum of 4 people – Schedule: 9:00 – 11:00 – 1:30
Price Range (Tour and Lunch):
- Locals: 8000 a 12,000 colones
- Tourist: $30 – $40
Waze app: Corso Lecheria Tour
From San Jose: 90 minutes from San José. Take General Cañas freeway (# 1) up to Alajuela. In Alajuela, it is recommended to take the route from the Courts of Justice on to Poas Volcano National Park. Take a detour towards Vara Blanca – Poasito and turn right until you reach the farm.
Facebook: Corso Lecheria Tour
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**** Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored blog. We truly want to support the area, so we’re really happy give a tiny help promoting projects like this one that line up with our vision ****