How do you get to Poas Volcano?

Last updated on September 25th, 2023

If you’re reading this, you’re likely planning a trip to Poas Volcano or are curious to learn more about it.

The Poas Volcano National Park, located in the Alajuela province, is a favorite destination for both locals and international tourists.

In fact, it’s the National Park we’ve visited most often in our lives – no exaggeration.

For Costa Ricans residing in the central valley, the park serves as a weekend family getaway, a popular school day trip, and for those of us in the tourism industry, a frequent work destination.

If you’re traveling to Costa Rica and considering a visit, Poas Volcano is a great choice due to its easily accessible crater by car.

The ascent takes you up to approximately 2,708 meters (8,884 feet), offering stunning views of the Central Valley.

How far is the Poas Volcano from

San Jose: 

It’s about 30 miles / 48. km approximately and the driving time around 1.5 hours to 2 hours (depending on traffic). There is no need for a 4×4 car. All the routes are paved.

Airport/ Alajuela: 

From the airport is around 20 miles/ 33 km. The driving can take around an hour. If you have a flight in the afternoon you can take advantage of doing a visit in the morning as many people do.  

San Ramon: 

It’s about 41 miles / 66 km and the driving time around 1.5 hours. You drive to Grecia and from there follow the signs that will take you to Fraijanes and then to Poasito, the town next to the National Park. 

Getting there

By car

The majority of people who visit the volcano get there by car. We highly recommend installing the Waze app to drive in Costa Rica and the Poas Volcano National Park is included on the search list on Waze, also Google Map.  

By bus

We have called COOPETRANSASI (+506-2449-5348). We are leaving the numbers here so you want to double-check if they are back offering the service.

Hiring Private Transportation

As in many other countries, the Uber app is popular to use as private transportation.

The cost for example from the Airport to the Poas Volcano is around $25 one way or more but you have to take into consideration the waiting time adding to the final price. 

We have asked a couple of transportation providers and the price that they gave to us is between $100 and $150 roundtrip from San Jose to give you an idea. 

This is a better option for people who travel in groups to split the cost.

How do I get tickets for Poas Volcano?

It is essential to buy the tickets before the visit, as they will not be sold on-site. 

During busy tourism months (Dec-May), tickets sell out well in advance, so plan ahead!


  1. Go to the official website from the System of Conservation areas SINAC to buy it: LINK. You can switch to English on the top right corner. 
  2. If you are a new user create an account with the information they required. Accept the terms and conditions and you can sign up on the system. 
  3. Click on Buy – Online Reservation and choose PARQUE NACIONAL POAS 
  4. Check availability and complete the purchase with your credit card information. 

Here is a small video where we show you how to purchase the permits.

You don`t need to print the tickets they will only ask you about the confirmation number. We just showed a screenshot of the confirmation email on a phone which was more than enough.

They say to bring passports and credit card paid on too (as you have to enter names a passport numbers of those you are booking tickets for) but we weren’t actually asked to show these on entering.

On an important note, if they cancel your visit like happened to us, could be because of an emergency due to the activity of the volcano at that time we didn`t get a refund. Tourists may use the entrance to visit another national park.

What you should know about the park?


From 8 am until 4 pm. Last time to access 2:20 pm.

Prices for Tourist Non-residents

Children under 2 years old won´t pay.

We did with our baby without problems. His first visit to the Poas Volcano. November 2020
  • $15 per person
  • $5 Children(ages of 2 until 12 años).

*If you are a student, show your ID. It is not a guarantee, but it could help to get a discount.

Parking lot:

Yes. The cost of the parking lot is 2000 colones ($4) per car. You can in $ or colones and also you can pay with a credit card also.

How many chances are to observe the crater?

Visitors prefer to go as early as possible since there is more chance to observe the crater as the main attraction right now of the National Park.

For weather reports or to see the volcano is open you can check the National park´s Facebook page the day before you visit.

From our visits and experiences, we can tell you that there are 50/50 chances for looking into the crater.

In our case with Poas, we were greeted with a beautiful morning during the rainy season but sometimes we have been there with tourists and we got to see nothing but dense clouds and the smell of sulfur.  

The time that you can spend in the crater area will be around 20 minutes, some people feel that it’s not fair since the price are high and the chances to see the crater are unknown. 

Is the parking lot safe? Do you think it is reasonable to leave your luggage in the car? 

It’s patrolled by a person from the Red Cross who is always there so it’s pretty safe, those $4 that you pay at the end is a contribution for them.

Are you wonder if you are visiting an active volcano will be safe for your health?

They do a good job tracking the level of gases on site. You will probably experience a smell like rotten egg and is the sulfur and that’s normal but if the levels of gases go up they will close the park for the safety of the visitors. 

However, people with severe respiratory problems are not recommended to visit the volcano because if the levels of gases can cause irritation such as coughs, irritated or watery eyes, headaches, and a cold sensation.

They have always an ambulance patrolled by the Red Cross in case of an emergency. 


No. You cannot take pets in any National Park in Costa Rica, according to law.

What do you wear to visit Poas Volcano?

  • Rain jacket/ sweater because it gets chilly up there.  
  • Tennis shoes are fine you don’t need hiking shoes
  • Comfortable clothes like leggings 
  • Umbrella or Poncho
  • Bottle water because there is no potable water. 
  •  Sunscreen, yes, even when it’s cloudy the elevation exposes you to more ultraviolet light. 
  • Don’t forget your mask! 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations

If you are wondering how safe would be to visit a popular National Park like the Poas Volcano.

Let us tell you that our experience in November 2020 when we visited the Poas Volcano was pretty good we felt that they are very organized.

We got there and they took our temperature and requested to put the masks on.

For this national park, it’s mandatory to wear a mask during the whole time that you stay in the park.

Once we were at the welcome center they asked us to wash our hands in the bathrooms before we got the instructions to access the crater.

They keep smalls groups and asked you to exit the park in a different place where you are coming in to avoid crowds.

If you would like to read more about the coronavirus situation in Costa Rica, check this

Link: Costa Rica Coravirus; Stats & Travel Info (COVID-19)

If you still want more peace of mind to make sure that the Poas Volcano it’s a good fit for your Costa Rica trip you can read our Poas Volcano Self- Guide and discover more of this experience that you can have in Costa Rica.


Visiting Poas Volcano
Poas Volcano National Park
Poas Volcano map
Ligia at Poas Volcano trail
Main building at Poas Volcano

Posted by Ligia

I´m from the “Pura Vida” country, Costa Rica! My life in a nutshell: Background in Tourism and hotel managment. Married with Rodrigo a wonderful tour guide ;) Lover of cultures, nature and social causes! Full time administrador at Non Profit Children´s Organization in my hometown and part time blogger of Explore Tikizia. Favorite things: Coffee time, travel and Jesus!

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One Reply to “How do you get to Poas Volcano?”

  1. This as was amazing. Was planning the trip and looking how accessible Poas was. This blog really helped.

    Thank You!


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