On our final evening in Monteverde we were fortunate to watch the sun set as we relaxed outside our rooms.  The scenic vista of the nearby mountains, hills and the Pacific Ocean off in the distance was a perfect way to end another great day in Costa Rica. 

We began our last full-day bright and early with the Poas Volcano as our scheduled destination.   This was our plan for the day, but it was not a certainty as the Volcano was active, spewing out a large plume of smoke, ash and gasses for the past three days.  The visitor’s centre and viewing of the crater had been closed, so it was at best a hopeful mood as we made our way to the preserve that surrounds the volcano. 

After a short visit to a flower garden we arrived at the volcano reserve entrance gate early with optimism that we would be permitted to enter at our scheduled time.  We filled our anxious waiting time with some photography of the plants and birds here at the higher altitude.   As our appointed time came the staff did arrive to allow us inside and brief us on the situation.  Right up to the last minute it was dicey whether we would make the 1 km. walk to the viewing area.   We listened as the staff at the crater gave the green light to our visit, but only for a duration of 10 minutes, half the scheduled 20 minute period. 

Our walk to the viewing area was made at a quick pace, as we breathed in the sulfur smelling air while dust particles fell around us.  Upon first glimpse of the crater we were overwhelmed to witness the active and giant plume.  For scale of these photos, the crater is over a mile wide and 900 feet deep!    So that smoke plume is very large.  Needless to say, it was a hectic 10 minutes as we capture images of the scene.  Our local guide Minor was as impressed with the spectacle as we were.  Minor was with a Trekkers group last year at the same time when the crater was a tranquil emerald green lake. 

The volcanic experience was short but a highlight we will savor for a long, long time.  As we made our way back down from the edge of the scene the site was being closed for safety’s sake.  We were the last to see the Poas Volcano today as the staff cleared the reserve and cancelled visits.   The fortunate last minute opportunity we just experienced was not lost on the group and we couldn’t believe our luck. 

After an overnight stay back in San Jose we depart very early for our trip back north.  It has been a fabulous journey and we were so thrilled to witness nature at its extremes from the smallest of humming birds to an active volcano.  Thank-you Costa Rica and thanks to this group that made my Hosting roll a real joy.  

Farewell until next time, travel well.  –Dave Chidley

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