Coffee roaster at Doka Estate
For my last full day in Costa Rica I decided to take a tour. I really wanted to see Volcan Poas so I decided to take a tour that included that and some other attractions. I could have taken a public bus to the volcano for cheap but I decided to go all out and go on the tour offered through the hotel tour desk. The tour picked me up at my hotel at 6:15 a.m. After picking up a group of Chinese-Americans, a group from China and a couple from the U.S. from various hotels we went on a tour of Doka Estage, a coffee plantation on the slopes of Volcan Poas. Having toured a coffee plantation before, this wasn't the most interesting part of the trip but it wasn't lengthy and I would recommend it for someone who wanted to see how coffee is produced.
Volcan Poas, with the fog lifting slightly
We had a typical Costa Rican breakfast (gallo pinto, eggs, queso, corn tortillas, and fruit) at a cafe that was part of the coffee plantation. Next we went to Volcan Poas. For me this was the main attraction. I had been near volcanos before but this was the first time I went up to the crater. At first it was disappointing because the crater was covered in a thick fog. Volcan Poas is also a cloud forest and this is not uncommon. From the viewing platform we could smell as strong sulfur smell (as if el diablo Bush had just been there). The guide told us to be patient and he was right. After about 20 minutes the fog temporarily cleared and we got a glimpse of the crater which is filled with a liquid that is 99% acid. Almost as soon as it had cleared, the fog moved back in to hide the crater. I think the fog actually added to the spector in the way it revealed the unearthly appearance of the volcano rock.
The next stop was the La Paz Waterfall gardens. It is quite a remarkable work of ecotourism. They have trails that take you through a lavishly landscaped zoo-like area which includes birds, snakes, butterflies, little monkeys from Brazil, hummingbirds and frogs. And then there are the waterfalls. They are spectacular and the trails around them are quite a feat giving spectacular views that would ordinarily not be possible.