Poás Volcano National Park
Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area (ACCVC), Costa Rica
Poás Volcano National Park is located in the Central Volcanic Cordillera Conservation Area or ACCVC (Área de Conservación Cordillera Volcánica Central). Established on January 25, 1971, as a National Park with 5,600 hectares, it was extended in 1993 to include Cerro Congo, for a total of 6,506 hectares. In addition to receiving the largest influx of tourists in the whole country, this park is an important source of energy from hydro and geo-thermal resources.
At 2,708 meters above sea level, the spectacular main crater, Laguna Botos, natural paths, and huge biodiversity make it unique. It is surrounded by forests with abundant epiphytes and huge ferns, and well as poorman’s umbrella (gunnera insignis).
Eruptions are known to have been occurring at Poas Volcano since 1747 when the Spanish Governor, Juan Gemir, reported on its activities. There are several dates that stand out in its long history, such as the date recorded by Mr. Andrés Oersted in 1834, where underground detonations and ash thrown by the volcano up to 30 miles away were reported and January 25, 1910, considered to be the largest eruption of mud, gas, blocks, and ash.
The last eruption period with large emissions of ash clouds and incandescent rocks, accompanied by underground noises, formed the current structure between 1952 and 1954. In 1994, the last major eruption was recorded, consisting of an increase in the fumarole activity with the degasification process with a high sulfuric acid content.
- Above: The crater of the volcano Poás (source), taken by Peter Andersen, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
- Below: Panoramic view of Botos Lake, an inactive volcano crater also found in the park (source). Photo by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Flora and Fauna
The life zones represented are the Mount Rain Forest and Very Humid Low Mountain Rain Forest. There are 4 main habitats.
- The cloud forest surrounding the Botos pond and the back part of Potrero Grande, where the papayillo (Oreopanax xalapense), “azahar de monte”, oak, and 2 species of cypress predominate.
- In the flanks on the Caribbean side, the forests are taller and very humid, rich in palm trees, tree ferns, and epiphytes.
- The dwarf forest can be seen along the path between the Main Crater and Laguna Botos. The predominant species are azahar de monte, tucuico and copey.
- Myrtles predominate close to the crater look-out and the first section of the natural path to Laguna Botos. Species such as the cow tongue fern live in areas with sparse vegetation around the crater.
Although there is generally not much fauna, water fauna is abundant. 79 birds species have been identified, including:
- Black Guan
- Comemaíz (Zonotrichia capensis)
- Green Aracari
- Saltón de Patigrande (Pezopetes capitalis)
- Saltón de Muslos Amarillos (Pselliophorus tibialis)
Mammals are not abundant in the park highlands; however, some species can be spotted such as Shrews, Weasels, Rabbits, Squirrels, and Coyotes.
Amphibians are also native to the park such as frogs, toad, and salamanders, and there are also some species of serpents as well as a wide variety of insects.
Taken from: www.sinac.go.cr
Image below: Fumarole activity at the Poás crater (source), photo by Mariordo Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported