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San Jose, central highlands and central valleys: Poas Volcano and La Paz waterfall gardens

Poas Volcano and La Paz waterfall gardens

A desolate expanse of rock rises up on all sides to enclose a surreal, milky turquoise lake at the top of Poas volcano. Within the crater you can often see misty fumaroles of smoke, hinting at the volatile energy that forged this harsh, ruptured landscape.

Driving out of the capital towards Poas, the scenery and climate begin to change as coffee plantations and strawberry farms gradually transform into dense forest. En route, stop at a coffee estate for breakfast and a tour demonstrating the traditional techniques used to produce Costa Rica's renowned coffee.

We'll visit the viewing platform at the summit of Poas to look down into the vast bowl of the crater – it's an incredible panorama and one of Costa Rica's most famous sights. Next we'll continue on to the idyllic La Paz Waterfall Gardens for lunch and a guided walk through the forest to reach a waterfall plunging through tropical greenery. There are four more falls within these enchanted gardens, as well as a butterfly observatory, serpentarium, bird house and hummingbird feeders where you can photograph the tiny birds at close range.

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