The tour begins when your transport and tour guide pick you up at your hotel, taking you along the Pan-American Highway to the city of Alajuela. You will go by some important monuments such as the Tribute to the Farmer and the statue of Juan Santamaría, the national hero.
Then you will pass in front of the Parque de los Mangos (Alajuela Central Park) to start the ascent to Poás Volcano.
You will cross some residential areas until, little by little, the streets and urbanizations will give way to a landscape of extensive coffee plantations.
As you continue climbing, you will witness Costa Rica’s impressive diversity when in less than an hour, you reach a region of dairy cattle and strawberries, to finally enter the Poás Volcano National Park.
The change in nature is amazing. This forest is the only cloud forest in the world that is permanently affected by the acid rain of the volcano. And even though, there is an astonishing abundance.
Lots of trees filled with bromeliads and orchids, arborescent ferns and the enormous leaves of the “Poor Man’s Umbrellas” (Gunnera Insignis) will welcome you to the National Park.
Upon arrival, you will find an information center with restrooms, where you will receive a safety briefing and a helmet, compulsory in the area of the main crater.
You will start walking on a wide paved trail for a bit less than a kilometer (half a mile) that will take you to the edge of the active crater.
This is the summit of the Poás (2708 meters-8000 feet above sea level) from where you can contemplate continuous and intense smoking activity and large areas burned by the volcano.
Because of the incredible eruptive activity of the last few years, you can only stay for a limited time at the viewpoint.
After the visit to the volcano, you will begin the descent until arriving at Doka, an export coffee plantation where a delicious buffet of typical food awaits you.
At the end of lunch, your guide will take you to the plantation nursery where you will begin the coffee tour experience. An expert will show you all the stages, from seed to cup.
Depending on the time of the year, you will see the beans and learn to recognize the ripe ones.
Afterward, you will go by the mill’s water process, walk by the sun drying patios and finally go to the roaster, to end up in a large store where you can buy the best coffee in Costa Rica and even send it back home.
As you leave Doka and continue descending, you will witness again how the climate and landscapes change.
You will enter a region of production of ornamental plants, and later of sugar cane. This will indicate that you can take off your coat and roll up your sleeves.
The first town you’ll visit is Grecia, a prosperous region whose center is the neo-gothic metal church you’ll have time to visit.
Take a walk in the park if you have time, it’s worth it. It’s just lovely, people are kind and smiling and find the time to sit on the benches of the park to talk.
As you leave Grecia, your transport will take you to the village of Sarchi, one of the places where the tradition of hand-painting oxcarts begins and an important wood carving hub of the Central Valley.
You will pass to the central park of Sarchi, where you will be able to take a selfie with the largest cart in the world.
This is a monument that celebrates the only means of transportation that Costa Rica had for hundreds of years.
You will finish the Poás, Doka, Grecia & Sarchí Volcano tour at the ox-cart factory.
Here you will be able to see the artisans’ hand-painting their unique designs, as well as to buy all the souvenirs for your loved ones.
Upon leaving Sarchi, your bus will take you back to the hotel.