Poas Volcano – 1-1.5-hours. This is a great trip that runs up through Aluejela and leads you to the top of this wonderful volcano – and if you are lucky you will get a fabulous view into the live fuming crater from the viewing platform! The ride up the volcano will takes you through many coffee plantations and a wonderful cloud forest ecosystem. Take the PanAmerican highway back towards San Jose/ the airport. Get off at the Aluejela exit. Go straight through the city until you see signs for the volcano. Follow those signs all the way to the top. Look for Volcano signs within a few blocks and follow them straight up the mountain. Be sure to bring a sweater or even a fleece with you as the it gets quite cool at the elevation you will be brought to.
La Paz Waterfall Gardens
This breathtaking trip, albeit a bit touristy, is a just down the road from the Poas summit and makes a great combined day trip with the Volcano. La Paz boasts 5 breathtaking waterfalls (maybe 4 viewable after the last earthquake) that you can walk down in a fabulous cloud forest setting as well as an aviary, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, and lots more. As you leave Poas, take the first left off the service road (there was a big sign for Churrasco’s, and a little police station on the left when we were there). There is also a sign for the waterfalls, but it faces in the direction for those to see coming up the hill (on the left – or right going down). Go about 4km down the country road and make a left at the gas station. La Paz is another 3-4 km down the road.
For a great lunch after all this – head to Chubascos on the way down the hill back into Alejuela.