On the road across Costa Rica’s Continental Divide and on to Poas Volcano

We arrived in Sierpe soaked to the bone. Once we changed into dry clothes we jumped into the car and headed for San Jose. It looked a little bit too far for the amount of daylight we had left, so we picked a random town on the map, which happened to be San Isidro de el General, and decided to spend a night there. We didn’t expect the drive to be particularly scenic, which made it all the more surprising when we found ourselves driving for hours through spectacular rainforest. We were quite high above the sea level and forest was shrouded in such thick mist that it appeared as if we were driving through the clouds.

Road in the clouds

Road in the clouds

Cloud shrouded forest along the side of the road

Mist shrouded forest along the side of the road

Cloud forest

Cloud forest

We didn’t see any wildlife on the drive, with the only exception of a Rufous-collared sparrow in a roadside village where we stopped for a coffee.

Rufous-collared sparrow

Rufous-collared sparrow

The following morning we drove to Poas Volcano, but the visibility in the park was next to zero and most trails including the crater lookout were closed. We drove back to San Jose, dropped the girls off at the airport and headed to Alajuela.

With only the three of us left for the last few days of the road trip our itinerary became much more relaxed and the next morning we decided to give Poas Volcano another chance. This time the trails were open, but when we reached the crater lookout all we could see was a white wall of fog. But just as we were about to turn around the clouds lifted and we had a few minutes of clear view of the rugged rocks and the milky sulphurous lake in the middle of the crater.

Clouds clearing over Poas Volcano

Clouds clearing over Poas Volcano

Poas Volcano, Costa Rica

Poas Volcano

We walked the trails in the Dwarf Cloud forest hoping to spot the Poas squirrel, endemic to the area, but in the end only found a few Variegated squirrels, a Yellow-thied finch, a Large-footed finch and a Euphonia.

Variegated squirrel in the cloud forest

Variegated squirrel in the cloud forest

Large-footed finch

Large-footed finch

After the volcano it was time for yet another spectacular drive across the Continental Divide towards Tirimbina Biological Station. The winding  road passed deep canyons, waterfalls that you could walk behind and tracts of lush green rainforest for as far as the eye could see. This almost empty highway through the mountains was more scenic than many of the National Parks we’ve been to.

Canyon by the side of the road

Canyon by the side of the road

Waterfall

Waterfall

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