After more than 16 months closed, Poás Volcano National Park will finally be reopened to the public.
A vigorous volcanic activity occurred in the first quarter of last year and forced the temporary closure of the park. According to data from the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC), Poás was the second most visited national park just behind Manuel Antonio (it received 400 thousand tourists in 2016).
In addition, its closure caused a financial gap in the national parks system -estimated at almost four billion colones- and the surrounding commercial area suffered greatly as a result of the low visitation .
What are the aspects that you should know about the reopening?
• The visitation will be enabled as of this Friday, August 31st.
• SINAC built five shelters to protect visitors from possible ballistic flows that are expelled in the event of an explosion.
• Each of the shelters will have the capacity to shelter up to 50 people.
• Protective equipment and instruments were purchased, so that in case of an eruption, visitors can protect themselves from the toxic gases emanating from the colossus.
• Similarly, four real-time gas measurement sensors were acquired to detect high levels of sulfuric acid and other gases potentially harmful to humans.
• If an eruption occurs, a protocol will be activated to move visitors to a safe place where they can use 70 helmets, 140 air filters, and 70 masks.
• Tourists will enter in groups of 50 and will be able to stay only 20 minutes in the viewpoint of the active crater. SINAC’s plan is for a thousand visitors to come daily.
• Tickets will be sold on the Internet through SINAC’s website. Tourists will have to register, create an account, indicate the name of the visitor and have a payment method (credit or debit card).
• Once the payment is processed, users will receive a QR code that must be presented to the national park authorities.
• Are there additional payments? Yes. Once in the site, parking for vehicles will have to be paid in cash.
After the main eruption in April 2017, the impacts were so important that the concrete of the trails was destroyed. Some stones were embedded in the mountain.
Since November, the colossus has not had eruptive activity. However, there are constant vapors and gases that could be toxic.
The works for the reopening were agreed upon by volcanologists from the National Seismological Network (RSN), from the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica (OVSICORI), and experts from the National Emergency Commission (CNE).