our driver and guide will be waiting to greet you at the Puntarenas port when your ship arrives. Travel from the Gulf of Nicoya inland across the fertile plains of Costa Rica's Central Valley and into Alajuela province. Observe the temperature and vegetation change as you begin to ascend the slopes of Poas Volcano.
From the summit, which stretches an impressive 8,885 feet (2,708 meters) above sea level, admire sweeping panoramic valley views and gaze down into the main crater filled with a bright blue, acidic lake and steaming fumaroles. Although the volcano has erupted dozens of times, it has not seen a period of major activity with ash clouds since the 1950s, so geologic experts consider it safe to visit. Poas Volcano National Park is also home to many scenic hiking trails and exceptional biodiversity.
After descending from the volcano, journey next to the tropical habitats of La Paz Waterfall Gardens, a private eco-reserve and animal sanctuary that’s home to more than 100 different species. Designed to educate visitors about Costa Rica’s natural bounty and preserve the surrounding ecosystem, La Paz features a network of walking paths that wind through wildlife exhibits like hummingbird and butterfly gardens, a serpentarium, and an aviary. You can also observe rehabilitated mammalian residents like spider monkeys, jaguars, and pumas.
Soak up the lush scenery and see the tropical waterfall that gives the reserve its name before hopping back in the van for the return drive to Puntarenas, where the 5-hour shore excursion concludes at your waiting cruise ship.