Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park (Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja) is a park of 14,161 hectare covering a dry tropical forest region in the provinces of Guanacaste and Alajuela , centered around the Volcano, Rincón de la Vieja, and the surrounding volcanic and natural features. Sights include an extraordinary amount of interesting flora and fauna, as well as plenty of hot bubbling sulphurous mud pits and a little "mini-volcano."
Rincon de la Vieja Vulcano Activity in the National Park
The closest park to the Papagayo, Coco, Hermosa, Flamingo, Tamarindo area. This park has lots of volcanic activity, fumaroles, boiling mud pots, vapor vents, sulfur vents, forests, wild life. Great for a one day tour with the whole family. There are more complicated trails for expert hikers as well, like the crater top or the sulfur springs "Los Azufrales". There is a convenience at the entrance of the park with bathrooms. The park is closed on Mondays.
This national park was created officially decreed on 23 October 1973, created on 10 May 1974, and ratified on 27 December 1982.
It is a part of the protected area of the Conservation Area Guanacaste, (ACG) and operates in conjunction with the National Parks of Guanacaste and Santa Rosa, the Vida Silvestre Wildlife Refuge and the Horizontes Experimental Forestry Station.
The park is divided into two sectors: Pailas and Santa Maria.
- The Pailas sector was named after the volcanic eruptions that are located in the area, including fumaroles and mud pots.
- The Santa Maria sector was, from the late nineteenth st century and the year of 1973 one of the largest ranches in the area. It ran both beef and dairy cattle, and produced coffee and sugar cane.
The park forms park of the watershed for the province of Guanacaste. The province has 32 rivers, including the el Colorado, Blanco and the Ahogados.
In addition, there are sixteen intermittent streams, which supply the rivers in the province.
Flora and fauna
Upper forest trees are of small stature and are twisted and covered with epiphytes. Rincon de la Vieja is a refuge for a large population the national flower Guaria Morada (Cattleya Skinerii). Tree species such as Laurel (Cordia alliodora), Guanacaste (In terolobium cyclocarpum), Cedar (odorata Cederla), Indian naked (Bursera simarouba) and Copey (Clusia spp.) are abundant.
Approximately 300 bird species inhabit the park including the Pavón (Penelope purpurascens), the Bobo bird (Momotus momotta), the mountain Linnet (goldfinch) (Myadestes melanops), and Tucancillo (Auracorhynchus prasinus).
The park is accessible only by car. From Liberia it's 5 km north up the Inter-American Highway, turn right (east) towards Curubande and head 17 km, then keep going until you pass through Hacienda Guachipelin. The park hours are 7AM-3PM Tu-Su.
Be certain you have a spare tire and jack in your car. The gravel road has many sharp edges to the gravel. A two wheel drive can make the journey weather permitting. A four wheel drive car is advisable during the wet season.
The entrance fee is US$15.
At this time the trail to the crater is closed. Possibility to walk by the security warnings and hiked up, ensure you have a clear view.
It's yet not advised to go on your own. The trail is really bad and it may stay closed for a while (just by sight). Count three hours to get to the top and two hours to get down.
The two other trails are also really nice. You can see two beautiful waterfalls on 1 trail and on the other trail you walk to a mudvolcano, gaslake, steampots etc. (5-09-2013)
- Adventure Tours, Hacienda Guachipelin, Rincon de la Vieja National Park (Next to Rincon de la Vieja National Park, from Liberia 5 km north, turn right 17 km towards the National Park.), ☎ +506 2665-2613, +506 2256-5693, . The best one day tours in the area. From soft to hard adventure, hot springs, mud springs, horseback rides, canopy tours, white water tubing, canyoning, hiking, bird watching, wildlife and cultural activities. There is a full day package that includes a buffet style lunch. There are tours for different budgets starting at $25. edit
- Restaurante La Hacienda, (Rinon de la Vieja, at Guachipelin's main entrance), ☎ +506 2665-2613. 6:30AM to 9PM. Restaurant with panoramic view of the coast line and the flat lands. from $10. edit
Laguna on the grounds of Hacienda Guachipelin
- Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, (Drive north from Liberia along Panamerican, take exit at Quebrada Grande and follow signs),), ☎ +506 2206-5000. North base of Rincon de la Vieja volcano national park in the rainforest - Cabins among 4 natural mineral hot springs pools, a fresh water pool with a bullet waterslide, full service a spa, botanical gardens, butterfly farm, tours to volcanic blue river, waterfalls, horseback riding, nature hikes and much more. edit
- BuenaVista Lodge, In Liberia, from Burger King 13 kilometers on the Interamericana road, towards Peñas Blancas, until you get to the entrance of Cañas Dulces –only entrance towards the east- (on the right hand side) that is paved, then you drive 18 kilometers towards the towns of Cañas Dulces and Buena Vista that are on the way, ☎ +506-2665-7759, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12 noon. Presents the daily life in a Hacienda in Guanacaste. Has operated under sustainable tourism principles since 1991. Adventures tours are available in the hotel. US$36. edit
- Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste, Costa rica (From Liberia take road #1, 5 Km. turn right at Rincon de la Vieja Entrance 17 km, passing a gated entrance.), ☎ +506 2256-5693, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12 noon. Nested in a hacienda at the base of the most visited volcano in Guanacaste. Still operating as a traditional cattle ranch. Closest hotel to National Park Rincon de la Viejat. Tours for all ages, from soft to hard adventure. Hiking, horseback rides, canopy tours, canyoning and white water tubing. US$44. (10.751439,85.379691) edit
- Bourinquen Resort & Spa, Rincon de la Vieja (Liberia, Guanacaste), ☎ +506 2690-1900, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12:00 noon. Opened in 1999. Take advantage of the curative properties that have long been attributed to mineral rich waters and mud-pots. 2 bungalow rooms with facilities as well as 1 Jr. suite. Have 100% accessible rooms and public areas including the restaurant La Carreta, front desk and lobby, pool, spa, stables and other surrounding areas and strive to cope with any special needs. 5 room styles, can cater to weddings and special events. edit
- Rancho Curubandé Lodge, Rincón de la Vieja (Liberia, Guanacaste) (Drive 5 km north from Liberia along Pan American Hwy, take exit on the right to Curubandé. Stay 600 meters on road and the lodge can be found on the right hand side. Follow signs), ☎ +50626650375, . It is a small, family owned lodge 15 km away from the Volcan Rincón de la Vieja National Park. It is located in a Costa Rican farm dedicated to hay and sugar cane. Tours on site are available. Prices include taxes and breakfast. $50. (10.663476,-85.465062) edit