As Costa Rica’s mini-Yellowstone National Park, Rincon de la Vieja is a relatively unknown and hidden gem in Costa Rica. With volcanic landscapes, the rugged beauty of Rincón de la Vieja is breathtaking with geysers spewing out steam, relaxing hot springs and bubbling volcanic mud ponds to explore.
The Rincón de la Vieja National Park was first created in 1973 and its relative remote location means that rare wildlife can be spotted here that cannot be seen elsewhere in the country.
Surrounded by a dry tropical forest which in contrast to a rainforest has long dry seasons each year, there is a plethora of ground-dwelling mammals to be spotted that call the thick undergrowth their home. Discover the beauty of Rincon de la Vieja which is sure to add to any Costa Rica vacation experience.
♦ Where is Rincón de la Vieja?
Rincon de la Vieja is located just over 44 miles or a 1.5 hour drive from Liberia’s International Airport and 37 miles from the nearest major city of Liberia in Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province. With a range of elevations from less than 1968ft. up to 6286ft. the landscape of Rincon de la Vieja’s 54.4sq.mile National Park provides a wide variety of habitats from dormant volcanoes to dry tropical forests. The large National Park of Rincon de la Vieja located towards Costa Rica’s Pacific Coast in the northwest of the country and encompasses the Santa Maria and Rincon de la Vieja volcanoes as well as the dormant Cerro von Seebach. The active Rincón de la Vieja Volcano last erupted in 2012 although since then it has only been gently active and poses no serious threat at the moment. Although the roads leading to Rincon de la Vieja are far from providing the smoothest journey of your life, traveling from Liberia Airport allows you to explore the Guanacaste Region deeper and make the most of your time in this stunning area of Costa Rica.
♦ The best time to go to Rincón de la Vieja
As is the case in the rest of Costa Rica, there are two distinct climatic seasons in Rincon de la Vieja. The dry season runs from November to April where the temperature is high with very little or no precipitation and the wet or as it has been termed, ‘green’ season is from May through to October.
With Rincon de la Vieja and the province of Guanacaste being one of the drier regions of Costa Rica, it remains relatively dry in comparison to the rest of Costa Rica even during the green season making it a year round destination.
The dry tropical forest means that during the dry season, the weather can be extremely and a new experience for those not accustomed to such dry heat. There is no real best time to go to Rincon de la Vieja as during the green season the intensity of the heat is lower and the fumaroles and bubbling mud pools are at their most active. During the dry season there is less precipitation and although the heat is more intense, within the National Park there is a welcome breeze. The other benefit of traveling during the dry season is that there is a greater chance of spotting the diverse range of wildlife of Rincon de la Vieja.
♦ The top things to do in Rincón de la Vieja
Rincón de la Vieja National Park has the highest density of Costa Rica’s national flower, the rare purple orchid which is known as ‘guaria morada’ among many other things to see and do in one of Costa Rica’s most distinct National Parks. The range of terrain in the National Park provides the perfect setting for the quintessential Costa Rican adventure. Where else in the world can you hike up an active volcano, passing waterfalls, volcanic mud pools and hot springs before trotting through Costa Rica’s version of the wild west? From rappelling, rock climbing, river rafting and horseback riding to jungle hikes and exploring the dry tropical forest canopy Rincon de la Vieja is an adrenaline packed destination. Horseback riding with Costa Rica’s cowboys known as ‘sabaneros’ is one of the best ways to see the National Park and a great way to experience their culture and history.
Whether hiking up to the rim of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano or enjoying your John Wayne moment of riding through the great pastures of Rincon de la Vieja, by the end of the day you will be ready to relax surrounded by Costa Rica’s finest displays of nature.
With the sounds of howler monkeys heard overhead, you can slump into one of the many hot springs of Rincón de la Vieja National Park. Many of the springs and bubbling mud baths are reported to have therapeutic properties but one thing is for sure is that it will leave feeling peaceful and laid-back, ready for your next day of adventure in Costa Rica.