Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica: Unveiling Nature's Wonders
Welcome to Rincon de la Vieja, an awe-inspiring region in northwestern Costa Rica known for its breathtaking landscapes, geothermal wonders, and captivating biodiversity. This natural paradise offers a glimpse into the heart of the country's wild side. Join us as we explore the remarkable attractions and experiences awaiting you in Rincon de la Vieja.
Discovering Rincon de la Vieja:
Volcano Adventures: At the heart of this region stands the mighty Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Hiking trails wind through dense tropical dry forests, leading to incredible viewpoints overlooking volcanic craters and steaming fumaroles. The trails in the Las Pailas section of the park lead to steaming fumaroles, boiling mud pots, and a seasonal waterfall. Witness the earth's raw power as you explore the area around this active volcano. Please note that the trails to the volcano's crater are currently closed due to volcanic activity.
Hot Springs & Mud Baths: Rincon de la Vieja is famous for its geothermal activity. Relax in natural hot springs, known for their therapeutic properties, or indulge in a rejuvenating volcanic mud bath. The volcanic minerals are believed to have healing effects on the skin.
Waterfalls & Canyoning: The region boasts numerous stunning waterfalls, including La Cangreja Waterfall and Oropendola Waterfall. Join a canyoning tour to rappel down cascading waterfalls, swim in crystal-clear pools, and experience the lush jungle up close.
Wildlife Encounters: Rincon de la Vieja's abundant biodiversity includes jaguars, tapirs, sloths, and a myriad of bird species. Explore the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, home to this diverse range of wildlife, on guided hikes.
Adventure Activities: The adventure never stops in Rincon de la Vieja. Try zip-lining through the forest canopy, go horseback riding along scenic trails, or navigate the thrilling white-water rapids on the Rio Colorado.
Local Culture & Cuisine: Savor traditional Costa Rican dishes in local restaurants. Try the spicy "Gallo Pinto," a staple rice and bean dish, and sip on freshly brewed coffee. Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the region.
Getting There: Fly into Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) in Liberia, which is the nearest major airport to Rincon de la Vieja. From there, it's about a 1+ hour drive to reach the region.
Climate: Rincon de la Vieja enjoys a tropical climate, with a wet season from May to November and a drier period from December to April. The dry season is ideal for outdoor activities. The heaviest rains occur in September and October.
Accommodations: Choose from a variety of accommodations, including eco-lodges, adventure haciendas, and rustic cabins. Many lodges are nestled in the heart of the tropical dry forest, offering an immersive experience.
Pack Accordingly: Wear comfortable, moisture-wicking clothing for outdoor adventures, and don't forget sunscreen, insect repellent, and sturdy hiking shoes.
Respect the Environment: Rincon de la Vieja's pristine natural beauty is a treasure to protect. Follow eco-friendly practices and adhere to park regulations to preserve this unique ecosystem.
Guided Tours: Consider booking guided tours to fully experience the wonders of the region. Local guides can provide insights into the area's flora, fauna, and culture.
Rincon de la Vieja invites you to embark on a journey of exploration and adventure, where you'll witness the incredible forces of nature at work and connect with the untamed spirit of Costa Rica. Whether you're seeking adrenaline-pumping activities or serene moments in nature, this region promises an unforgettable experience. Come to Rincon de la Vieja and immerse yourself in a world of natural wonders.
Planning a vacation to Rincon de la Vieja
We recommend limiting your stay in the Rincon de la Vieja area to 2 - 3 days (though we recommend 2 days in most situations). It is very hot and dry in this area. While the adventures are great, the heat can be exhausting.
There are no real luxury hotels in the Rincon de la Vieja area. The majority of hotels are mid-range adventure lodges. We recommend Hacienda Guachipelin, Canyon de la Vieja Lodge and Borinquen Resort.
While we have touched on the fact that there are many adventure activities in the Rincon de la Vieja area, we highly recommend visiting the Las Pailas section of the park. This is where the majority of hot springs, fumeroles and bubbling mud pits are located.
Reasons to visit
- The area provides a nice selection of adventure activities
- If you visit the Las Pailas section of the national park, you will be able to observe volcanic activity
- This is an off the beaten path destination which will show you the cultural traditions of Guanacaste, Costa Rica
- It is close to Liberia Airport and the northern Guanacaste beaches
- It is a tropical dry forest, which is one of the most endangered habitats
Reasons NOT to visit
- There are no all inclusive resorts
- There are no luxury accommodations
- It is hot and dry
- It is a tropical dry forest on the south and west side where most lodges are located, so there is no rainforest on these sides.
- You are not interested in a cultural experience
How to get there
From Liberia: There is no public transportation connecting Liberia and Rincon de la Vieja, however, you may drive, hire a 4WD taxi, or arrange transportation with any of the lodges to get there. If you are driving, a 4WD is strongly recommended because the roads are rough and unpaved, particularly during the rainy season.
If you are driving, you may reach the national park’s Las Pailas sector by driving about 5 km north of Liberia on the Interamerican Highway and taking a turn where you see the sign.
Weather and packing list
The Rincon de la Vieja area enjoys the same fantastic weather as the rest of Costa Rica’s Northwest Pacific region. Temperatures here hover in the upper 80s to lower 90s during the day, while nighttime lows often hit the upper 70s. Precipitation levels vary year round and the best of the sun and dry heat is reserved for the months of November to August, while the worst of the rainy season is usually during September and October.
Don’t forget to pack your hiking gear, including some good shoes to tread around the park’s multiple trails. Throw in a few t-shirts, shorts, pants and rain gear and make sure to bring sunblock and insect repellant. Review our Costa Rica packing list for more ideas.
Fun Fact: Rincon de la Vieja literally translates as “Old Woman’s Corner” and legend has it that it is named after a powerful healer who lived near the volcano.