Rincon de la Vieja
- Summary: National park with diverse nature highlights; relaxing hot springs; large selection of adventure and nature activities.
- Landscape: Tropical Dry Forest, Volcano
- Attractions: Fumaroles, Hot Springs, Rincon de la Vieja National Park, Waterfalls
- Activities: Bird & Wildlife Watching, Hiking, Horseback Riding
- Caters to: Couples/Honeymooners, Families, Nature Lovers
- Quick Facts: 16 miles northeast of Liberia ; 1,969 to 6,286 feet above sea level ; Hot and dry ; 79-86°F
Rincon de la Vieja Snapshot
Rincon de la Vieja’s main attraction is its 35,000-acre national park, an incredible combination of bubbling mud pots, steaming fumaroles, rushing creeks, and volcanoes both large and small. The view is framed by the Santa Maria Volcano, the area’s highest peak, along with several others that stand tall and confident by its side.read more close
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is considered to be gently active. Though it has experienced no major eruptions in recent years, it habitually belches up steam and ash. Santa Maria Volcano’s summit towers at 6,286 feet, while the national park’s lowlands hover at just 1,969 feet above sea level. This 4,000-foot altitude change allows for several different microclimates that range from hot and dry to cool and misty.
Created in 1973, Rincon de la Vieja National Park has evolved over the years to become one of Costa Rica’s best-kept secrets. Strangler figs are the park’s specialty, and are easy to spot with their huge root systems that snake along the forest floor. The unique tree begins life by latching onto an existing tree trunk, slowly growing stronger until it eventually surrounds its host and strangles its life away. The result is an immense tree with a hollow trunk, a vacant memory of its long-lost host. Rincon de la Vieja National Park also hosts the largest population of Costa Rica’s national flower, the Cattleya skinneri, a type of purple orchid.
Though lodges have appeared at the volcano’s base, the area retains its frontier charm. As you soak in the blissful hot springs, howler monkeys moan their deep, throaty calls. Coatimundis rustle through the jungle, and are friendly enough to approach for a closer look or photo. Butterflies dance in the breeze, deer bound among the trees, and birdsong from almost 300 bird species fills the air from morning until night.
Places to Stay:
Rincon de la Vieja is very small, and has only a handful of hotels and lodges. Luckily, an option exists for everyone, as the area’s accommodations range from budget to luxurious. Several are working cattle ranches, and guests are invited to take part in daily chores, cattle herding, and horse care. The park’s two ranger stations will also set visitors up with rustic camping.
Restaurants & Nightlife:
Your hotel will provide all meals and evening activities, since Rincon de la Vieja has no proper town. Restaurant meals are usually served buffet or a la carte, and most of the area’s lodges offer all-inclusive packages.
Services & Facilities:
Liberia lies just 16 miles south of Rincon de la Vieja, and offers banks, ATMs, a post office, Internet cafes, supermarkets and pharmacies. Your hotel in Rincon de la Vieja will provide phone and fax. In addition, Internet, including wireless (WiFi) access, is available at some hotels. You should bring tip money in advance, as there are no ATMs in Rincon de la Vieja.