Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja

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Rincon de la Vieja at a Glance

Ideal for:

  • Families
  • Couples
  • Adventure Seekers
  • Nature Lovers

Nearby Activities:

  • Horseback riding
  • Canopy tours
  • Hiking
  • Spa treatment
  • Cattle herding
  • Waterfall rappelling
  • River tubing

Nearby Attractions:

  • Rincón de la Vieja National Park
  • The Red Pond and Blanco River Pool
  • Five waterfalls

Special Features:

Rincón de la Vieja is a wonderland for outdoor adventure seekers, and most tours highlight the destination and not only the activity itself.

Fast Facts

Region: Guanacaste & North Pacific
Closest Airports: Daniel Oduber International Airport (LIR), in Liberia
Altitude: 1,970 (600 meters) to 6,290 feet (1920 meters) above sea level
Average Temperature: 80-87º F (26-31º C)

As you bump steadily up the road, your car climbing at a snail’s pace, you wonder what could possibly lie ahead on the next leg of your vacation in Costa Rica. Dense forest surrounds the road, so you can’t see the twin volcanoes looming just ahead. The breeze doesn’t yet carry the scent of sulfur from fumaroles or dense minerals from volcanic mud. But these things are just a few miles ahead, waiting to excite, entice and exhilarate.

Rincón de la Vieja is, in a word, spectacular. This region (there is no proper town) and its incredible national park are named for their faithful watchdog, Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. For years, Rincón de la Vieja was considered a gently active volcano, regularly spitting ash and steam but abstaining from serious eruptions. In 2011, the volcano awakened, although it is still only lightly active and does not put on regular lava shows for visitors.

Without a doubt, Rincón de la Vieja National Park is one of Costa Rica’s most unique and yet, it is also one of the nation’s most secluded and not always found in your Costa Rica travel guide. You may encounter no other souls on your sojourns through the park; this seclusion takes on an almost spiritual quality, as if nature’s offerings were created for your eyes only. The park’s gentle trails take you through a volcanic Garden of Eden, weaving past a picturesque waterfall, steaming fumaroles, babbling brooks, bubbling mudpots, and a tiny volcano.

Attractions & Places to See

The mossy river gorges and grassy plains of Rincón de la Vieja are a sight to behold and an adventure to traverse. These rural and rustic wilds have secreted away some of Costa Rica’s most incredible sights and sounds, from tumbling waterfalls to the rhythmic bubbling of the volcano’s mud cauldrons.

In Rincón de la Vieja, most attractions center around the eponymous volcano and national park. At Rincón de la Vieja National Park and her surrounds, you’ll find:

Activities & Things to Do

Rincón de la Vieja is Costa Rica’s outdoor adventure land, and you’ll have a lot to choose from. Instead of manufactured excitement, you’ll hit the trails to hike a volcano summit or swim at the base of a waterfall or straddle a river canyon. And this is cowboy country, so if you love to ride, many tours incorporate horseback riding on ranch horses… canter if you dare!

Though Rincón de la Vieja feels hidden away from the rest of Costa Rica, tourism has a strong enough hold to ensure there’s always plenty to do. Here, tours are not about the activity itself but where it gets you:

Day Trips

Rincón de la Vieja is a standalone destination high in the mountains, about an hour outside of Liberia.

Wildlife & Nature

Branches intertwine, dancing toward the blue sky like a funneled web. Before you stands a strangler fig, a towering tree that dots the forest and amazes visitors. Its hollow trunk tells the story of its name: these immense figs, small at first, send their tendrils up other trees, slowing enveloping them until the first is snuffed out, forgotten but for the now-vacant insides of the strangler.

Rincón de la Vieja’s forests are home to more than strangler figs, housing more than 300 bird species including eagles, tanagers, owls, toucans, parrots and hummingbirds. And as you walk through the forest, hopping over roots and evading boulders, you’ll spot some of the park’s other residents – howler monkeys, coatimundis, peccaries and two-toed sloths, among them.

Best Time to Visit

Rincón de la Vieja is impressive year-round, but it is particularly beautiful at the beginning of the dry season (December-February). During these months, the rains have faded to perfect weather but the landscapes are still lush and waterfalls run strong.

Where to Stay

There are few lodges in Rincón de la Vieja, and most cater to mid-range travelers (think $70-$150 per night). Some inexpensive cabins are also available, but they are sometimes harder to reach and tours may not offer regular pickup at these locations.

Restaurants and Nightlife

There is no “downtown” in Rincón de la Vieja; lodges are sprinkled around the foothills of the volcano. Your hotel serves meals buffet-style or à la carte, and most accommodations offer an all-inclusive meal option.

Amenities & Infrastructure

Since there is no actual town of Rincón de la Vieja, most amenities are limited to your hotel’s offerings: