Costa Rica is home to a plethora of incredible national parks. We have a total of 6, just in Guanacaste! Rincón de la Vieja National Park is just a short drive away from Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco.
Rincón de la Vieja, which translates to “The Old Women’s Corner/Nook”, protects over 34,000 acres. This national park offers hiking, swimming, horseback riding, camping, picnicking, and endless sightseeing. It is conveniently located only 1 hour from Playas del Coco or just 30 minutes from Liberia. This park is divided into 2 main sectors; Las Pilas & Santa Maria. Due to the size and the position of the park, the two sectors offer dynamically different climates. The west side of the park experiences a dry season during December-April.
While the east side stays perpetually lush on account of the Atlantic trade winds. So lush in fact, that the Santa Maria sector is actually responsible for supplying 40% of the water that is consumed by Liberia. You can discover over 30 rivers and streams throughout the landscape, all brimming with life. With all that water, along with a large range of elevation come many exquisite waterfalls! There are 4 major waterfalls with beautiful refreshing pools to swim in. The bright blue water will take your breath away!
Within Rincon de la Vieja you will also come across monkeys, anteaters, sloths, mountain goats, coatis, peccaries, agoutis, snakes, lizards, armadillos and over 300 bird species. Keep in mind to walk quietly and slowly not to miss anything while on the trails and don’t forget your binoculars. For the plant lovers, there are a 1000 species of orchids that can be found all over. The flora and fauna of this area will transfix you.
Rincon de la Vieja national park is named after the largest and most active volcano within the area. This volcano is over 600,000 years old and is often referred to as the Colossus of Guanacaste. For the past few years, the active crater trail has been closed due to constant volcanic activity. Hopefully in the near future, the volcanic activity will subside so this trail can be enjoyed once again! The Rincon de la Vieja volcano also has a dormant sister named Santa Maria. These two volcanos dominate the landscape. They speckle the park with craters, caverns, mud baths, saunas, and hot springs. No matter which of the trails you end up taking, you will not be disappointed.
Visiting the Rincon de la Vieja national park is easy! Less than one hour away from Playa Hermosa and Playas del Coco, all on paved roads. The park is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 8:00am to 3:00pm. It is always closed on Mondays. The price to enter is $17 for adults and $6 for children, unless you are a resident of Costa Rica it is only $4.00. this is one of the many advantages of owning property in Costa Rica and applying for residency. There is a visitor center with park rangers always present and available sanitary services. Make sure to wear good shoes and pack a hearty lunch and plenty to drink so you can spend the entire day taking in the beauty of this ecologically diverse paradise.
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