Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Let’s delve into the heart of Costa Rican biodiversity and discover the Rincón de la Vieja National Park (in Spanish: Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja), a true paradise of nature. Located in the Guanacaste region, this park is home to a mighty variety of flora and fauna, and boasts unique geology, highlighted by its famous volcano.

Introduction to Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Rincón de la Vieja National Park

History of the Park

Rincón de la Vieja National Park was established in 1973 and is recognized by UNESCO as part of the Biosphere Reserve, forming part of the Costa Rica National Park System. Its 14,083 hectares have served as a refuge for wildlife, and its natural resources have been protected for the enjoyment of future generations.

Location and How to Get There

Located about 25 km northeast of Liberia, Guanacaste, this park is accessible by road and offers two main areas for visitors, Las Pailas and Santa María. Both are starting points for exciting excursions and memorable adventures.

Geography and Climate of the Park

Topography and Geological Features

The most important geological feature of the park is the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, an active volcano with an altitude of 1,916 meters. The area is home to a series of fumaroles, hot mud pools, and geysers, demonstrating the incredible geothermal activity of the area.


The park has a tropical climate, both humid and dry, depending on the season. The rainy season lasts from May to November, and the dry season from December to April, making any time of the year suitable for visiting.

Biological Diversity


The park is home to an impressive mosaic of ecosystems, ranging from dry to wet forests, and even paramos at higher altitudes. Here, you can find over 300 species of birds and several endangered mammal species.


From the small and elusive armadillo to the fascinating jaguar, Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a sanctuary for a wide variety of fauna. Bird enthusiasts will also be delighted with the diversity of birds, from the quetzal to the curious coqueta pava.

Endemic Species

The park is renowned for its endemic species, such as the Incilius holdridgei toad and the quetzal. Observing these species in their natural habitat is an unforgettable experience.

Attractions of Rincón de la Vieja National Park

Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

The towering Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, still active, is one of the main attractions of the park. You can hike up to its summit or enjoy the views from the numerous lookouts in the Las Pailas area.

Fumaroles, Mud Pools, and Geysers

The fumaroles and geysers bear witness to the volcanic activity of the park. The hot mud pools are popular among visitors, as they are said to have therapeutic properties.

Waterfalls and Rivers

The park also features beautiful waterfalls and rivers, ideal for swimming and relaxing after a day of hiking.

Activities and Recreation

Hiking and Walks

The park offers a wide range of trails for all skill levels. From leisurely walks to challenging climbs to the volcano summit, there’s an adventure waiting for every visitor.

Nature Photography and Birdwatching

With its rich biodiversity, the park is a paradise for nature photographers and birdwatchers. Bring your camera and binoculars, and get ready to capture unforgettable images and experiences.

Bathing in Mud Pools and Hot Springs

After a day of exploration, there’s nothing better than relaxing in the hot mud pools and hot springs of the park. These waters, heated by volcanic activity, are perfect for unwinding and rejuvenating.

Conservation and Environmental Education

Conservation Efforts

Rincón de la Vieja National Park is committed to protecting and conserving its rich biodiversity. Park authorities make continuous efforts to safeguard endangered species and maintain the health of its ecosystems.

Environmental Education Programs

The park also offers environmental education programs for schools and groups. These programs aim to raise awareness about the importance of conservation and educate visitors about the park’s abundant biodiversity.

How Visitors Can Contribute

As a visitor, you can contribute to the park’s conservation by following the park rules, such as leaving no trace, and participating in volunteer programs. Your contribution helps preserve this natural paradise for future generations.

Services and Amenities

Accommodation and Camping

The park offers various accommodation options, from luxury hotels to camping areas for those who prefer a more rustic experience. Additionally, there are lodges and cabins with all the amenities to make your stay comfortable.

Facilities and Services in the Park

Rincón de la Vieja National Park features a variety of services to enhance your visit. You’ll find picnic areas, visitor centers with information and maps, and tour guides available for guided tours.

Tips and Recommendations for Visitors

Best Time to Visit

The park is open all year round, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences. The dry season, from December to April, is ideal for hiking and other outdoor activities. The rainy season, from May to November, is perfect for experiencing the park in all its lush green glory.

What to Bring

Be sure to bring comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing, insect repellent, sunscreen, sufficient water, and a good pair of walking shoes. Remember to bring your camera to capture the beauty of the park and, of course, your love for nature.

Safety Considerations

Always remember that you are visiting a natural environment with wildlife and active geology. Always follow the park’s signs and rules, stay on marked trails, and avoid getting too close to wildlife. With caution and respect, your visit to Rincón de la Vieja National Park will be a safe and memorable experience.

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