Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica – Travel Guide
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. People referred to her home as the old woman’s corner, and the name stuck.
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is a remote active Volcano northeast of Liberia in the Guanacaste Province sprawling with a gorgous National Park with various sectors. Visitors stay at the few lodges near the park or most commonly take day trips from the busy tourist beaches 1-2 hours away such as Tamarindo and the Papagayo Gulf.
An area quite off the beaten path. There are no luxury, all inclusive resorts on this Volcano. Many tourists come to soak in the amazing natural hot springs, which are said to have therapeutic properties. The area also contains a vast number of hiking trails, with the most popular being Las Pailas Trail, where you will find a ‘volcancito’ (a mini crater), smoking fumaroles and bubbling mud pots.
Loads of adrenaline-pumping tours can be arranged at Rincon de la Vieja’s adventure lodges, including canyoning, white-water rafting, canopy ziplining, tubing, rafting and horseback riding.
Flora & Fauna
Rincon de la Vieja is Dry Primary and Secondary Forest. Tourist tend to see a vast amount of wildlife in the National Park trails. Specifically Capuchin, Howler, and Spider Monkeys, Toucans, Parrots, Coatis, Iguanas, many exotic birds, rodents, and much more!
Rincon de la Vieja is a remote area, so you will need a car or shuttle to get there. There are not public shuttles or any type of shared transportation on, to, or from the volcano. Private shuttles can be organized easily. The Adventure Parks such as Hacienda Guachipelin will provide transportation to the National Park and Hot Springs if you are staying at the hotel. Day trips from the tourist beaches always provide round trip transportation from your hotel.
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.
You can rent a car in Liberia Airport, San Jose Airport, Tamarindo, or basically any major destination in Costa Rica. The car selection can be minimal in Tamarindo in busier seasons, so you will want to reserve well ahead of time or at least not wait until you get to Tamarindo to rent the car.
Due to it’s remoteness, you will not find many options when it comes to places to eat. Every hotel is very secluded and has a restaurant. That is pretty much your only option unless you drive down to the town of Curbande, about 20 minutes down the mountain, and go to a local bar where you may be able to get some casados and snack type food. Despite the lack of choices, the restaurants typically serve very delicious fresh food that is often grown right on the property.
When you come to Rincon de la Vieja, prepare in advance because there are no nearby stores to go out and grab something you need quickly. The hotels may have convenience items such as razors and toothbrushes, but not much beyond that.
Bring good shoes for hiking and/or river tubing. Also bring an extra pair of shoes because if you are doing anything adventurous, the first pair will probably be wet for a while.
Guanacaste is the hottest, drying area in Costa Rica, so even though Rincon de la Vieja is at a decent elevation it is still quite hot year round. Bring both pants and shorts, as it can get chilly at night, especially if it rains, but use your shorts and cooler clothes for your activities.
When to Visit Rincon de la Vieja
Dry Season: End of December to End of April – Prices will be the highest but there will be no rain at all, also known as the dry season.
Rainy Season: May to Mid December – Prices are lower and it rains at least a few times a week, usually in the afternoons or at night.
- In September and October it rains heavily nearly everyday and some tours may be cancelled.
Top 3 Rincon de la Vieja Tours
Tours you can do in town or from surrounding beaches