Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, the largest volcano in northwest Costa Rica, is a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. Rincon de la Vieja National Park is located on the Cordillera de Guanacaste, a province of Guanacaste and Alajuela, 27 km northeast of the city of Liberia. It was created on 1973 with an area of 14.083.9 hectares. The volcanic complex includes the main volcano and its dormant sister cone, Santa Maria, as well as the older dormant Cerro Von Seebach. The name of the Volcano and National Park comes from the legend of an old lady who used to live in the slopes of the volcano.
Thermal mud pools, waterfall swimming areas and freshwater lakes are also available for visitor use. Rincon de la Vieja, the largest volcano in the country's northwest, comprises a remote volcanic complex in the Guanacaste Range. At least nine eruptive vents are located within a 15 kilometer wide caldera. The twin cone of 1,916 meter Santa Maria volcano, the highest peak of the Rincon complex, features an inactive crater 500 meters across.
The offical road to the National Park winds 27 km east out of Liberia. The way is covered by this white dust and chalky earth. The most interesting are of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is Las Pailas (Kitchen Stoves), which includes 8 hectares of hot springs, boiling mud pots, sulfur lakes and vapor geysers which stain the rocks with red, green and yellow colors; overall it offers a bizarre geological phenomenon unique in Costa Rica.
Among the highlights of the Rincon de la Vieja National Park include: hot springs, dry forest, volcanic scenery, and many different species of flora such as Laurel, Guanacaste, Cedro Amargo, Indus and Naked Indian, among others. It is also home of our national flower La Guaria Morada and more than 300 bird species, such as Pavón, Bobo bird, Goldfinch and the Mountain Tucancillo, among others. The National Park offers many services for tourists: La Casona or Information Center, Lookout View Point, Camping Area, Lunch Area, and Parking Lot. The entrance has a price of $10 per foreign tourist.
How to get here
The entrance to The Pailas Sector is located on the western edge of the park closer to the city of Liberia. It continues 5 km North on the Carretera Interamericana, then 20 km Northwest to reach the sector. The entrance to Santa Maria Sector is located in the extreme Southwest of the Park. To arrive at this site takes the path that starts in the Victoria Quarter, then taking the road to Colonia Blanca.