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  • Writer's pictureNatalija Ugrina

Active Volcano Adventures at Rincón de la Vieja: Costa Rica’s Yellowstone

Costa Rica, celebrated for its lush landscapes and vibrant biodiversity, is home to a hidden gem often dubbed the "Yellowstone of Costa Rica"—Rincón de la Vieja. This extraordinary destination, nestled in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, offers an array of natural wonders, from bubbling mud pots and hot springs to towering waterfalls and scenic hiking trails. Whether you're an adventure enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a unique travel experience, Rincón de la Vieja has something for everyone.

Rincón de la Vieja - Costa Rica
Rincón de la Vieja - Costa Rica

The Volcanic Heartbeat of Costa Rica

Rincón de la Vieja National Park is centered around the majestic Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, an active stratovolcano that last erupted in 2021. This geological marvel is the largest and most active volcano in the Guanacaste Mountains, standing at an impressive 1,916 meters (6,286 feet). The park itself spans over 34,000 acres, encompassing diverse ecosystems that range from tropical dry forests to cloud forests.

Active Volcano Adventures at Rincón de la Vieja: Costa Rica’s Yellowstone
you can tell that volcano is active

Historical Significance of Rincón de la Vieja

rincon de la vieja

Rincón de la Vieja, which translates to "Old Woman's Corner," derives its name from a local legend about a young girl whose lover was thrown into the volcano by her disapproving father. Heartbroken, she retreated to the mountains and became a recluse, earning the name “La Vieja” (the old woman). This legend adds a mystical aura to the volcano, attracting not only adventurers but also those intrigued by its cultural heritage.

The park was established in 1973 to protect the unique ecosystems and geological features of the area. It has since become a critical part of Costa Rica's conservation efforts, preserving its rich biodiversity and geothermal activity.

Natural Attractions and Geothermal Wonders

One of the most captivating aspects of Rincón de la Vieja is its geothermal activity, reminiscent of Yellowstone National Park in the United States. Visitors can explore a variety of volcanic features, including:

las pailas rincon de la vieja

1. Las Pailas:

This area, whose name translates to "The Cauldrons," is famous for its boiling mud pots, fumaroles, and steam vents. The surreal landscape, with its bubbling mud and hissing steam, creates an otherworldly atmosphere that’s both fascinating and humbling.

rincon. dela vieja costa rica volcano

2. Hot Springs:

After a day of hiking, nothing beats soaking in the natural hot springs fed by the volcanic activity. The hot springs are believed to have therapeutic properties, providing a perfect way to relax and rejuvenate in the heart of nature.

3. Waterfalls:

Rincón de la Vieja boasts several stunning waterfalls, including the iconic La Cangreja and Escondida falls. These cascades offer refreshing swimming holes and picturesque picnic spots, making them ideal for a day trip within the park.

4. Hiking Trails:

The park features a network of trails that cater to all levels of hikers. From the easy, family-friendly trails around Las Pailas to the more challenging trek to the summit of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, there’s no shortage of adventure. Along the way, hikers can encounter diverse flora and fauna, including howler monkeys, sloths, and an array of bird species.

Adventure Activities

Rincón de la Vieja is a playground for adventure seekers. In addition to hiking and exploring geothermal features, visitors can indulge in activities such as:

1. Canopy Tours:

Zip-lining through the forest canopy provides a bird’s-eye view of the park's diverse ecosystems and a thrilling way to experience the natural beauty of Rincón de la Vieja.

2. Horseback Riding:

Exploring the park on horseback allows visitors to cover more ground and take in the scenic vistas at a leisurely pace. Many tours include stops at waterfalls and hot springs.

3. Tubing and White-Water Rafting:

For those seeking a wet and wild adventure, the rivers in and around the park offer excellent tubing and rafting opportunities, with varying levels of difficulty to suit all experience levels.

Biodiversity and Conservation

Rincón de la Vieja National Park is a haven for biodiversity. The park’s varied ecosystems support a wide range of plant and animal species. Visitors may encounter everything from towering Guanacaste trees and vibrant orchids to rare mammals like pumas and tapirs. Birdwatchers will be delighted by the presence of over 300 bird species, including the resplendent quetzal and the keel-billed toucan.

The park's conservation efforts focus on preserving these unique ecosystems and the wildlife that depend on them. By visiting Rincón de la Vieja, you’re not only embarking on an unforgettable adventure but also supporting vital conservation initiatives that protect this natural treasure for future generations.

rincon de la vieja

Where to Stay in Rincón de la Vieja

Finding the perfect accommodation is essential for making the most of your visit to Rincón de la Vieja. Here are some top recommendations:

Located at the foot of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, this eco-lodge offers comfortable rooms, a spa, and a range of adventure activities, including zip-lining and horseback riding. It’s a great base for exploring the park and its geothermal wonders. Check it out HERE

Set in a beautiful, secluded location, this resort provides luxury accommodations with hot springs, a full-service spa, and adventure tours. The stunning views and tranquil environment make it an excellent choice for relaxation and exploration. Check it out HERE

This eco-friendly lodge offers a variety of lodging options, from rustic cabins to comfortable rooms, along with numerous adventure activities like canopy tours and water slides. The lodge’s hot springs and spa are perfect for unwinding after a day of exploration. Check it out HERE

Plan Your Visit

Rincón de la Vieja National Park is easily accessible from the nearby city of Liberia, which has an international airport. The best time to visit is during the dry season, from December to April, when the weather is most favorable for outdoor activities. However, the park is open year-round, and each season offers its own unique experiences and attractions.


Rincón de la Vieja truly lives up to its nickname as the "Yellowstone of Costa Rica." With its geothermal wonders, diverse wildlife, and thrilling adventure activities, it’s a destination that promises to captivate and inspire. So, pack your hiking boots, bring your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore one of Costa Rica's most extraordinary natural parks.

6,353 views7 comments


Jun 28

Hello , it is very hard to reach you! Kisses , but if you love Italian please call


Jun 10

Great post - looks like a wonderful place. Thank you for sharing. Love your cute little shorts. 😉


Jun 09

Beautiful sites


Jun 07

Great I feel like I already been there jk lol 😝


Jun 07

Like everything good

Jun 07
Replying to

Of course you do we know what you liking the most lol

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