As one of the best day trips in Guanacaste, Rincon de la Vieja National Park belongs on every travel itinerary. If you are thinking about visiting this ecologically diverse conservation area during your vacation in Costa Rica, we’ll help you get the most out of your visit with our complete guide to this must-see attraction.
About Rincon de la Vieja Costa Rica
Situated in the north-western part of Costa Rica on the Cordillera de Guanacaste, Rincon de la Vieja is a National Park that stretches some 34,000 acres (140 km2) between the Caribbean and Pacific Oceans. Home to the famous Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, over 30 rivers and lakes, five impressive waterfalls, hot springs, mud pools, and more hiking trails than you could ever hike in one vacation, it has something to offer everyone. And it is one of the only places in the world where you can explore lush rainforests and tropical dry forests in a single day.
How To Get To Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Rincon de la Vieja Parque Nacional is just 15 miles from Liberia, making it easily accessible by car. The best way to visit the Rincon de la Vieja waterfall and volcano is on a day trip from Guanacaste. These tours include transport, an English speaking driver/guide to show you highlights along the way, all entry fees, and a detailed map of Rincon de la Vieja national park to help you navigate its varied eco-systems.
You can stop at the Oropendola Waterfall in Guanacaste on your way to Rincon de la Vieja, and enjoy a traditional ‘El Casado’ lunch and Costa Rican coffee at The Hacienda Guachipelin.
Best Time Of Year To Visit Rincon de la Vieja
Due to its diverse climates, you can visit Parque Nacional Rincon de la Vieja at any time of the year, but you will experience different weather patterns on each side of the park. The dry season on the Pacific coast runs from December to April, on the Caribbean coast from February to April, with September and October being the best months to see and hike Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
Top Attractions Rincon de la Vieja National Park
There is so much to see and do in Rincon de la Vieja Park that you need at least one full day to experience some of the many activities and attractions on offer.
From the Santa Maria Ranger Station, you can go hiking, horseback riding in Costa Rica, or explore the lush rainforest on the Caribbean slopes of the national park. There are some fabulous hiking trails here, such as the Hummingbird Trail that will take you to the Encantado (Enchanted) Forest Waterfall, Las Pailas de Agua Fria (cold springs), and Sendero Agua Termales (hot springs).
If you choose to depart from the more popular Las Pailas Sector, you can take the Mud Pots Trail and visit La Cangreja Waterfall with its beautiful blue lagoon. You can also, subject to volcanic activity, take the Active Crater Trail to the top of Rincón de la Vieja volcano.
Flora & Fauna of Rincon de la Vieja
As an area rich in biodiversity, Rincon de la Vieja homes some of the most exotic flora and fauna on earth. Amongst its tropical forests, cloud forests, and montane ecosystems, you’ll find rare species such as sloths, tapirs, kinkajous, pumas and jaguars, along with over 300 bird species.
Vibrant Guaria Morada orchids in shades of purple and fuchsia add pops of colour to the verdant green landscape of Rincon de la Vieja while steaming fumaroles and volcanic mud pits give this national park in Costa Rica a magical feel.
Packing List For Rincon de la Vieja Day Trip
To get the most out of your day trip to Rincon de la Vieja National Park, you should prepare for all weather conditions and pack accordingly. Trainers or hiking shoes are essential for rainforest hikes, and you’ll need plenty of sunblock and insect repellent to protect your skin. Wear light clothing that will quickly dry if you get wet, and take a bathing suit and towel so you can take full advantage of the cooling pools at the bottom of the waterfalls.
If you are visiting Costa Rica during the rainy season, pack a poncho or rain gear, and of course, essentials such as your binoculars, smartphone, and camera.
No trip to Costa Rica would be complete without a day trip to Rincon de la Vieja National Park, so why not book yours today!