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General information


It is located on the north area from Costa Rica, in the Guanacaste Mountain Chain, in the provinces of Guanacaste and Alajuela, at 15km from Bagaces and about 220km from San Jose.
Conservation Area:
Arenal Tempisque Conservational Area (ACAT)
11670 hectares
When to go?

Dry season: December to July

Conatct information
(00506) 2671-1455 2671-1290 2671-1062
Regional Office:
(506) 2671-1290 (506) 2671-2250
(506) 2695-5180 / 2695-5908
Send mail
Web Page:
Visit Wen Page
¢no se cobra entrada / free entrance
¢no se cobra entrada / free entrance
$no se cobra entrada / free entrance
$no se cobra entrada / free entrance
Camping permissions:
General information
The Miravalles Protector Zone gathers on its territory outstanding volcanic manifestations as well as dense forests with flora and fauna diversity.

The Miravalles Protector Zone has wet, very wet and cloud forests as well as the Miravalles Volcano. Also you can find the following life zones: very wet tropical forest, pre-mountain very wet forest, pre-mountain rain forest and low mountain rain forest. Also it has 3 micro-weathers well defined: moor, wet tropical forest and dry forest.
The Miravalles Volcano is a stratovolcano (conical volcano of great size) with an altitude of 2028m, being this tallest point from the Guanacaste Volcanic Mountain Chain. Its crater is semi-destroyed and inactive, nevertheless, in the Hornillas sector (southwest) and Guayabo sector (west side) you can find frozen lava coming from the volcano. Besides, on the Hornillas sector you can enjoy from different hydrothermal manifestations (hot springs, fumaroles or geysers).
On its surroundings there are popular cones like La Giganta of 1490m high, Espiritu Santo with 979m and Gota Fria with 1082m
It is one of the few places from the world in which you can walk in a safety way over a volcanic cone. There are 2 trails that leads to the top of the volcano (one part is made on a horse).
Around the Miravalles Volcano is located a plant that uses geothermic energy to produce electricity, this is the Miravalles Geothermic Project. This project is directed by the Electricity National Institute (ICE).
In here have been found the oldest pre-Hispanic remains from Costa Rica.

On the top of the hills the temperature varies from 6 °C to 9 °C
The annual precipitation level on the Bagaces hills varies from 1500mm to 2500mm with an average temperature of 29 °C.

The Miravalles Protector Zone protects flora species like the oak, pilon, campano and maria. Also, plants like meliceaes and laurels. It has a wet and very wet forest covering the edges of the Miravalles Volcano.

It is a shelter for wild cat species such as the margay, ocelot, puma and jaguar. There are also species like deer, coyote, paca, red brocket deer, collared peccary, howler monkeys and white faced capuchin. Also it has over 130 bird species.
Facilities and services that the park offers
It doesn’t has services for the public, but there are touristic centers that offer facilities

Services and facilities on the Park
Inside the Park:
Natural trails
Swim in the natural pools
Admire fumaroles, hornillas and water pools
Therapeutic volcanic mud
Visit the Hornillas Geothermic energy Plant
Horse ride across the territory
Visit the waterfalls (private property accessible by one trail)
Hanging bridges (private property)

Outside the Park
Visit the Tenorio Volcano National Park
Visit the Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Rafting in the Tenorio River

  • Recomendations
  • Interesting data
Tips para el viajero
Access recommendations:
There isn’t an official schedule
Free entrance

General recommendations inside the Park:
There aren’t facilities or park rangers

Clothes and equipment recommendations:
Bring comfortable shoes and clothes for fresh weather in the hills and warm on the sides (extra clothes)
Bring cloth and swimming suit
Bring camera, binoculars and sun glasses
Bring repellent and raincoat

Lodge recommendations:
There are lodge options in the nearby areas from the Protect Zone

Walks recommendations:
Caution: for observing the water pools, fumaroles and hornillas without burn

Responsible tourist recommendation:
Do not leave the trails for avoiding the soil erosion
Prohibit disturbing or removing flora or fauna
Prohibit feed the animals
Prohibit throwing garbage

Fauna recommendation:
Despite of the biodiversity, some animals are rare to see because of their night, reproductive and migratory habits

Datos interesantes
Datos interesantes:


In this sector is possible to watch hornillas, water pools, fumaroles and crystallized sulfur.

1. Hornillas

These are mud pools that contain water at temperatures of 80ºC, 100ºC and 200ºC. The mud is odorless and it has 3 different colors: grey, brown and yellow. These colors indicate the deep in which the mud is located: the brown mud at 2m, the grey mud at 1m and the yellow mud is on the surface and is full of sulfur.

It is possible to chose among one of the different clay types and rub it to your body, but first it needs to cool after taking out from the pool (10 to 15 minutes). This humidifies and refreshes the skin.

2. Water pools

These are pools of hot springs with a green emerald color with a deepness of 2m and temperature of 100ºC that may decrease due to the rains. There are two different water types, the water with iron and the water with sulfur.

The touristic centers located on the nearby areas from the Miravalles Volcano use this hot water to fill their pools and showers.

3. Fumaroles

The fumaroles are openings from which escapes a mix of vapor and other volcanic gases. One of the gases that fumaroles normally leak is the Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) that generates a chemical reaction.

They can be presented as small openings or even cover fields (“bunch” openings). They are also found in lava surfaces and in the pyroclastic flow deposits. They are feed by drainages, reason why they can last for weeks, decades or centuries.
1. Natural trail to the top of the Miravalles Volcano: The tour (by horse) allows appreciating a rural and colorful town, it passes by a farm with pastures that is where the ascent begins up to the top where you can find the viewpoint. This part of the trial has an approximately duration of 2 hours.

The trail continues through the primary forests from which you can appreciate the flora and fauna diversity. When arriving to the top, the forest becomes low and the temperature decreases. As from the top it is possible to enjoy the panoramic view of the Papagayo Gulf and the Nicaraguan Lake.

2. Natural trail passing by Las Hornilllas: In this tour is possible to find hornillas, water pools, fumaroles and crystallized sulfur. This trail is located near the Miravalles Geothermic Project.

Miravalles eruption

The only data of an eruption in the Miravalles Volcano was filed in 1946. In this one, some geothermic fluids in the subsoil (vapor) caused a small explosion in the southwest side of the volcano.

como llegar?
How to get there?
By bus:
Transnorte Upala Transport (San Jose, 12th Street, 7-9 Avenue)
Web page: http://www.transnortecr.com/
Phone: (00506)2695-5611 / 2256-0105
The Upala bus services will allow you to enter the Protector Zone by both stations (Atlantic and Pacific).
You can get off at Aguas Claras (Pacific) or in Bijagua from Upala (Atlantic) and from there hire a taxi that drives you to the Protector Zone.

Drive as from San Jose in north direction by the #1 Route passing by Cañas, then take the diversion to the north in Bagaces and continue to Salitral, Guayabo and La Union until arrive to the Miravalles Protector Zone.

Other kind of transportation


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