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  • Photos of Rincon de la Vieja
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Rincon de la Vieja
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How to get there?
From San Jose, take the North Pan-American Highway (route #1) for about 217 km until you get to the city of Liberia. Continue on the same route for 5 km more and then take the exit that goes northwest. This is a gravel road that is 20 km long.

This zone is part of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park. Its more than 14.160 hectares are protected and managed by the Guanacaste Conservation Area. This park has 9 eruptive spots that are aligned in a northwest-southeast direction.

It is frequently visited by local and international tourists throughout the year, during the rainy and dry seasons. In clear weather you can climb to the top of the volcano and appreciate the amazing panoramic view of the Lake of Nicaragua, the Gulf of Santa Elena and the Culebra Bay.

During rainy season you can see the fumaroles and the small mud volcanoes in the peak of their activity; although, they may dry up during dry season due to the lack of water that comes from the hot springs.

Among its volcanic cones theres an old crater that is very eroded and is located towards the east. Another crater is the Von Seebach crater (1.894 m), next to the Cerro Braun. The active crater has a diameter of 700 meters and releases gases and water vapor.

This active crater is located in the north section and has been studied in the past. Its eruptions have been documented since the XVIII century. This past decade the crater has only released vapor and gases as evidence of its activity.

Due to the hazards that may cause a permanent exposure to the sulfuric gases and swirling winds, you should not stay in the crater for more than 15 minutes because you can lose consciousness.

Theres also the inactive crater Rincon de la Vieja, which is covered by vegetation and has an intermittent lagoon in the bottom, like the Santa Maria crater, with a 2.5-hectare lagoon. This crater is located in the southeast section of the park, which is isolated and surrounded by a dense evergreen forest, home to some large mammals.

These volcanic formations create a natural line that divides the basins of the Pacific and Atlantic regions of the country. About 32 rivers begin their flow from this place, some of which supply the city of Liberia, and others flow into the Rio Tempisque, a very important river.

In the south section of the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, known as Santa Maria, you will find Las Pailas and Las Hornillas, which extend for 50 hectares. Here you can see small mud volcanoes that are constantly bubbling and also vapor streams.

There are other inactive volcanic cones in the park and in the Jilgueros Lagoon. It has cold water and an extension of 6.5 hectares. It was named after the goldfinches that live in the surrounding forests.

This zone has many waterfalls, each one of a unique beauty. Theres a seasonal waterfall with rocky formations that creates a scenery youll never forget. La Cangreja waterfall is 40 meters high and has a dark blue-colored pond in the bottom.

You can also visit La Oropendola waterfall, which is turquoise colored and falls down 25 meters. Another interesting site is a double waterfall, Las Chorreras, that also forms a pond along with the Rio Blanco, perfect for relaxing and having fun.

Theres also La Victoria waterfall, which is 35 meters high and can be accessed through a trail where you must climb in some parts. It is ideal for adventure lovers.

In one trail that goes to the Rincon de la Vieja you will find the Cataratas Escondidas (Hidden Waterfalls), which is a set of 4 waterfalls that range in height from 60 m to 70 m. This trail is very steep so you must be in good shape to go over it.

The park has many trails that allow its visitors to observe and get to know really well the wonders of this zone. From here you can access the volcanic cones, hot springs and the waterfalls, where you will find a great biodiversity of flora and fauna.

You will find viewpoints from where you can fully appreciate the charming sceneries of this region, making this place perfect for all those who love nature. This park is home to the beautiful Guaria Morada (Purple Orchid), the national flower of Costa Rica.

Accommodations and gastronomy
Inside the park you can camp in groups of 20 or 30 people. There are restrooms, showers and lunch areas.

There are also some hotels that have gyms and also arrange tours to the most interesting destinations of the zone. Some places have spas and rooms for special events, like weddings.

Some estate farms offer travel packages where you can enjoy extreme sports in their private properties, such as rappelling and canyoning. They also have hot springs, mud puddles, rooms and restaurants, where they prepare typical Costa Rican meals and international dishes in a buffet or a la carte, as well as snacks and appetizers.

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