KLM Royal Dutch Airlines KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
 

Action in the jungle

In the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, you can hike, swim in natural hot springs, picnic and camp. The park features a variety of ecosystems around nine craters and 32 rivers with spectacular waterfalls during the rainy season. The diversity of flora and fauna is amazing: look up and chances are you’ll see toucans, sloths and monkeys in the treetops.

The park is located only 25 kilometres north of Liberia, the provincial capital of Guanacaste, yet it feels as if the civilised world is far, far away. On many of the hiking trails, you may not encounter another soul. The park has two entrances: Las Pailas and Santa Maria. Las Pailas is easiest to reach, while the road to Santa Maria is largely unpaved and requires a four-wheel drive. Those interested in hiking the longer trails should start early in the morning.

The waterfalls are at their most amazing during the rainy season
The waterfalls are at their most amazing during the rainy season

Liberia-Guanacaste

A volcanic mud pool

A volcanic rainforest

There are seven marked hiking trails in the park that vary in terms of terrain, length and level of difficulty. One of the most spectacular trails is the Sendero de las Cataratas — ‘waterfall trail’ — that covers around 18 kilometres and takes you along various waterfalls. Plan to spend the entire day hiking. Along the path, you encounter a wide range of bird species, such as hummingbirds, toucans, peacocks and parrots. Of the mammals that live in the park, monkeys are the easiest to spot but, with a little luck, you may also get to see wild boar, coatis (similar to a raccoon, only with a long snout), skunks, sloths, anteaters and armadillos.

Although the trail to the crater of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano is often closed due to the risk of eruption, it is clear that this is an active volcanic area: many trails take you past hissing fumaroles and bubbling mud pools. A nice added touch is that, in many cases, after a long hike, you can bathe in a soothing hot spring or cool off in a refreshing river.
Action in the jungle

Water ballet

You can also admire the natural wealth of the park while floating in a large inner tube, like five kilometres of rapids in the Rio Negro, a fast-flowing river. This Rio Negro Tubing Adventure is supervised by guides and takes you on a number of spectacular rapids (class 2 and 3). In the calmer parts of the river, there is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the beautiful surroundings and sounds of the rainforest. The tours depart from Hacienda Guachipelín and ‘adventurers’ are transported to the starting point of the rapids by horse.
Rio Negro Tubing Adventure