Discover Guanacaste Mountains

Rincon de la Vieja & Santa Maria Volcanoes



General Information

One of the great benefits of living or vacationing in Guanacaste is the close proximity to the Cordillera de Guanacaste and Cordillera de Tilaran Mountains and all they have to offer! Most people when they visit our spectacular beaches do not realize that Rincon de La Vieja National Park is only 1 hour away. During the dry season the beaches are beautiful and hot with all the great beach activities. However, the mountains offer a nice change of pace with their cooler temperatures and beautiful year round greenery which includes magnificent rainforest trees and vegetation. There are countless adventure opportunities for young and old - much different from those offered in and around the beaches.


The namesake of the province of Guanacaste is the Guanacaste Tree, which is the national tree of Costa Rica. Guanacaste is located on the north west side of Costa Rica which is considered Tropical DryForest. The area experiences little rain and continual heat from November to April, and a wet season from late May to November. It is a hot dry climate during the summer (verano) with the exception being the highland portion of the area which maintains the peaks of the volcanoes in the Cordillera de Guanacaste and Cordillera de Tilaran Mountains. The cool, conditions along these peaks lend to the conditions of a cloud forest. The area offers incredible views of the surrounding countryside ripe with lush dense forests. You will find an abundance of exotic plant and wildlife, many rare and endangered animals and birds live here including jaguars and tapirs. From these mountains flow many rivers that eventually empty into the Nicoya Gulf. The best time to visit Guanacaste is anytime! No matter if you choose the dry season or the wet season, both provide wonderful and inviting differences.

Rincon de La Vieja the closest National Park derived its name from an old legend about a woman living on a slope and the park name refers to an old woman's corner. With about 14,000-hectares (34,500-acres) of parkland where there are four ecosystems and a range of volcanoes, Rincon de la Vieja National Park was established in 1973.  Hiking to the top of the volcano to view the crater was suspended in 2011 when Rincon de la Vieja became active after being dormant for many years.  Since 2011 there have been intermittent eruptions sometimes with volcanic ash and mud spewing from the crater.

Preparation is a key part toward your enjoyment of this area. No matter what time of the year, pack accordingly. Bring a rain jacket, both long and short pants, sneakers, sandals, and hiking boots. Make sure not to forget your camera, binoculars, and batteries.

Nearby Attractions and Activities

Treat yourself to a great change of pace and head out to Hacienda Guachipelin for the day and enjoy everything from zipline canopy tours, horseback riding, river tubing, waterfall climbing, hot springs or hiking. Go a little further north and visit the beautiful Borinquen Resort or Blue River Resort and treat yourself to a day at their beautiful spas. For the really adventurous, go to the south end of Rincon Parkand explore the wonders of Santa Maria Volcano and Hacienda Santa Maria - the one time hunting lodge of former US President Lyndon Johnson. You will be amazed at the amount of history and mystery in this area where the beautiful jaguar still wanders these lush hills searching for the elusive tapir. Howler and white faced monkeys, agoutis, ocelots, white tail deer and many other fabulous birds and beasts abound throughout the National Parks. The bird life is astounding and the entire area is a birdwatcher’s paradise – toucans, montezuma oropendulas, tanagers, hummingbirds and many other species are plentiful.

Or head further south to Costa Rica’s most famous volcano – Volcan Arenal, which is only 2½ hours from the beaches of Playas del Coco, Hermosa, Ocotal and Panama. It is an interesting drive with lots to see on the way, especially Lake Arenal – famous for its world class windsurfing and kite surfing, not to mention freshwater fishing for the delicious rainbow bass. These fresh water fish are exciting to catch and a culinary delight. Stop for lunch at unique towns like Tilaran, Nuevo Arenal or many other interesting places. La Fortuna, the closest town to Arenal, offers a tourist bonanza with everything from quad tours, canopy tours, horseback riding, hiking. From 1968 to 2010, Volcan Arenal offered a magnificent display of mild eruptions. Evenings were most spectacular if you were lucky enough to catch an Arenal fireworks display (eruption)!  The volcano has now been dormant since 2010.

Another great area to explore is Tenorio National Park on the way to Upala which is just 1 ½ hours from the beaches. Close to the town of Bijagua, this area offers beautiful scenery and the wonderful blue waters of the Rio Celeste. Some say these waters have mysterious medicinal benefits. Like the other parks in Guanacaste, Tenorio National Park is not over developed and still has that quaint 1950’s feeling.


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Full services are available in the City of Liberia – restaurants, full scale grocery stores like Wal-Mart, Peri, Super Compro, Maxi Pali plus a myriad of shops, gas stations. Restaurants offer great food, including typical Costa Rican “sodas” and more familiar eateries such as McDonalds, Taco Time, Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut. Services and facilities are limited at the National Parks. There may be, as in the case of Rincon de La Vieja, a small store/restaurant close to the main entrance but these services can be limited at best. Check your guidebook or check with your tour guide regarding other services in the area you are visiting. In most cases, lodges in the area have very good restaurants.

Getting There and Away

One of the easiest ways to get to Guanacaste is to fly into the Liberia International Airport (Guanacaste International Airport). A major reason why tourism has boomed in this region, this airport receives flights from all over the world especially the continental U.S. If you area staying at any of the terrific beaches, check with the hotel concierge for information on the numerous tours available or pick up a map, rent a car and head for the mountains. The adventures await you.

Guanacaste offers many diversified adventures for everyone. Be sure to explore and enjoy all the mountains have to offer. After all, they are only a short drive away from the beach! You will not be disappointed!

Lodges Near the Mountains

The lodges below are located in the vicinity of Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Mention our names upon registration and you may receive a discount!

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Mountain View Eco-Farm
Guayabo, Costa Rica

Casa Solano (Pacifico)
Playas del Coco, Costa Rica

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The price is based on current exchange rates but is only an approximation. Please contact us for a final price