Located in the North Pacific region of Costa Rica, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park is named after its main attraction, a large steaming volcano. Intriguing, natural features like craters, vapor vents, bubbling mud pits and hot springs as well as an extraordinary amount of plant and wildlife make this national park a popular destination.
Surrounding the volcano are numerous acres of hiking trails leading through wooded greenery and cloud forest to reveal spectacular scenes like stunning waterfalls, volcanic craters, mud cauldrons and plains riddled with purple orchids. The most popular trail, Las Pailas, is a short circuit trail ideal for all experience levels and leads to steaming fumaroles and boiling mud pots. Another trail, the Sendero Cangreja, brings hikers to the park’s most acclaimed cascades, the Hidden Waterfalls, which tumble into lovely lagoons and natural swimming pools. More experienced hikers looking for more of a challenge can take on the eight-hour roundtrip trek to the crater at the volcano’s summit.
In addition to hiking, park visitors can enjoy other activities like camping, canopy tours, horseback riding, whitewater tubing, soaking in hot springs and spotting some of the many wildlife species that include parrots, toucans, two-toed sloths and howler monkeys. Another experience that may appeal to some is the opportunity to stay at one of the park’s several working cattle ranches where they can participate in daily chores such as herding cattle and tending to horses. Most visitors access the national park by rental cars, taxis and buses from the nearby town of Liberia.