When Costa Rica celebrates its national holiday Juan Santamaria Day on April 11, it will be to remember defining moments in the nation’s history that took place in and near our province of Guanacaste.
On this day in 1856, a drummer boy in Costa Rica’s national army gave his life in a heroic act in a decisive battle that ensured Costa Rica remained a free country. Costa Rica celebrates Juan Santamaria’s courage and the country’s freedom and national pride with parades and events all over the country on this day, especially in Alajuela, where Santamaria lived. Costa Rica’s main airport by San Jose is named after the hero – the Juan Santamaria International Airport.
Only 18 years after Costa Rica finally became a completely independent state from the Central America Republic (1838), after gaining independence from Spain in 1821, the tiny nation was being threatened by a mercenary army led by U.S. filibuster, William Walker.
When civil war broke out in Nicaragua in 1854, filibuster William Walker, from Tennessee, U.S., took advantage of the political instability to take over the government of Nicaragua and attempt to conquer the other nations in Central America. Costa Rican president Juan Rafael Mora Porras called upon the general population to take up arms and march north to Nicaragua to fight. Juan Santamaría (August 29, 1831 – April 11, 1856), a poor laborer from Alajuela, joined the army as a drummer boy.
After successfully beating a small group of Walker’s soldiers at Santa Rosa, Guanacaste, the Costa Rican troops chased them north to the city of Rivas, Nicaragua, near the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border. The battle that began on April 8, 1856 is the Second Battle of Rivas. Fighting was fierce and the situation did not look good for the Costa Rican soldiers. They couldn’t flush Walker’s men out of a hostel near the town center from which they commanded an advantageous firing position.
According to historic accounts, on April 11, Salvadoran General José María Cañas asked that a soldier go set the hostel on fire to drive Walker’s men out. Some soldiers tried and failed; then Santamaría volunteered. He advanced with his torch, and although he was mortally wounded by enemy fire, he succeeded in setting fire to the hostel before dying. The enemy was defeated, and April 11 became a Costa Rica national holiday to commemorate Santamaría’s death and remember the major turning point for freedom.
What happened to William Walker? He ruled Nicaragua until 1857, when he was defeated by a coalition of Central American armies. He eventually was executed by the government of Honduras in 1860.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, an award-winning hotel in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is close to the Santa Rosa National Park and Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The adventure park at Hacienda Guachipelin offers the best Costa Rica adventure tours and an authentic Guanacaste, Costa Rica cultural experience on their working horse and cattle ranch.
Article by Shannon Farley
One of the things most talked about by visitors to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, at Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Costa Rica, are the hot springs. Beautiful and relaxing, the natural hot springs at the adventure eco-hotel flow from the largest volcano in northwest Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
“We enjoyed the hot springs, hiked to the waterfalls and were impressed by the surrounding nature,” wrote one guest on Hacienda Guachipelin’s TripAdvisor page. “We also visited the hot springs one morning – the hot springs were wonderful – we sat in pools on both sides of the river,” commented another guest.
Sitting on the Pacific Ring of Fire – infamous for its profuse volcanic activity – Costa Rica has more than 200 volcanic formations. In Costa Rica’s northern Guanacaste plains, the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano is a massive 600,000-year-old geological wonder bridging the Continental Divide with nine volcanic cones. In and around the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, there are fumaroles, steam vents, bubbling volcanic mud pits, thermal springs and waterfalls.
Located very near the Las Pailas entrance to the national park, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin has developed the hot springs at Rio Negro (“Black River”) with pools, trails, changing rooms, restrooms and lockers. The eco-hotel offers tours to the hot springs either by a fun horseback ride or by vehicle. Entrance is complimentary for hotel guests, or costs $15 for day visitors.
Surrounded by unique tropical dry forest, Rio Negro flows through seven man-made pools filled with steaming mineral-rich volcanic waters. Heated volcanic mud is available to smooth over your body like a spa “masque,” and after it dries, wash it off with cold river water before jumping back in the hot pools.
Only 13 miles from Liberia, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste. The adventure park at Hacienda Guachipelin offers the best adventure tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Article by Shannon Farley
A legend lives at Hacienda Guachipelin. For more than 50 years, Justo Pastor Sanchez Castillo – known affectionately to all at Hacienda Guachipelin as “Don Justo” – has made magic with his music on the marimba. He is a living legend playing a folkloric instrument that is fading into history.
You can’t visit Guanacaste, Costa Rica without listening at least once to the distinct resonant sounds of a traditional marimba. Considered a symbol of culture and tradition, especially in the province of Guanacaste, the marimba was declared the national musical instrument of Costa Rica by President José María Figueres in 1996.
The marimba is a percussion instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars, arranged like those of a piano, which when struck with mallets produce musical tones. Resonators (tubes, usually of aluminum) that hang below the bars amplify their sound with vibration.
In Central America and Mexico, a hole is often carved into the bottom of each resonator and then covered with a delicate membrane made with pig intestine to add a characteristic “buzzing” or “rattling” sound known as charleo. Marimba players often simultaneously use between two and four mallets in each hand, and often play with one or two other persons for more complicated songs.
The marimba was developed in Guatemala centuries ago, based on a type of xylophone from African slaves; the marimba is also the official national instrument of Guatemala. The historical musical instrument was brought to Costa Rica from Guatemala in colonial times by Franciscan priests, and spread in the region of Guanacaste and the Central Valley. In Costa Rica, marimba music is synonymous with Guanacaste.
You can listen to colorful marimba music every night at award-winning eco-hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Don Justo plays his legendary songs in the hotel’s bar and restaurant to entertain guests every night, like he has been doing for the past eight years.
“Our guests love listening to the traditional music of Guanacaste,” agreed the Hacienda Guachipelin reception staff.
At the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste. The eco-tourism hotel is a working horse and cattle ranch and has some of the best adventure tours in Costa Rica. Hacienda Guachipelin received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014.
Article by Shannon Farley
Up coming for the week of January 15th we have lots of festivities in Santa Cruz, typical Costa Rican rural town, where people gather to celebrate with typical music, folkloric dancing and bullfighting to honor the Black Christ of Esquipulas. Since 1926 it’s celebrated in commemoration of their catholic religion when Christ suffered before being crucified.
In the corners of the main streets of Santa Cruz marimbas are located to brighten the atmosphere; while the bullfights are held where many people come to a roundabout on the main square to challenge the bulls.
During the week they also celebrate the famous horsemen activity “tope” where hundreds of people from all over the country come with their horses and typical costumes to the main streets of the city and parade. During this activity many tourists rent horses and participate in the festival.
Dancing in the park to the sound of marimba music is another traditional activity, among local meals prepared as part of the celebration including the “rosquillas”, sweet “tamal” and coyol wine.
Santa Cruz is a beautiful town filled with friendly and openhearted people who are always open to help tourists when needed. The town is also close to some of the most popular beaches in Costa Rica, which they have buses travelling back and forth almost each hour.
Between the last week of February and early March the “Fiestas Cívicas” of Liberia are held where folklore and traditions are celebrated with music, rides and concerts throughout Liberia.
The city of Liberia is located on the plains of the province of Guanacaste. It has a warm but dry climate characteristic of the area. Its name comes from the Latin “liber” meaning free and independent.
At just 13 miles away from Liberia and 72 from Santa Cruz, in the surroundings of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Now for these celebration dates, you can also enjoy great Costa Rica travel deals at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin and enjoy Guanacaste’s festivities.
Costa Rica’s love for “fiesta” is contagious; taste the food, make friends, enjoy traditions and party with the ticos are musts you can’t miss during these dates in Guanacaste, activities you can enjoy at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.
By Maria Laura Charles
In the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, just 13 miles from Liberia, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste. The eco-tourism hotel is a working horse and cattle ranch, and received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014.
“I love the typical authentic flavor of this traditional Costa Rican hacienda located at the active volcano and national park of Rincon de la Vieja,” commented Daniel Chavarria, founder of Enchanting Hotels Costa Rica.
The spacious new Superior rooms have beautiful views, and are located near the stables from where the horse tours depart. Ten new rooms are equipped with two queen beds or one king-size bed, Wi-Fi, TV, phone, safe box, fan and air-conditioning. Two of the rooms are specially equipped for disabled travelers.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin offers 64 comfortable ranch-style rooms and suites, well-appointed with traditional wood furniture. All rooms have views of the volcano and the Hacienda. Wide and inviting verandas welcome you to relax and meet fellow travelers. A grand breakfast buffet and entrance to the hotel’s natural volcanic hot springs are complimentary for all guests at Hacienda Guachipelin.
The adventure park at Hacienda Guachipelin offers the best things to do in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, including horseback riding, hiking in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, river tubing, natural hot springs and volcanic mud baths, waterfall rappelling, hikes to waterfalls, and the very unique Canyon Canopy Tour. Try the One Day Pass to get the most out of Hacienda Guachipelin’s Costa Rica adventure tours.
Article by Shannon Farley
In Alaska, Mt. Pavlof volcano has been erupting since Nov. 12 sending ash clouds spewing 30,000 feet above sea level. In Hawaii, the lava flow from Kilauea Volcano advances slowly across the Big Island, continuing its 31 years of near-continuous eruptions and now threatening towns.
Costa Rica also has had its share of volcanoes in the news. Costa Rica may be a small country but it has numerous active volcanoes steaming down the center. There are 10 major volcanoes; among the most active are Poás, Turrialba, Arenal, Rincon de la Vieja, and Irazú volcanoes.
The sudden eruption of Turrialba Volcano on Oct. 29 was the largest in 150 years, according to the National Seismological Network (RSN). The massive phreatic explosion spewed out ash and rocks from the 3,340-meter-high volcano, the easternmost of Costa Rica’s active volcanoes. Farmland covering the volcano’s flanks has been greatly affected.
Poás Volcano also erupted strongly, on Oct. 14, ejecting mud and water from its green acid crater lake more than 200 meters into the air to the observation platform. Rising above the city of Alajuela, northwest of the capital city of San José, Poás is one the most visited volcanoes in Costa Rica.
Irazú Volcano is located immediately east of San José and opposite Turrialba Volcano. At 3,432 meters, Irazú is Costa Rica’s highest volcano. Arenal Volcano is one of the major tourist attractions in Costa Rica. Since a major eruption in 1968 brought it to life, it has had near-continuous activity.
The largest and most active volcano in the Guanacaste Range in northwest Costa Rica is Rincón de la Vieja. At 15 kilometers wide, the approximately 9,000-year-old caldera, is sometimes called the “Colossus of Guanacaste” and contains at least nine major eruptive centers. Rincón de la Vieja also recently increased activity, with phreatic explosions occurring from the main crater since Sept. 17. Its last magmatic eruption was in 1995.
You are ideally located to visit Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best Guanacaste hotels and received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014. The hotel offers Costa Rica adventure tours and hosts the annual North Face Endurance Challenge and the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge adventure races.
Article by Shannon Farley
El duatlón es un deporte que reúne dos disciplinas deportivas como lo son el atletismo y el ciclismo. Esta es una modalidad del triatlón en la que se corre a pie, se practica ciclismo y se vuelve a correr a pie. En duatlón, el evento de mayor exigencia física se conoce como el “Powerman” (10 km de carrera a pie, 150 km de ciclismo y otros 30 km de carrera a pie), semejante a la mundialmente conocida carrera “Ironman” en el triatlón. El duatlón se disputa tanto en carretera como en montaña.
Este domingo 2 de noviembre se llevará a cabo la primera edición de la competencia de duatlón llamada “Pearl Izumi EcoGreen Train Run + Bike”, en senderos privados del parque nacional Rincón de la Vieja. Las instalaciones del Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin serán la sede de este espectacular evento en modalidad competitiva y recreativa por los caminos no asfaltados de la propiedad.
Con salida a las 7:00 am y a las 8:00 am del Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, se correrán las dos modalidades competitivas y recreativas. Con el formato 10/20/5 , los participantes competirán corriendo los primeros 10 kilómetros por los senderos 100% privados de la Hacienda, luego deberán montarse en sus bicicletas de montañas para recorrer 20 kilómetros de total aventura y exigencia física, para terminar con una vibrante competencia corriendo 5 kilómetros para llegar a la meta.
Las personas que deseen inscribirse en la modalidad recreativa disfrutarán de la exuberante flora y fauna del lugar, además de espectaculares vistas del volcán Rincon de la Vieja en modalidad 5/10. La ruta está diseñada de la siguiente manera: 5 kilómetros de carrera en campo traviesa y los últimos 10 kilómetros de exigente ritmo de pedaleo en bicicleta, siempre previendo que pueda ser una actividad recreativa para toda la familia.
Puede ver el mapa de recorrido para las dos modalidades en el siguiente enlace: http://costaricaecogreen.com/
Las inscripciones están abiertas desde el pasado jueves 9 de octubre y se mantendrán así hasta el próximo domingo 26 de octubre. El cupo es limitado y los precios de la inscripción empiezan desde los $35. La actividad está diseñada para el disfrute de todas las personas por lo que se han abierto 4 categorías: mayor, master A, master B y master C con rango de edad entre los 18 años en adelante.
Cada competidor en las dos diferentes modalidades recibirá camisa especial del evento para correr, número de competidor, cronometraje, póliza del INS, asistencia médica, equipo de rescate, fotografías, calcomanía oficial del evento, puestos de hidratación y medallas para los finalistas y premiación para los primeros puestos. Puede visitar la página oficial en Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Trail-Run-Bike/1566727173548505 y el sitio web del mismo www.costaricaecogreen.com
El Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin ofrece hospedaje para el evento, en uno de los hoteles más auténticos de la zona de Guanacaste, un lugar lleno de aventura, deliciosa comida, relajación en el corazón de una hacienda aún en funcionamiento. Puede ver las promociones especiales de temporada, con los cuales puede hacer que este evento se convierta en sus vacaciones inesperadas antes de fin de año. Para ver las promociones seguir este enlace: http://guachipelin.com/es/especial-de-temporada.html
Esperamos verlos a todos compitiendo y divirtiéndose de esta edición de la carrera “Pearl Izumi EcoGreen Train Run + Bike 2014”. Los esperamos.
Por: Danny Solano.
The Rincon de la Vieja Challenge 100-mile mountain bike race at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica is now the first international chapter of the National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE).
The NUE is a series of twelve 100-mile mountain bike races across the United States. Winner of the 2014 NUE series, Brenda Simril of Tennessee, also took first place in the Open Category for Women in the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge 2014 that was staged at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.
Called by pro mountain bikers the “most extreme 100-miler in the world,” the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge started in 2013 with 140 racers, and rose to 270 in 2014. Most were Costa Rican competitors. Villa says they are projecting up to 400 or 500 participants for 2015, with many more international racers.
“There are no 100-mile races south of the United States. We are the first 100-mile race in Latin America,” commented JuanCarlos Villa, founder and organizer of the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge. “I’m really excited about making the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge part of the NUE series. Traveling to participate in Rincon will be as easy and cost-similar to traveling from one state to another to participate in an NUE 100-miler. The nice thing is that participants will have a chance to do other activities and experiences, turning the trip into a race-vacation.”
“We’re a tough race and we’re really well organized,” said Villa, who was inspired from a training ride around the active volcano to create the race. “Costa Rica ranks high for mountain biking in Latin America because of the well-developed tourism infrastructure, good security and excellent topography.”
The only race to circumnavigate an active volcano, the unique competition goes around the massive Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, taking riders through five microclimates from the dry plains of Guanacaste up over the Continental Divide to lush cloud forests and back again. With roughly 12,000 feet of climbing over the 100-miles (160 km), on gravel roads, red clay tracks, river and volcanic rock trails, smooth white ash roads and “dog’s teeth” calcite rock trails, racers are pushed to the limits physically and mentally.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin has hosted the Rincon de la Vieja Challenge the past two years, and will again be the race headquarters on Aug. 22, 2015. The adventure and ecotourism lodge also staged the international North Face Endurance Challenge in 2013 and 2014 at Rincón de la Vieja.
Article by Shannon Farley
September in Costa Rica is a month full of colorful celebrations, commemorating the country’s Independence Day on Sept. 15. For the Mes de la Patria, or “Month of the Nation,” buildings, businesses and even cars are festooned with blue, white and red Costa Rican flags, streamers and decorations.
Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are all celebrating 193 years of independence from Spain this month. On Sept. 15, 1821, a Central American congress signed “The Act of Independence,” which asserted they were free of the Spanish Empire.
Unlike other independence declarations in the Americas, the Central American states did not have to fight for their liberation. Spain, exhausted by the war with Napoleon Bonaparte and other Latin American wars, actually supported Central American independence because the region had become a burden for the empire.
Although Sept. 15 is the day when independence was declared, news of Costa Rica’s new freedom did not reach the territory until almost a month later on Oct. 13, because a messenger had to travel on horseback from Guatemala. Costa Rica finally became a completely independent state in 1838, when it separated from the Central American republic.
Flags from all five Central American countries are hanging at the presidential offices of Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solís through the end of September.
Festivities will really get going this weekend all over the country with festivals, parades, lantern ceremonies, traditional music and dancing. Monday, Sept. 15, is a national holiday and businesses, banks and government institutions will be closed.
Liberia, the capital city of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, traditionally celebrates Independence Day with huge events.
On Sunday, Sept. 14, the patriotic party begins at precisely 6:00 p.m. with the Costa Rica National Anthem broadcast nationally on TV and radio. Following the anthem is the traditional nighttime lantern parade (Desfiles de Faroles) reenacting the “freedom torch” that notified Costa Rica of its freedom. Children carrying colorful homemade paper lanterns in the shape of little houses and other objects will parade with their families in town squares. There are usually typical dances and fireworks.
Monday morning, Sept. 15, school bands march through the town streets playing drums, lyres and other instruments. Dancers wearing traditional costumes move to the beat. Traditional foods are usually sold by street vendors. The celebrations are well-attended by families and are a lot of fun.
Just 13 miles from Liberia, in the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is one of the best places to stay in Guanacaste. The adventure eco-tourism hotel is also a working horse and cattle ranch, and received the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2014. Now in green season, you can enjoy great Costa Rica travel deals at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.
Article by Shannon Farley
Four major waterfalls flow at Rincon de la Vieja by Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, and all of them have pools where you can swim in refreshing, pure water. Getting there is an adventure – either by hiking or horseback riding. Almost all waterfall tours from the Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Center last two to three hours, and are available between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Located near the Las Pailas entrance to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, the Oropéndola Waterfall plunges an impressive 82 feet (25 meters) in a beautiful canyon of the Rio Blanco (White River). The sparkling turquoise pool below makes for a refreshing swim.
How to get there: A 45-minute each-way horseback ride on a scenic trail, and short walk to the waterfall; or a 1.5 hour each-way scenic hike; or a 15-minute drive and short walk.
Two waterfalls cascade into a beautiful sky blue mineral water pool in this amphitheater canyon at Chorreras Waterfall. It is an excellent place for a cooling swim, or just to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
How to get there: A 25-minute each-way horseback ride on a scenic trail, and short walk to the waterfall; or a 45-minute each-way scenic hike on the same trail.
The 115-foot (35-meter) Victoria Waterfall on the Rio Negro (Black River) is where the river tubing trips start their adventure downriver. The surrounding canyon has unique vegetation and topography, and you can swim in the pool at the waterfall’s base.
How to get there: A 45-minute each-way horseback ride on a scenic trail, and a short, steep descent to the waterfall; or a one hour each-way scenic hike on the same trail.
The Cangreja Waterfall is located inside the Rincon de la Vieja National Park forest. Spilling 130 feet (40 meters) in a white ribbon of water out of the green forest, the waterfall forms a celestial blue pool at its base; its color comes from dissolved copper minerals from the volcano. The only way to get to this waterfall is by hiking 3 miles (5 km) into the national park; along the trail you might see wildlife like white-faced or howler monkeys, coatis, armadillos, Central American agoutis, iguanas, and birds like the Blue-crowned Motmot or the Emerald Toucanet.
How to get there: 15-minute drive to the national park entrance and then hiking.
One of the best times to visit Rincon de la Vieja is now in the green season (May to November) when the active volcano’s fumaroles and boiling mud pots are most active. The hiking is fantastic and Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin has the best Costa Rica adventure tours. Afterward, you can enjoy a warm volcanic mud bath and soak in Hacienda Guachipelin’s natural hot springs.
In green season, you can enjoy great Costa Rica travel deals at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014 winner.
Article by Shannon Farley