For its 4th year, The North Face Endurance Challenge Costa Rica will be held on Saturday, May 28, 2016 on the slopes of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Hundreds of runners from all over the world will challenge themselves and each other in four endurance trail-running races of 10 km, 21 km, 50 km and 80 km. All races are individual, with no team format.
Demanding trails cover beautiful yet difficult terrain around Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, spanning altitudes between 850 feet and 3,280 feet (260-1,000 meters). There will be aid stations along the routes.
Rincón de la Vieja is one of six active volcanoes in Costa Rica, and is the largest in the northwest province of Guanacaste. The towering ridge-shaped colossus holds several craters, and scrapes the sky at 6,286 feet (1,916m). Surrounding the volcano is Rincón de la Vieja National Park, filled with wild dry tropical forest, rivers, waterfalls and hot springs. The Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and National Park were declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1999.
Organized by The North Face outdoor gear and clothing company in the USA, The North Face Endurance Challenge is North America’s premier ultra-trail running series of endurance races. Launched in 2007, the races test experienced runners in beautiful scenic locations, while promoting a philosophy of minimum impact. Due to its great popularity, the Latin America series formed; and Costa Rica – a big destination for endurance races – held its first North Face Endurance Challenge in 2013.
Runners will start and finish at eco-hotel Hacienda Guachipelin – a major center for adventure tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica: zip lining, mountain biking, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, nature trails, and natural volcanic hot springs. The award-winning hotel next to the Rincón de la Vieja National Park is located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s main city of Liberia, with easy access from the Liberia International Airport.
The newest Costa Rica adventure race – 160K Rincon de la Vieja Mountain Bike Race – happens Aug. 20, 2016 at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. Racers will compete in three distances: 160 km (100 miles), 100 km (62 miles), and 50 km (31 miles) by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
The fourth annual Rincon de la Vieja Challenge extreme mountain bike race also happens at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano and Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, on Sept. 3, 2016. Elite mountain bikers will circumnavigate the active volcano in a 100-mile (160 km) race. The Rincon de la Vieja Challenge is the first international chapter of the National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) of the USA.
Article by Shannon Farley
Anyone can enjoy stargazing. The best places to go, of course, are where the sky is wide open and very dark, with no distracting city lights. Up in the mountains, or in the desert, or out on the open ocean; it is breathtaking to stare upwards at night at millions and millions of twinkling stars and planets in a blue black sky.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica is a superior stargazing location, especially now during Costa Rica summer (December through April). February and March are the best months for clear star-filled night skies.
Costa Rica has been named one of the top places in the world for stargazing by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Astronomy buffs will know that these months during Costa Rica’s dry season offer incredible opportunities to see in cloudless skies the constellations of the Southern Cross, Omega Centauri, the Magellanic Clouds, the Eta Carinae Nebula, and countless other spectacles in the Milky Way.
Stargazers traveling to Costa Rica also get the added bonuses of watching the night sky in a warm tropical climate, and during the day enjoying spectacular natural scenery, abundant wildlife, fun adventure activities and friendly local people.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at the foot of the colossal, active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is one of the best places for stargazing in Guanacaste. There are no city lights near the family-owned hotel, set on a 3,460-acre ranch, to wash out the night sky. The unique surrounding dry tropical forest trees lose their leaves like in northern autumn and winter. These bare-branches open the sky even more to see stars. You can be inspired by an immense sky filled with millions of stars and listen to the symphony of tropical life at night.
Best times for stargazing in Costa Rica: from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m. and again at 4:00 a.m.
More stargazing opportunities: You can view the sky as seen from various cities around the globe at the Your Sky website. Stellarium is a free open source planetarium for your computer that shows a realistic sky in 3D. If you are in San Jose, Costa Rica, visit the San Jose Planetarium at the University of Costa Rica.
For reservations at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, contact the hotel here.
Article by Shannon Farley
The family-owned Hacienda Guachipelin, by the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, raises horses, cattle, pigs, chickens and turkeys, and grows a wide variety of fruit trees as well as vegetables and herbs in gardens and a greenhouse. Most of the fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, milk and dairy products that guests enjoy in the hotel restaurant are produced on the ranch.
You can get up early and watch the ranch hands handle the morning milking of the cows at 6:00 a.m. every day. You can even try your hand at it!
Buckets of the steaming, frothy fresh milk are brought to the hotel restaurant kitchen for processing each morning, and used to make homemade farmer’s cheese, desserts, and even that milk in your coffee or tea.
Learn about ranch activities and see what kind of cowboy or cowgirl you’d be on the Cowboy for a Day Tour at Hacienda Guachipelin.
One of the most popular activities at Hacienda Guachipelin is horseback riding on trusty ranch horses on scenic forest trails to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, waterfalls and natural hot springs. There are six different Costa Rica horseback riding tours offered.
When you are around the hotel, don’t miss seeing the traditional Costa Rican oxcart making its rounds daily at the noon hour by the Adventure Center. Brightly hand-painted wooden carts pulled by a team of oxen are an important tradition in Costa Rica and are named a UNESCO Intangible World Heritage. And you can’t help loving the faithful ranch dogs that seem to befriend everyone.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin
Hacienda Guachipelin is a unique eco-tourism destination in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, spectacularly located at the foot of the active Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Stay overnight in comfortable ranch-style accommodations, or enjoy the best adventure tours in Guanacaste as a day visitor. Located only 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s main city of Liberia, the hotel is easily accessible from the Liberia International Airport.
Article by Shannon Farley
Not only hotel guests get to enjoy Hacienda Guachipelin’s Adventure Park; many day visitors staying in other Guanacaste locations come to the popular eco-adventure hotel for tours.
There are so many fun Costa Rica adventure tours that you may have a hard time trying to choose: zip-lines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, waterfall swimming, natural volcanic hot springs, an archeology tour, and guided hikes in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
That’s why the One Day Adventure Pass is your best bet. With the One Day Adventure Pass, you can fill your day at Rincón de la Vieja with adventures you choose and go at your own pace. An extravagant buffet lunch in Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin’s restaurant is included. The tour prices are incredibly reasonable for all that you get: USD $85 adults (18+ years); USD $80 students (13-17 years); and USD $75 children (4-12 years).
You can do as many or all of these adventure tours as you want on the One Day Adventure Pass. It is possible to do everything if you start between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m. For $20 more per person, you can add the Waterfalls Canyoning Tour to your One Day Adventure Pass.
Canyon Canopy Tour: Get an incredible adrenaline rush on this one-of-a-kind canopy zip line tour in Costa Rica. You will zip line, rappel, rock climb, cross hanging bridges, and ride Tarzan swings in a steep rock canyon over a turbulent river. Tour duration: 2 hours.
Rio Negro Tubing Adventure: Bouncing and splashing down a frothing tropical river is incredible fun. Starting at the foot of a waterfall, you will ride special individual river tube rafts down the rapids of the Rio Negro (Black River). Guides go with you and ensure your safety. To get to the river tour from the Adventure Center, you can choose to go by horseback ride or by vehicle. Tour duration: 2.5 hours (with horseback ride).
Volcanic hot springs at Rio Negro: One of the things most talked about by visitors to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin are the hot springs. Beautiful and relaxing, the natural hot springs at Rio Negro flow from the largest volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica – Rincón de la Vieja. At Rio Negro, there are thermal pools, volcanic mud baths, trails, changing rooms, restrooms and lockers.
Waterfalls Canyoning Tour* (extra charge applies): This is the ultimate adventure tour in Guanacaste. Canyoning involves thrilling rappels down waterfalls, guided rock climbing, and navigating through pools in the river canyon. To get to the tour, you can go by horseback or by vehicle. Tour duration: 2.5 hours.
There is also a One Day Nature Pass if you want a softer day of adventure, focused more on nature, wildlife and the Rincon de la Vieja area’s scenic beauty. This tour package is easily realized in a little over a half-day. The same sumptuous buffet lunch in Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin’s restaurant is included in the One Day Nature Pass. Tour Prices: USD $55 adults (11+ years) and USD $45 children (4-10 years).
- Butterfly Garden, Serpentarium and Frog Habitats
- Walk to a Look-out Point where you can see the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Guanacaste Mountain Range, and the Pacific Coast.
- Visit the waterfalls and natural volcanic hot springs at Rio Negro (transport by vehicle)
Hacienda Guachipelin’s Adventure Center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You should note that tours in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park do not include the park admission fee ($10/person), and that the national park is closed on Mondays.
Award-winning hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is located next to the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park in the northwestern province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The hotel is 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s main city of Liberia.
Article by Shannon Farley
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
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
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