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
Zip lines in Costa Rica are pretty popular nowadays, being one of the all-time favorite adventure tours in Costa Rica for visiting tourists. There are dozens of zip line tours – more often called “canopy zip line tours” or simply “canopy tours” – all over the country. The first commercial canopy zip line tour came into being in Costa Rica in 1997 – the Original Canopy Tour in Monteverde – and the adventure tour’s popularity has soared since then. The distinctive factor about the Canyon Canopy Tour at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is that it has so much more than zip lines. You get to fly high above the treetops and back and forth between narrow canyon walls over the White River (Rio Blanco) on seven zip lines. You get to cross three hanging bridges and have fun on two Tarzan swings. There is a controlled 20-meter (65-foot) rappel, and two routes on a natural rock climbing wall to come back up those same 20 meters. And finally, there are three via ferrata traverses and climbs. Overall, you will travel to 21 platforms on the whole tour, which takes about 90 minutes to two hours to complete.
The spectacular setting alone is worth going on the Canyon Canopy Tour. You are deep in the dry tropical forest – a unique ecosystem in Central America – by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The tour starts off with the longest zip line, crossing a wide canyon high above the trees. A couple more zip lines later and now suddenly you are in a narrow, densely forested, rock canyon above the rushing White River. Simply beautiful!
The one-of-a-kind canopy zip line tour in Costa Rica was created at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in 2000 by Costa Rican architect Jose Manuel Pizarro, owner of the Costa Rica zip line design and vertical training company, Linea Vertical. You can enjoy the Canyon Canopy Tour and a whole host of other adventure tours at Hacienda Guachipelin’s Adventure Center, home of some of the best adventure tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. The Adventure Center is open seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for both hotel guests and day visitors.
Besides the zip line tour, you can go horseback riding, river tubing, waterfall rappelling, mountain biking, hiking in the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park, and soak in natural volcanic hot springs. For the best day of Costa Rica adventure tours, get the One Day Adventure Pass, which includes four tours and a delicious lunch. A little history of zip lines Zip lines were first invented in Costa Rica. Back in 1974, U.S. resident and California State University, Northridge graduate student, Donald Perry, pioneered the new method for climbing into and moving around the Costa Rica rainforest canopy, the world’s most complex living community, for his field work. It is in the tree canopy where upwards of 40 percent of all life on earth exists. Perry used a crossbow to shoot a rope into the branches of a 120-foot tree in the Osa Peninsula, and then climbed it using mountaineering ascenders. He later strung webs of ropes and pulleys between trees to move freely in the canopy without having to return to the ground. This led to the invention of the commercial canopy tour — a billion-dollar industry that has been reproduced all over the world. You can read about Perry’s adventures in his book, “Life Above the Jungle Floor,” published in 1986.
Article by Shannon Farley
I had one of the best lunches in a long time in Costa Rica the other weekend. It wasn’t at a sophisticated, high-priced, trendy eatery in the capital city, but rather out on a sprawling ranch in the middle of dry tropical forest at the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. My mouthwatering lunch at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, presented beautifully, was fresh grilled tilapia filet with an avocado cream sauce, served over perfectly al dente broccoli, carrots and green beans alongside fluffy white rice. Delicious! The renowned Costa Rica eco-adventure hotel recently renovated its restaurant and kitchen to be bigger, better and fresher! They only serve freshly-made meals made with locally-sourced ingredients, vegetables picked that same day, sauces that don’t come from a jar or can, bread hot out of the oven, juices that only a moment ago were whole fruit, and desserts loving crafted by an on-site pastry chef.
Known in the USA as “Farm-to-table” style, this is the real deal at Hacienda Guachipelin, using ingredients found in Costa Rica and always freshly made. How fresh is fresh? A large portion of Hacienda Guachipelin’s fruit, vegetables, spices, eggs, milk and cheese are harvested daily from the working horse and cattle ranch’s 3,400-acre farm. Eggs come from 300 free-range chickens in a huge henhouse. Milk arrives in the kitchen at 6:30 every morning, hot and steaming from just-milked cows at the cow barn. Kitchen staff makes its own farmer’s cheese, served at breakfast. The restaurant also keeps almond milk and soy milk for persons with lactose allergies.
Lettuce, basil, cilantro, jalapeno chilies and cucumbers fill an organic hydroponic greenhouse. Out in the aromatic spice garden in front of the greenhouse you can find dill, parsley, lemongrass, mint, rosemary, turmeric, ginger, and two kinds of oregano. In a large area of fields and livestock enclosures, long rows of tomatoes, bell peppers and celery grow organically in the sunshine.
Natural juices and marmalade jams are made fresh at the hotel from oranges, lemons, guanabana fruit, cas, guayaba, passion fruit, watermelon, papaya and pineapple that is either grown on the property or bought from small regional farmers. They don’t use any processed sauces from jars or cans, no MSG, and no boxed juices or pre-prepared foods. Breads and desserts are made on site by Hacienda Guachipelin’s pastry chef. The restaurant even has many gluten-free bread options for people with gluten allergies, including gluten-free pizzas. And all of it is baked in wood-burning ovens (the wood comes from the farm). At breakfast, corn tortillas are handmade in the traditional Costa Rican style.
Coffee served in the restaurant comes from a small farm in Naranjo, Costa Rica that is owned by a friend of Hacienda Guachipelin owner, Jose Tomas Batalla. Tilapia fish comes from a local farm in the nearby town of Canas. Hacienda Guachipelin has its own bees and is producing honey. And all drinking water at the hotel is natural spring water produced on the property. “We don’t cut corners. We make as much as we can homemade,” commented hotel owner, Jose Tomas Batalla. “We want to run our hotel with mindfulness.” Hacienda Guachipelin focuses especially on using typical Costa Rican fruits, vegetables, breads and meals. “We want to give people an authentic experience of being in Guanacaste and Costa Rica,” said Batalla. “We are rescuing the culinary traditions of Costa Rica and Guanacaste.” The Hacienda Guachipelin restaurant has been expanded to seat 250 persons, with a dedicated area for groups, hotel guests and day tour visitors. When the hotel is busy, meals are served buffet style; however, there is always an a la carte menu available.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin You can dine at the best restaurant in Rincon de la Vieja when you visit award-winning eco-hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. Recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2015, Hacienda Guachipelin offers some of the best adventure tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica and nature tours at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
Article by Shannon Farley
A repeat guest from Hacienda Guachipelin writes about his riding experience with us:
I discovered the hacienda guachipelin back in 1999 when my daughter spent one year of post-graduate studies in San Jose (Costa Rica). We spent one week at guachipelin, went riding all day and have been coming back at least one a year ever since.
I, various members of my family as well as relatives have been riding horses in many countries over the years. When guachipelin refers to horseback riding in its brochures or website, it is not doing justice to what it really is. It is quite extraordinary!!
The horses are unlike any others. They are very agile, extremely good-natured, responsive and have lots of stamina. Saddles and tack are in great shape. Riding is tailored to individual abilities – if you like to ride fast, this is the place you want to be! The terrain, the scenery, the trails or open spaces do invite you to enjoy riding the way it should be.
And you are being accompanied by the most friendly sabaneros you will ever meet – they are there to make your experience more enjoyable, not to tell you to stay in line or don’t do this or that. You ride thru herds of cattle, pregnant mares or mares with their offsprings, yearlings – all in beautiful peaceful country side. If you like to ride horses and like to feel free – guachipelin is the place!!
If you are a beginner or an intermediate rider, the horses selected will be especially gentle and very caring sabaneros will make sure you will have a great time.
So, to the discrimininating horse lover and rider, hacienda guachipelin is where you want to be. Not to forget the very comfortable accommodations and great food, drink and entertainment. Don Rene, our guide is a local mature, sincere horse loving and knowledgeable person.
The Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste has recently been mentioned in the Condé Nast online magazine Concierge.com
Located in the beautiful North Pacific region in Costa Rica, the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelinoffers its guests adventure and relaxation in the lands near the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
The vast amount of activities as well as the staff’s friendly service has impressed thousands of visitors who have stayed at the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. At Concierge.com, the exciting adventures of the Hacienda Guachipelin have earned it an “Editor’s Pick” with this exclusive organization.
Costa Rica’s diversity in terrain, climate and micro-cultures has made it a preferred vacation destination for millions of tourists world wide. Guanacaste has for long been the top destination within the country due to its incredible variety of mountains, volcanoes, plains and of course spectacular beaches.
The Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin offers travelers a different perspective of the region through its portrayal of local tradition and culture. The Hacienda Guachipelin follows in the century old tradition of the sabaneros or Costa Rican cowboys. The Hacienda encourages its guests to get up at the crack of dawn to experience the morning hustle as staff members groom and feed around 50 horses at the stable.
The tours offered at the Hacienda Guachipelin are adventure-oriented due the surrounding area. Located at the base of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, guests are encouraged to take hikes or horse back rides to explore the magnificent landscape. From waterfalls to boiling mud pots and vapor vents, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park and Volcano will provide for a day’s adventure.
Other tours available at the Hacienda Guachipelin include zip lining over the tree canopy and canyons, rappelling, mountain biking and tubing down the Negro River. After a couple of days of adrenaline-packed adventure at the Hacienda, a trip to the nearby natural thermal hot springs. The natural pool is filled with volcanic heated water that will sooth your aching muscles and help you feel as good as new for more adventure.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste is a proud member of the Guanacaste Chamber of Tourism, the Costa Rican Chamber of Tourism, the Costa Rican Hotel Chamber and bears the Code of Conduct Stamp.
For reservations from USA or Canada Call Toll Free 1-888-730-3840 or send us an email email@example.com