According to the 2013 World Energy Performance Index, Costa Rica is among the top 10 countries in the world with the best energy performance; and without question the northwestern province of Guanacaste has become a focal point for alternative and renewable energy.
Currently, Costa Rica produces 73% of its electricity from hydroelectric power, 13% from geothermal sources, 4% from wind turbines, and 1% from biomass, for a total of 91% of its energy generated from renewable sources, according to the Costa Rica Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE). Hydroelectric power, however, is climate-dependent, and during the driest months of summer it is stretched to its limits when water reserves are low.
This is where Guanacaste’s vast plains, powerful volcanoes and dry, sunny climate come into play. The second largest province in the country is being tapped for the powerful resources of wind, solar and geothermal energy.
In Guanacaste Costa Rica – one of the windiest locations in the world – international and Costa Rican companies are harnessing the power of the wind with huge wind turbine farms. There are currently 11 wind energy projects in Costa Rica, most in Guanacaste, and also by Volcano and Lake Arenal and in the Central Valley. Spanish wind engineering firm Gamesa is building a new wind farm in Guanacaste, set to be generating electricity by 2015.
Solar energy companies are rapidly on the rise in Guanacaste. When the Miravalles Solar Plant opened on the slopes of the Miravalles Volcano in November 2012, thanks to a $10 million loan by the Japanese government, it was the first of its kind in Costa Rica and the largest solar project in Central America. Now there are several solar projects in the works for the region.
Guanacaste’s North Volcanic Mountain Ridge has been ideal for geothermal power generation, tapping the Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes. The Miravalles Geothermal Field opened in 1994 and produces nearly 14% of the National Electrical System’s (SEN) capacity. The Pailas Geothermal Power Plant opened in July 2011 just outside the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park and is also a key energy supplier. Last November, President Laura Chinchilla signed an agreement with the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for a $560 million loan to build three more geothermal power plants near the famous Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste.
For things to do in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, look no further than the Costa Rica adventure tours at Hacienda Guachipelin. Their adventure park offers you canopy zip lines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, nature trails, natural thermal springs, and tours into the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park.
Article by Shannon Farley
Along with the rest of the world, Costa Rica is actively exploring clean energy options that are sustainable and not harmful to the environment. Luckily, Costa Rica has many resources for energy – hydroelectric, wind turbine, geothermal, and now there are investigations into hydrogen energy.
Costa Rica currently produces about 90% of its electricity from mostly hydroelectric projects. However, hydroelectric power is weather-dependent, and during the driest months of summer it is stretched to its limits when water reserves are low. There is a plentiful resource however that is largely untapped – volcanic geothermal energy.
Geothermal power uses underground steam from volcanoes. The energy is harnessed by drawing hot water and steam from within the Earth’s crust, and then cooling it to move power turbines. An advantage of geothermal power is that it is continuously generated, and not dependent on weather conditions.
Costa Rica has plenty of volcanoes, and so far, the North Volcanic Mountain Ridge in the northwestern Guanacaste region has been ideal for geothermal power generation, with its Rincón de la Vieja, Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes. The Miravalles Geothermal Field has been producing electricity since 1994, and the Pailas Geothermal Power Plant opened in July 2011 at the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano.
“Pailas” means cauldrons, and a hike in the Rincón de La Vieja National Park will show you why this 600,000-year-old volcano is so popular for geothermal energy; steam pours out of fumaroles, sulfur lagoons boil with minerals, and volcanic mud pits bubble and spit.
Costa Rica’s Legislative Assembly currently is debating a bill that would allow exploration and production of geothermal energy inside the Rincón de la Vieja National Park. The Pailas Geothermal Power Plant is just outside the park’s boundaries.
When you visit Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, stay at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín. Located just 10 minutes outside the Pailas section of the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, the first-class ecotourism lodge is a leading center for adventure and nature tours, on a working horse and cattle ranch.
By Shannon Farley
All over the world, Certificate of Excellence winners, by Tripadvisor.com , are commemorating their success and Hacienda Guachipelin is no exception. Actually this is the fourth year that Guachipelin has been awarded this recognition. Our staff was introduced to costumer service and guest satisfaction by 2 great advisers, Daniel Chavarria and Mauricio Aymerich.
Our way to improve customer satisfaction has not been easy, neither to our advisers nor our staff, but our staffs effort in following the advise of experts and their dedication to this project, has redeemed good fruits. We still have a long way to go, but we permanently monitor what our guests are saying in on their reviews, in order to define areas of improvement.
TripAdvisor has been a great tool for us.
We hope to see you soon at Rincon de la Vieja.
This month of May, Hacienda Guachipelin offers a very special discount: 25% off the regular rate. Guests will also receive $25 resort credit that can be applied for tours or massage. May is the month of the transition from the dry season to the rainy season. Actually May has a very nice weather, not very rainy and not very hot, yet the sunsets are still the famous Guanacaste sunsets.
Rincon de la Vieja National Park is 14, 161 hectares big. It was declared This national park is named after the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The summit is 1895 meters high. The main attraction is Las Pailas trail, a 3+ km trail with fumaroles, hot springs, mud pots and a strong sulfur smell , that surrounds the area. There are other attractions in the trail, like the little volcano, a very active hole that bursts with steam and a very loud jet like sound.
The mountain has another volcano, the inactive one, Santa María Volcano, whic has an altitude of 1916 meters, the highest by the way. The area has other attractions like the summit, presently closed to visitors due to activity, and very nice waterfalls. The most famous is La Cangreja, which is another “Rio Celeste“. This is a phenomenon that happens around volcanoes and the water turns blue.
(This offer only applies for reservations through Trip Advisor and does not apply with other offers or promotions, valido for the month of May)
We received this wonderful review from our tours from a group of journalists, and we wanted to share it with everybody
Outings are easily arranged with the local tour operators who eagerly welcome bookings at the lobby. Then there are those amiable tour reps who like to hang by the beach practicing their English as they ask what country you are from.
One day local tour operator Swiss Travel took us to Rincon de la Vieja, the largest active volcano in the country’s northwest and the closest to the beach. It’s part of a national park of the same name, which translates roughly to “old woman’s nook.”
In the morning we rode horseback through lush tall grasses bearing spiny Pochote trees. This stretch of heaven is the remnant of volcanic activity eons ago but the region is still very active. Guanacaste is located like much of Costa Rica in a volcanic zone. Just around us nine craters are visible.
Locals call this place “Little Yellowstone” because of the rich biodiversity and its numerous boiling mud pots. It emits an otherworldly ambiance as the sulphurous fumaroles cast small mushroom clouds over the terrain in some parts.
By the Rio Negro (so named due to the black lava rock), we bid the horses adios then resumed the next leg: white water tubing.
Churning around and around, laughing in hysterics the entire way, I couldn’t get over myself. I mean I’m no shrinking violet when it comes to battling rapids. A Niagara Falls-born gal I am, so hitting the infamous Niagara Gorge in a turbo jet is done on a lazy afternoon (okay I was a passenger on that one, but still) and splashing around rapids outside Ottawa I’ve done in a day.
But this one was like nature’s amusement ride. It helps its dry season from December through April so water levels are low. Still the turning action as I spun around this tempest in a teapot got my heart pounding as I twisted and turned through this jungle canyon.
Giddy with excitement, I snuck my neck inside the tube like a cautious turtle bracing myself for the unknown. Instead as I looked above a heavenly blue butterfly fluttered watching over me.
That night at the resort we laughed and reminisced on how we conquered the Rio Negro.
Boy would I do it again. ”
The most visited National Park in Guanacaste is Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Every year around 70.000 visitors enjoy the wonders of this national park.
The most visited trail in Rincon de la Vieja National Park is Las Pailas. The trail has a total distance of 3.5 km. The hike lasts around 2 hours.
The main reason to visit is the secondary volcanic activity, not to mention the waterfalls and the pristine rivers. The volcanic activity is manifested as mud volcanoes and fumaroles, a roaring little crater, hot springs, boiling mud pools, sulfur springs, lagoons full of boiling water. Other attractions are the 200 bird species, large mammals like the tapir, smaller mammals like howler monkeys, capuchin or white faced monkeys, spider monkeys, and more. Here are some recent pictures of the flora in the park.
Some important regulations to follow are:
- do not use soap in rivers and ponds
- stay on the path, there are dangerous high temperatures of the waters and vapors
- never feed the animals
- do not interact with any for of wildlife
- do not extract anything from the park (plants, animals or minerals)
- the use of proper shoes is mandatory
The admission $10 per person. Las Pailas is open from Tuesday to Sunday. The entrance is open to visitors from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, but the parks closes at 5 pm.
The park was created by Law in October, 1973. Its has an extension is of 14.083.9 hectares. It is divided into two sectors: Santa Maria and Las Pailas.
There is a little convenience store at the park’s entrance. Things like bug spray, water, beer, ponchos, sunscreen, and snacks are sold. Free WIFI is also available. Very convenient to stay connected.
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is slowly becoming a renowned birdwatching destination. Hacienda Guachipelin has sponsored several bird counts. This year’s event will most likely take place in October.
Birds are now becoming another reason to visit the area.
Here we will share a bird list provided the naturalist guide Cesar Güell. Cesar is a professional guide graduated from a Costarrican official training program for naturalist guides. What Cesar most enjoys is to share his knowledge with visitors. He really enjoys a day full of nature in the park or in the surroundings. The bird count in the area exceeds the 200 mark, but Cesar in his past year has registered 65 birds in his own personal list. Come to Rincon de la Vieja and experience the wildlife of Costa Rica with Cesar.
- Black Vulture – Zopilote negro – Coragyps atratus
- Turkey Vulture – Zopilote Cabeza roja – Cathartes aura
- Broad-winged hawk – Gavilan aludo – Buteo platypterus
- Crested Caracara – Carga huesos – Caracara cheriway
- Red billed pigeon – paloma piquiroja – Patagiones cayensis
- Inca dove – paloma inca – Colombina inca
- White fronted parrot – lora de frente blanca – Amazona albifrons
- Crested owl Buho crestado Lophostrix cristata
- Collared trogon – trogon collagero – Trogon collaris
- Keel billed Toucan – Rhamphastos sulfuratus
- Hoffmanns woodpecker Mellanerpes hoffmannii
- Masked tityra – Tityra semifaciata
- Red crowned ant tanager – Habia rubica
- Rufous naped wren – campylorhynchus rufinuca
- Tropical kingbird – Tyranus melancholicus
- Long tailed manakin – chiroxiphia linearis
- Yellow green vireo – Vireo flavoviridis
- White throated magpie jay – Calocitta Formosa
- White lored gnatcatcher Palioptila plumbea
- Kentucky Warbler Oporornis formosus
- Red crowned ant tanager Habia rubra
- Summer tanager Piranga rubra
- Baltimore Oriole Icterus galbula.
- Northern Barred – woodcreeper – Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae.
- Olivaceous woodcreeper – Sittasomus griseicapillus
- Long-tailed Woodcreeper – Glyphorhynchus spirurus
- Dusky Antbird – Cercomacra tyrannina
- Great Curassow – Crax rubra
- Crested Guan – Penelope purpuracens
- Osprey – Pandion haliaetus
- White hawk – Leucopterni albicolis
- Roadside Hawk – Buteo magnirostris
- Short-tailed Hawk – Buteo brachyurus
- Swainsons hawk – Buteo swainsoni
- Gray-necked wood rail – Aramides cajanea
- Leser Ground cukoo – Morococcyx erythropygus
- Spectacled owl – Pulsatrix perpicillata
- Pacific screech owl – Megascops cooperi
- Common pauraque – Nyctidromus albicollis
- White collared Swift – Streptoprocne zonaris
- Ruby throated hummingbird – Amazilia boucardi
- Long billed starthroat – Heliomaster longirostris
- Turquoise browed Motmot – Eumomota superciliosa
- Yellow- eared toucanet- Selenidera spectabilis
- Groove billed Ani – Crotophaga sulcirostris
- Squierrel Cuckoo – Piaya cayana
- Lineated Woodpecker – Dryocopus lineatus
- Pale billed Woodpecker – Campephilus guatemalensis
- Dusky Antbird – Cercomacra tyrannina
- Bare crowned Antbird – Gymnocichla nudiceps
- Piratic Flycatcher – Legatus leucophaius
- Olive sided Flycatcher – Contopus cooperi
- Black phobe – Sayornis nigricans
- Great Kiskadee – Pitangus sulphuratus
- Boat billed Flycatcher – Megarhynchus pitangua
- Social Flycatcher – Myozetetes similis
- Tropical Kingbird – Tyrannus melancholicus
- Philadelphia Vireo – Vireo philadelphicus
- Tropical Gnatcatcher – Polioptila plumblea
- Kentucky Warbler – Oporornis formosus
- Red crowned ant Tanager – Habia rubica
- Red legged honeycreeper – Cyanerpes cyaneus
- Bronzed Cowbird – Molothrus aeneus
- Montezuma Oropendola – Psarocolius Montezuma
- King Vulture – Sarcoramphus papa
Despite all challenges, Jessica Gallant was able to hike Rincon de la Vieja. Not to the top, since there has been serious activity on the top, but to pristine waterfalls and through trails.
According to The Edmonton Journal 29 Team Diabetes members had raised more than $228,000. That is a lot of money. We are really happy for the Canadian Diabetes Association.
According to the article, Jessica mentioned “It didn’t matter. I had no idea I could hike six hours on rugged trails with two new hips and a wonky knee.”
Rincon de la Vieja Volcano is a magic place. We are proud that Jessica chose this destination for her challenge.
Instead of ziplining through the trees and crossing swing bridges on the Caribbean/rainforesty side of the country, however, we were able to go whole hog on the Pacific/dry forest side in the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park of the Guanacaste region, where canopying combines with ziplining, rappeling, rock climbing, canyoneering and…….. as it was mentioned by haunted.com
This is one of the most popular tours at the Hacienda since it has a bit on everything, traversing on trees, traversing in the canyon, up and down, on ropes, on the wall………
This tour is open every day from 8 AM to 5 PM. Rincon de la Vieja is a and active volcano close to the beaches in Guanacaste.
Este video lo realizo nuestro amigo Luis Alvarado, de Radio Mal Pais. Don Luis visito Hacienda Guachipelin para recoger información de los servicios que se ofrecen en la Hacienda de cara a un concurso que se estara realizando proximamente con los radioescuchas de esta radio. El obsequio sera de 1 fin de semana para 2 personas con tours y alimentación incluido.
La idea del concurso es dar a conocer las bellezas de la zona del volcán Rincon de la Vieja y sus alrededores. Hacienda Guachipelin fue escogido por la diversidad de actividades que se ofrecen, para todas las edades y todos los gustos.
Esperamos que este concurso Radio Mal Pais – Hacienda Guachipelin sea de agrado para todos los que escuchan esta Radio. Para mas información visite la pagina de Facebook de Radio Mal Pais y a pagina de Facebook de Hacienda Guachipelin.