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Waterfalls And Other Natural Wonders At Hacienda Guachipelin

Waterfalls And Other Natural Wonders At Hacienda Guachipelin

Have you been dreaming about hiking through green forests in search of beautiful, secluded waterfalls in Costa Rica? Guanacaste’s premiere adventure ecotourism destination is Hacienda Guachipelin in Rincon de la Vieja National Park. On this 3000 hectare wildlife preserve at the base of Costa Rica’s most active volcano, you will find the mighty Rio Negro. This river and its many tributaries host a number of magnificent waterfalls that inspire awe and wonder at the magic of nature.

The Las Pailas Loop

The hike to Las Pailas at Rincon De La Vieja National Park gives visitors the opportunity to spot some of the most magnificent waterfalls that this region has on display. Meaning “The Cauldrons” in Spanish, the Las Pailas area is a spectacular showcase of the awesome power of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Steaming fumaroles, mini-geysers and bubbling volcanic mud pits offer a sensational experience of sights and sounds. 

The Las Pailas loop trail is about 2.5 miles (3.5 kilometers) of dry tropical forest path, with detours for some of the best views of the volcano. This dynamic, ever-changing region attracts a series of wildlife unlike any other in Costa Rica. Witness incredible feats of nature in the ever-present volcanic activity and wildlife. Hacienda Guachipelin’s bilingual expert naturalist guide will point out some of the 300 bird species that live here. Other possible animal sighting include capuchin, howler and spider monkeys, armadillos, collared peccaries, iguanas, snakes, or white-nosed coatis.

Oropendula Waterfall

As you finish the Las Pailas hike, you should be ready for a refreshing swim in the Oropendula Waterfall. This secluded waterfall is a short walk from the National Park’s entrance on a trail with varying terrain. The trek descends downward to a gorgeous canyon where you will be surrounded by towers rock walls covered in green. The Oropendula Waterfall plunges an impressive 82 feet (25 meters) to a sparkling turquoise pool within the lush canyon of the Rio Blanco. The Oropendula Waterfall is a truly picturesque tropical oasis.

Rio Negro Hot Springs

A visit to the Rio Negro Hot Springs is one of the most popular attractions at Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Surrounded by thick tropical dry forest, the Rio Negro flows through 10 man-made pools filled with steaming, mineral-rich volcanic waters. You can access to the pools on both sides of the river by traversing the two hanging bridges. These well-crafted feats of engineering are a thrilling way to pass over the Rio Negro as it roars through the canyon below. The rejuvenating pool areas offer heated volcanic clay masks. Like at the spa, visitors can smoothe the mineral-rich mud all over their bodies. 

The Red Pond

A walk to the Red Pond is a highly-recommended self-guided nature tour offered at Hacienda Guachipelin. This region is located on the Rio Blanco and features a very interesting lava rock formation in red and white colors that is created by the volcanic minerals present in the water.

The trail begins across from the lower parking area by Hacienda Guachipelin’s rooms & suites. The hike to the beautiful Red Pond is an easy 3/4 mile walk on a shaded forest path. Enjoy a swim in the pond’s refreshing water while you take in the natural surroundings.

Las Chorreras Waterfall

Close to Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, the Las Chorreras Waterfalls canyon is a beautiful place to relax in pristine nature. This stunning location is easily accessible, especially on a horseback riding tour from Hacienda Guachipelin. When you reach the clearing and hear the power of the waterfall, a stairway will welcome you to enjoy a swim in the tropical waterfall pool. Two side-by-side waterfalls cascade into a sky blue mineral water pool filled with rejuvenating properties. A tiny, shallow canyon of volcanic rock rings the waterfalls and pool, creating an intimate and private oasis for a sublime swimming experience.

Up above the waterfall is a magical forest clearing where a number of events take place throughout the year. It is a special location for weddings, receptions and other celebrations that deserve a one-of-a-kind backdrop. You won’t find another location like this in Costa Rica that can cater for your special day.

Victoria Waterfall

With a dramatic drop of 115 feet (35 meters), the stunning Victoria Waterfall descends into the Rio Negro at Hacienda Guachipelin. The surrounding canyon hosts unique vegetation and the topography is remarkable for drone footage. At the base of the waterfall, visitors can swim in the crystal clear pool. This is also the dramatic starting point for the incredibly fun Rio Negro Tubing Adventure. and it is the location of the Tarzan swing in Guanacaste Tours’ Canyoning Adventure.

La Cangreja Waterfall National Park

Hiking in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park is an adventure you must do while you are staying at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. And when you do arrive, make sure to include a trip to the magnificent La Cangreja (Crab) Waterfall.

Falling 130 feet (40 meters) into a white ribbon of water that streaks through the vibrant green forest, La Cangreja forms a clear blue pool at its base. Dissolved copper minerals from the Rincon De La Vieja Volcano give the water its celestial blue color. 

The only way to get to this waterfall is by hiking 3 miles (5 km) into the Rincon De La Vieja National Park. Along this forest trail, you might see white-nosed coatis, armadillos, Central American agoutis and birds like the Blue-crowned Motmot or Emerald Toucanet.The guided tour even includes a lovely picnic lunch at the scenic waterfall.

Don’t miss out on some of the best day tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica! Hacienda Guachipelin organizes transportation to and from the Rincon De La Vieja National Park entrance. All tours are arranged at Hacienda Guachipelin’s Adventure Center, which is open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to hotel guests and one day visitors.

Fairy Tale Woodland Nuptials at Las Chorreras Waterfall, Hacienda Guachipelin

A unique and special destination wedding in Costa Rica

*See a video of this wedding at the bottom of this article

There are a few moments in life that are truly profound to witness. True love uniting under the natural archways of live trees with the Las Chorreras waterfall in the backdrop is one of those moments.

Reagan and Nathianial’s tropical woodland nuptials at Las Chorreras Waterfall, Hacienda Guachipelin

Our staff at Hacienda Guachipelin were lucky to host a unique and special wedding on January 9, 2019. And although we had only known this couple for a short time, each of us who witnessed the union of Reagan and Nathaniel Jackson had tears of joy in our eyes for the magic that we were privileged to share in alongside a select group of 33 guests.

The bride appeared a woodland princess as she walked down an aisle of meticulously laid jungle foliage. She relied on her instinct for natural décor and radiated in her white tulle gown and floral crown amidst the greenery of Guanacaste’s tropical dry forest. The outdoor venue had a glamorous yet simple and classic vibe created with strings of fairy lights and decorative pieces picked directly from Hacienda Guachipelin’s gardens. The couple carried their elevated tropical theme throughout every detail of the day, from the table settings to the palm-printed invites and greeting cards.

About the newlyweds

Reagan and Nathaniel are from the US but have been living in a small town near Nosara for a number of years. They chose to move to Costa Rica so that they could live a simpler life, closer to nature. From their very first conversation, Reagan and Nathaniel bonded over their shared history, having both grown up in rural areas where they spent most of their childhoods outdoors. Their shared appreciation for nature was a major reason why they were drawn to live in Costa Rica and their wedding at Hacienda Guachipelin was a reflection of this passion for nature that brought them together.

The happy couple toasting to a bright future

The couple wanted to reflect their personal style in their wedding theme. However, they quickly realized that their style does not easily fit into any one category. They ended up with a theme that reflected their variety of their interests and made for a unique and special affair.

“We like modern and minimal design, with clean lines and geometric shapes; you can see that in the triangular ceremony backdrop, and the geometric candle holders on the reception tables,” says Reagan, who chose all of the décor alongside her now husband, Nathaniel, and their friends.

Choosing the Las Chorreras waterfall location

Although Reagan and Nathan both love the beach, they decided to opt for something different for their special day. The couple live in a beach town in Costa Rica and have seen their share of weddings on the beach.

“We live in a beach town in Costa Rica where almost all the weddings are on the beach,” says Reagan. “Nathan and I love the beach, but we prefer to be out in the jungle even more. So we decided on having the wedding at either a waterfall or a big magnificent tree.”

The bride, Reagan, in a private pre-wedding memorial ceremony at Las Chorreras Waterfall

They began searching for the perfect place for weeks, making lists of waterfalls and keeping note of trees that inspired them. This took the couple on a waterfall tour in Costa Rica where not only did they want an awe inspiring waterfall location, they also wanted a surrounding area that could accommodate seating for thirty-three guests. And when they finally arrived at Hacienda Guachipelin’s Las Chorreras Waterfall, they know they had found the perfect place.

“Las Chorreras was actually the last one on our list and I was growing a bit concerned about finding one that would work for us,” says Reagan. “The hike out there was a bit long and it was a hot day in July. I was tired from hiking to several other locations and feeling a bit discouraged. But when we arrived at Las Chorreras my heart skipped a beat. It was so beautiful and had a large, nearly flat area up on the cliff overlooking the falls. We knew instantly it was ‘the one’.”

Las Chorreras Waterfall is a sensational backdrop for a special occasion

The ceremony

The natural beauty of the waterfall was the couple’s favorite part to share with their guests. Their idea was to feature the area’s natural beauty, so they chose to be sparse with the décor and married under a simple, flower adorned triangle – a traditional symbol for spirit, earth and water. Reagan walked down a natural green isle and met her groom, with the powerful flow of the Las Chorreras Waterfall in the backdrop.

Reagan and Nathan say ‘I do’ next to the Las Chorreras Waterfall

Reagan wanted to reflect her typically low maintenance look. She chose to have her sister, Raven, create her hair and makeup for the occasion. Raven was able to add sparkle to Reagan’s everyday minimalist, natural style. Reagan’s friend, Nikki Cabrera, brought Reagan’s jewelry designs to life as a wedding gift to the bride. And bare feet made for the free-spirited finish and completed Reagan’s woodland princess look. She stood out spectacularly in her snow white gown, with pale-colored tropical flowers crowning her loose curls.

As a special honor to Nathan’s mother who passed several years before the couple met, Reagan gifted her soon-to-be husband with a touching gift. As the couple was having their ‘first touch’ during their private pre-ceremony photo shoot, Reagan gave Nathan an antique heron pendant that represented his mother’s deep connection to blue herons. The bride wanted her husband to carry his mother with him during their wedding and they honored her with a private ceremony, spreading some of her ashes into the river.

The couple’s first touch ceremony under a giant fig tree

“Nathan’s mother passed away several years before we met,” says Reagan. “She was a very spiritual person and always had a special connection with blue herons. As a wedding gift I gave Nathan a small, antique heron pendant during the first touch, so he could carry her with him during the wedding. We also honored her with a private ceremony in which we spread some of her ashes into the river.”

The couple’s shared southern background made it essential to bring some country aesthetic to the party. Hay bales were used for seating during the ceremony and wheelbarrows were used to hold coconut cocktails for after the ‘I dos’.

An impromptu game of Cornhole broke out directly after the ceremony. Nathan’s family are big fans of the traditional southern game and the couple had a custom board made by their friends at Raspa Design in Nosara for the occasion.

The reception

A soft romance began the evening when the married couple played on the tree twin during a post “I do” photo session. They were able to carve their initials and wedding date on the swing to commemorate their vows at the place where they spoke them.

Sweeping curtains of lights decorated the reception hall, where guests adjourned around tables adorned with handmade macramé runners and Monstera Deliciosa leaves as place mats. Cafe lights hung from the tree branches overhead, creating a beautiful dining ambiance in the al fresco setting.

The conscious couple made sure that their wedding could be as eco-friendly as possible. They strove to ensure that their wedding would be plastic-free and found a variety of natural materials to replace traditional disposable items. Mil Besos featured as the wedding planner, bringing an amazingly talented team. The bride was extremely pleased with how everything turned out and recommends them to future wedding parties.

But how did it feel for the bride? “Everyone warned me the day would fly by, and they were so right,” says Reagan. Oddly, I remember sitting down during the reception and just being in complete awe of how everything had come together. I literally pinched myself because it seemed like a dream.”

Reagan and Nathanial sharing their first dance as a married couple

Pre and post wedding activities

During their stay, the wedding party of 30 enjoyed the waterfalls, hiking and hot springs. Only six of the couple’s guests were visiting Costa Rica for the first time, but everyone enjoyed the stunning natural beauty and adventure activities at Hacienda Guachipelin. The diverse scenery at the foothills of the Rincon de la Vieja volcano are unparalleled and everyone was in awe of the spectacular activities available in the area.

In the days leading up to the wedding, the wedding party visited the many waterfalls on the Hacienda Guachipelin grounds. They would finish their days by soaking in the hot springs to relax, and the wedding couple even had a soak just before getting ready for their ceremony. The day after the ceremony, the whole group of family and friends enjoyed a day of horseback riding and a river tubing adventure!  “It was all so much fun,” says Reagan.

Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, on your magical nuptials at Hacienda Guachipelin.

Watch a video of Reagan and Nathanial’s wedding ceremony at Las Chorreras waterfall:

Reagan and Nathaniel’s Wedding Team included:

Planning & Design & Coordination: Meghan Cox, Cata Ulloa & Sol Marinoni, Mil Besos

Photographer & Videographer – White Diamond https://whitediamondphoto.com/

Catering & Venue – https://www.guachipelin.com/

Flowers – Flores de Campos

Rentals – Los Primos Designs https://www.losprimosdesigns.com/

Music – DJ Mason Dunn https://www.wdjcr.com/

Experience A Unique Adventure At Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste Costa Rica

Visiting Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste Costa Rica is one of those rare, unforgettable, almost magical events that you will want to relive again and again. If you are looking for an adventure getaway in a peaceful, natural setting, Hacienda Guachipelin provides a full range of quality experiences that invite guests to let go and get away from the everyday. Everything about the property feels authentic and full of life. There is history in this land and the smiles from the huge ensemble of staff show that this is a family business that cares about the land and sharing its natural wonders with their guests.

Hacienda Guachipelin offers adventure tours in Guanacaste for a sensational array of experiences that will have you trade your stress or boredom for excitement! Release yourself into the expert hands of their friendly guides and indulge in the epic sensations that nature provides. The team of organizers and guides at Hacienda Guachipelin have a spectacular natural venue from which they curate some of the best experiences that Mother Nature provides in Costa Rica! Delight in the cold tingle and the roar of the river as it cascades down the canyon and over your body. Relish the heat of the thermal pools as you relax in a pristine jungle setting. There is an absolute abundance of reenergizing and regenerative activities to experience at this unique Costa Rica eco-tourism destination.

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Canyon and canopy zip-lining tour with Hacienda Guachipelin

About the Hacienda

The Batalla Family are the long-time owners of this nearly 3500 acre parcel of land at the base of the Rincon de la Vieja National Park in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. They have farmed this land consistently since 1975. They officially opened the Hacienda Guachipelin hotel in 1985 to serve a growing number of visitors to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. As one of two main entry points to the National Park, the Hacienda Guachipelin has hosted many thousands of guests since it opened its doors and it has been beloved in that time for the quality experience that it provides in its warm Guanacaste welcome.

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Traditional painted ox cart at Hacienda Guachipelin is perfect photo opportunity

The tradition of farming this land dates back to 1880. Two generations of the Batalla family have been a part of that succession, showcasing their traditional ways to the world through the Hacienda Guachipelin. Since the property is the main gateway to the Rincon de la Vieja UNESCO heritage site, visitors from all over the world have been coming here for decades and asking to stay the night. Virtually everyone wants to spend at least a full day visiting the natural wonders in the area.

Rincon de la Vieja National Park hosts more than 70,000 visitors every year. People from all of over the world come to this region of Costa Rica to experience the spectacular hot springs, mineral-rich volcanic mud, treasured nature trails, and active craters. Hundreds of waterfalls can be found in the National Park and on the Hacienda Guachipelin grounds, with some notable ones like the Catarata Oropendola and the Catarata Victoria particularly attracting nature revelers from all over the globe.

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The Oropendola Waterfall at Hacienda Guachipelin

The Hacienda’s accommodations include 79 rustic-inspired, comfortable rooms. Each room is designed with natural materials, adding warmth and richness to the true ranch-style experience. All rooms also include modern amenities like comfortable beds, A/C and satellite TV. But the greatest experience lies in walking the stunningly beautiful and peaceful grounds that surround the Hacienda Guachipelin. Flower gardens and ancient trees envelop the reception areas and rooms at the center of the sprawling property. Hundreds of species of enchanting tropical birds can be found flying in between. This is a perfect place to relax in the hammock outside of your cabin, where you can swing to the sound of purple doves cooing in a tree above you with the majestic vision of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano hanging in the distance.

What to do at Hacienda Guachipelin

Being in nature is about play and Hacienda Guachipelin has some excellent adventure tours on their property to take full advantage of the fun! The one-day adventure pass are the easiest way to experience their well organized adventure tour schedule that you can customize to your preference.

Maybe you choose to spend an adrenaline-filled day tubing, canyoning and mountain biking? Or perhaps you want to take an easier pace and enjoy birdwatching, horseback riding, butterfly gardens and a sauna + spa treatment all on the property.

However you choose to plan your day, everyone should end their day with a volcanic mud bath and a dip in one of their fourteen thermal pools. The expert groundskeepers use natural geo-thermally heated water that is filled into stone pools beautifully built into the natural forest landscape. A series of wooden bridges hang over the breathtaking canyons that surround these thermal pools for additional natural healing therapy. Your mind will inevitably melt away and as the sun sets, you won’t want to leave this invigorating setting.

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Thermal heated pools in the forest at Hacienda Guachipelin

Those who come regularly to the Hacienda Guachipelin feel their body immediately release as the pace of ‘everyday life’ slows down and the gentle pace of nature takes over. The team of expert staff is here to catch you and provide the experiences you need to get back to nature.

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Horse rancher getting ready to give a horseback tour of the Hacienda Guachipelin property

You don’t have to think much about looking after yourself while you are here because Hacienda Guachipelin truly has all of the amenities you need. This includes an incredible buffet spread for breakfast, lunch and dinner, made fresh every day with ingredients directly from the property’s ranch and gardens. Fresh milk and eggs are gathered every morning and all of the vegetables are sourced from one of the many greenhouses. The quality organic meals that the chefs prepare are the perfect sustenance to keep your energy up and to nourish the soul.

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Freshly carved meat served with housemade sauces and extras at the Hacienda Guachipelin restaurant

So check in, kick back, and let this experienced team of nature lovers take you on a sensational ride. Book your stay with Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincon de la Vieja National Park to experience your perfect Costa Rica hosts for your getaway from the everyday. I personally cannot wait to go back and relive one of the most relaxing night’s sleep I have ever had after a day of fresh air, fun and adventure touring this spectacular property in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

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Cheers to a great stay at Hacienda Guachipelin!

Article by Alexandra Luty

Alexandra is a nomadic travel writer and content creator working out of her mobile office (aka laptop). She can sometimes be found writing about nature and alternative lifestyles in the forests of northern Ontario or in the jungles of Costa Rica. You can contact her at alexandra.luty@gmail.com

Legendary marimba music alive at Hacienda Guachipelin

Hacienda Guachipelin marimba player Don Justo

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.

Hacienda Guachipelin marimbaThe 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 Hacienda Guachipelin marimba player Don Justoxylophone 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

World’s best endurance athletes to compete in 2013 Adventure Race World Championships in Costa Rica

Adventure Race event raftingHere’s a bit of a different Costa Rica vacation for you: Travel the entire country from coast to coast and north to south, but only under your own steam on mountain bikes, kayaks, rafts, zipline cables, and your feet. Sleep under the stars wherever you may be – mud, sand, grass field, rocky stream bed – but only for a few hours at a time. Brave the thrills of mosquitoes, venomous snakes, crocodiles, rain, boiling sun, and sweltering rainforest. Do that for about six days straight with three of your friends, but with the added adrenaline surge of trying to outrace 64 other groups like you all trying to get to the same final destination first.

Sound like fun? Maybe not for the average person, but if you are one of the world’s best endurance athletes, it’s right up your alley … or trail, as it were.

Adventure Race championshipsThis unforgettable “vacation” is actually the 2013 Adventure Race World Championships (ARWC), coming to Costa Rica from Nov. 29 to Dec. 12. Sixty-five teams from 26 countries will compete for more or less 140 hours non-stop on adventure challenges, covering over 700 km from the Pacific Ocean to the Caribbean Sea and across Costa Rica border-to-border from Nicaragua to Panama. Teams of four competitors will traverse a wide variety of terrain, from long beach walks to high ascents over rugged mountains. They will raft, kayak (ocean and river), mountain bike, trek, climb and rappel, and cross canopy ziplines, among other events. Race organizers estimate that it will take the winning team approximately 120 hours in five to six days to finish. The race will be open a total of nine days (216 hours).

The epic adventure is also the fourth Adventure Race Costa Rica (ARCR), which joined the Adventure Race World Series (ARWS) in 2010. The AR World Series is an international circuit of premier adventure races that since 2001 culminate every year in the AR World Championships. To get to the ARWC, teams have competed all year long in eight adventure races in different countries, leading up to the finals in Costa Rica.

Adventure Race championshipsCosta Rica is known for its beautiful beaches and rainforests, and is also gaining international fame for endurance sports. TheLa Ruta de los Conquistadores (The Route of the Conquistadors) top world endurance mountain bike race celebrated its 20th anniversary Oct. 24-26 in Costa Rica. Hundreds of the best mountain bikers and endurance racers have been crossing 192 miles (310 km) from the Pacific to the Caribbean over these three days.

In June, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín, at the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Costa Rica’s northern Guanacaste region, hosted the international North Face Endurance Challenge. Competitors ran 80k, 50k, 21k and 10k races over rugged ground at the volcano. The eco-hotel then staged the 100-mile (160 km) Rincón de la Vieja Challenge mountain bike race in August. The adventure race was the first of its kind in Costa Rica and Latin America to circumnavigate an active volcano.

Not an endurance athlete, but still looking for an adventure vacation in Costa Rica? Hacienda Guachipelín, a first-class eco-lodge, is a prime destination for adventure and nature lovers – offering canopy ziplines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, and thermal springs – all on a working horse and cattle ranch. Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín is located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s principal city of Liberia.

Article by Shannon Farley