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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/

Best day of adventure in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Hacienda Guachipelin canopy tour in Costa RicaIf you are visiting the north Pacific region of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, the best day of adventure you can dream of is at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

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.

Horse ride at Hacienda GuachipelinThat’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.

Hacienda Guachipelin canopy zip lining in Costa Rica
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).

Tubing at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Costa Rica
Horseback Riding:
You can choose from six different horseback riding tours, or simply ride horses to get to Rio Negro for the tubing adventure.

Horseback riding Hacienda Guachipelin Costa Rica
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.

Hot springs Rio Negro Hacienda Guachipelin
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.

Hacienda Guachipelin canyoning tour in Costa Rica
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.

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano Guanacaste Costa Rica
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin

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

Juan Santamaria Day celebrates Costa Rica and Guanacaste history

Juan Santamaria of Costa Rica
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.

Juan Santamaria Day parade, image by Tico Times
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.

Santa Rosa La Casona national monumentAfter 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.

In Guanacaste, Costa Rica, you can visit the first original battle site of Santa Rosa, now protected in the Santa Rosa National Park and Guanacaste Conservation Area World Heritage site.

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano
Where to stay in Guanacaste, Costa Rica

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

New rooms for Christmas at Hacienda Guachipelin in Costa Rica

New rooms at Hacienda Guachipelin 2014
Just in time for Christmas, award-winning eco-hotel Hacienda Guachipelin in Costa Rica presents cozy new guest rooms.

Guanacaste Mountain Range at Hacienda Guachipelin HotelIn 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.

New rooms at Hacienda Guachipelin 2014The 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.

Hacienda Guachipelin waterfall rappelling tour, Costa RicaThe 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

Costa Rica is bursting with exciting active volcanoes

Volcano Kilauea in Hawaii, image by USGSWith images of fire and brimstone, emphasizing the power of Mother Nature, volcanoes have lit up the world news lately.

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.

Volcanoes of Costa RicaCosta 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.Volcano Turrialba explosion Oct. 30 2014, image by OVSICORI

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.

Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Costa RicaThe 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.

Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin roomsYou 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

Rincon de la Vieja Challenge becomes first international ultra endurance race

Rincon de la Vieja Challenge race flyerThe 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.

Rincon de la Vieja Challenge, by Lead Adventure Media“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.”

Rincon de la Vieja Challenge start, by Lead Adventure Media“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 Rincon de la Vieja Challenge in Costa Rica, by Lead Adventure Mediacloud 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.

To stay at Rincon de la Vieja hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, you can make reservations online. The Guanacaste hotel is located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Liberia.

Article by Shannon Farley

Green season is time for waterfalls at Rincon de la Vieja

Waterfall Chorreras at Rincon de la ViejaGreen season at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, means more water flowing everywhere. Time for those exhilarating river tubing trips on the Negro River. And time for waterfalls.

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.

Waterfall Oropendula at Hacienda Guachipelin
Oropéndola Waterfall

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.

Waterfall Chorreras at Rincon de la Vieja
Chorreras Waterfall

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.

Waterfall Victoria at Rincon de la Vieja
Victoria Waterfall

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.

Waterfall Cangreja at Rincon de la Vieja
Cangreja (Crab) Waterfall

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.

Rincon de la Vieja HotelsHotel Hacienda Guachipelin

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

Guanacaste, Costa Rica is vital alternative energy producer

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.

Hydroelectric plant at Lake Arenal in Costa RicaCurrently, 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.

Guanacaste wind energy farmWind 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 projects in Guanacaste Costa RicaSolar energy

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.

Geothermal energy in Costa RicaGeothermal energy

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.

Visit Guanacaste

Hotel Hacienda GuachipelinOne of Guanacaste’s top areas to visit is the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín is a first-class ecotourism lodge and ideal place to stay at Rincón de la Vieja.

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