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Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park in Costa Rica

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Rincón de la Vieja in Costa Rica

Rincón de la Vieja in Costa Rica

Kirsten Noelle Hubbard

Rincón de la Vieja in Costa Rica:

Overview:

Rincón de la Vieja National Park in Costa Rica, or Parque Nacional Volcán Rincón de la Vieja, is located in Guanacaste Province, about 17 miles north of Liberia.

The park is named for the volcano, Rincón de la Vieja, which last erupted in 1998. The numerous hiking trails in Rincón de la Vieja National Park range from simple to strenuous, and include sights like bubbling mud pots, smoking “volcanitos”, trails skittering with baby iguanas, and a mineral-blue waterfall and swimming hole. A hike to the summit of the Rincón de la Vieja volcano takes two days; bring lots of water.

Admission:

$6 US

Size:

54 square miles

Landscape:

Split into two forested slopes, Pacific and Caribbean. The latter is lush and wet year-round.

Wildlife:

Rincón de la Vieja National Park is home to more than 300 species of birds (including the quetzal), and numerous reptiles, amphibians and mammals (including kinkajous, tapits, monkeys and jaguars). Getting there: The easiest way to get to Rincón de la Vieja National Park is to book a trip from a Liberia hotel or travel agency – we booked ours at Hotel Liberia on Calle Central.

Travel Tips:

Watch out for the coatimundis at the park’s entrance! They’re shockingly bold, and will prance right up to visitors. During my trip to Rincón, one of the intrepid critters leaped up and actually latched on to a friend’s shopping bag of sandwiches, dangling upside-down until she dropped the bag. Needless to say, we missed lunch that day.

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