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Updated: Sep 9, 2021

Name origin

In translation it means “The Old Woman’s corner” and it's a reference to a local legend about princess Curabanda, who fell in love with Mixcoac, the chief of a neighboring enemy tribe. When Curabanda's father found out about the affair, her lover was thrown into the volcano as punishment. She went into exile and lived right next to the volcano, soon after giving birth to their son. She threw her son into the volcano, for them to reunite. Curabanda became reclusive and was believed to possess healing powers.

General information

Rincón de la Vieja is the largest and most active volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Standing at 6,286 feet (1,916 meters) high and 9 miles (15 km) wide, the giant is called the “Colossus of Guanacaste”. The massive 600,000-year-old geological wonder has at least nine volcanic craters, and at least 32 rivers flow down its sides which bridge the Continental Divide. Meanwhile the area was pronounced as National Park on the 23rd of October, 1973, by law N° 5398, where 14.300 hectares of land is protected to this day.

This National Park protects very important hydrographic basins, since the Rincón de la Vieja massif forms part of the watershed between the Caribbean and the Pacific in the northwestern part of the country; and here 32 rivers are born, among them the Colorado, Blanco and Ahogados. In turn, the largest existing population in the wild of the purple guaria ( orchid national flower of our country) is protected. Also added is the importance of protecting the volcanic activity characteristic of the area and its geological attractions.

The impressive Rincón de la Vieja Volcano and its dormant sister Santa María Volcano form the center of the fantastic Rincón de la Vieja National Park – part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Guanacaste Conservation Area. Meaning “The Cauldrons” in Spanish, the Las Pailas area spectacularly shows off the awesome power of the live Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Steaming fumaroles, mini-geysers, bubbling volcanic mud pits, natural hot springs, and jungle waterfalls give you an incredible experience like no other volcano in Costa Rica.


Rincón de la Vieja Park is home to plenty of wildlife. Among mammals, there are three species of monkeys, including white-faced, spider and howler monkeys. Some common species in the area are armadillos, coyotes, tapirs... There are many species of reptiles including iguanas, whip tailed lizards, rattlesnakes, boa constrictors. Over 300 different species of birds, the white-nose coati, agouti, and the nine-banded armadillo.


With the best weather all year round, Rincon de la Vieja is a fantastic hiking destination. To see the waterfalls, the green season from May to December is the best. There are several hiking trails within Rincon de la Vieja National Park.

  • Guided Nature Hikes Hike

  • Guided Waterfall Hikes

  • Ziplining

  • River Tubing

  • Horseback Riding

  • Rio Negro Hot Springs

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