Mother Nature’s fury is contained in more than 200 volcanic formations throughout Costa Rica. Most of them are extinct or remain dormant but 7 active volcanoes hiss and sizzle reminding visitors of their mighty force. Hidden amid tropical forests and lush grassland savannas, 4 lively fire gods line up along the Guanacaste mountain range. Fumaroles, ash columns, hot springs, mud pools, volcanic rock formations and lava paths are just a few reasons to visit the area and get closer to the center of the earth.
Never mind forest and wildlife, at Rincón de la Vieja National Park life steams, bubbles and flows from deep under the earth. Like a watchful fire god, the giant volcano rises above the Guanacaste Savannah reaching more than 5,000 feet above sea level (1,525 m). The park is unique for a variety of treats granted by an overly generous Mother Nature.
Somewhat of a rustic spa, mud pots bubble with warm sludge in mineral-rich pools. The rainbow-colored substance is said to have medicinal qualities. Although the attribute is yet to be proven, the relaxing and rejuvenating feel of a volcanic mud treatment is a known fact.
Vapor and gases shoot out of the fumaroles (vapor geysers) located along the main trail. The steamy orifice serves as a ventilation shaft for the volcano’s wrath. Not far from there, hot springs welcome tired hikers looking for a well-deserved soothing bath.
Many fresh water springs are also born in the flanks of Rincón de la Vieja. As they swirl down the mountain they gain body and strength becoming prominent rivers and imposing turquoise waterfalls.
Hearty adventurers can take the four-hour hike and climb to the Volcano’s main crater. The forest along the way is packed with monkeys, rare birds and wild animals adding excitement to your journey. After the Colorado River the scenery changes dramatically turning into short shrubbery and loose rocks. The winding path then leads you the spectacular crater and lagoon where emerald and aquamarine blend creating a surreal landscape that can only be described with one word: wow!
Virgin forests surround Miravalles volcano, a magnificent treasure often overseen by visitors. A closer look reveals a wildlife-filled habitat where environmental protection and development go hand-in-hand.
Miravalles has a single crater that hiccups occasionally but the true hot spots are the erupting fumaroles and gurgling mud pools. Cougars, pumas, monkeys, deer, ocelots and jaguars can easily be spotted in the surrounding forest.
The volcano is also a valuable source of electric power thanks to a geothermal energy project implemented by the Costa Rican Electric Institute (ICE). One of the largest systems in the country, the project creates clean energy by taking advantage of the steam released by Miravalles and the surrounding natural resources.
Guanacaste National Park can be easily spotted from the distance where four perfect cones rise on the horizon: volcanoes Orisilito, Pedregal, Cacao and the active Orosí.
The fiery giants are surrounded by a dry ecosystem that turns into cloud forest with altitude, providing a home to a wide variety of wildlife. Armadillos and iguanas hang out at the savannah and the exuberant vegetation is frequently visited by colorful birds and wild felines.
Pre-Columbian petroglyphs also hide under the shrubbery at the archaeological site near Pedregal. The park is perfect for adventure-seekers that can explore the 2.742,810-acre (1.110,000 ha) reserve on a horseback. Lodging can be arranged at the ranger stations where basic dormitories are available.
Rising 6,256 feet above sea level (1,916 m), Tenorio volcano attracts nature enthusiasts in search of amazing views and a wild journey through the rainforest.
Different trails guide you up to the crater lake religiously visited by thirsty tapirs at dusk. On the way you may also encounter jaguars, pumas, sloths, monkeys and a wide variety of birds.
Fresh water runs down the mountain creating crystal-clear streams and ponds. Volcanic minerals mix things up at the famous Celeste River where aqua blue waterfalls and lush surroundings render a dreamlike vision.