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Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

by Scott Setterberg January 27, 2020

Rincon de la Vieja, Costa Rica

Last week, I finished the first Pura Vida Costa Rica photo tour of 2020, and being in Rincon de la Vieja National Park again inspired me to write about the beautiful location in the Northwest region of Guanacaste.

Located near Liberia, Costa Rica, Rincon de la Vieja National Park boasts an active volcano, natural hot springs, gorgeous waterfalls, and excellent hiking trails.  In stark contrast to other areas of Costa Rica with much cooler, wet climates, Rincon de la Vieja is hot, dry, and arid.  It's surprising to find spectacular waterfalls in this atmosphere but there are several beauties that stand out.  

Measuring 130 feet tall and gently cascading into a colorful pool below, La Cangreja, which translates to "the crab", is an oasis in a desert.  The stunning waterfall is surrounded by unusual rock formations, trees, and hanging vines and late afternoon sunlight creates streaking patterns across its face.

La Cangreja in Costa Rica
The six-mile round-trip hike to La Cangreja crosses shallow streams in dense forests before reaching wide-open, sun-soaked spaces.  Although officially not permitted, swimming is common at La Cangreja, and the vibrant water is an invigorating reprieve after the lengthy hike.

For those looking for a shorter trek, the hike to Las Chorreras is just the answer.  Located only 30 minutes from Hacienda Guachipelin, Las Chorreras is one of Costa Rica's most unique waterfalls.  Although short in stature, Los Chorreras features dual cascades that drop into a sparkling turquoise pool, and the surrounding rock formations provide thrill seekers with perfect platforms for jumping into the cool water below.

Above Las Chorreras in Rincon de la Vieja National Park
Near the park's visitor center, Oropendola is another popular waterfall that's easy to access via a winding jungle trail and bouncy hanging stairway. The narrow single plume waterfall stands 80 feet tall and the multicolored water below the falls creates a refreshing swimming hole that provides relief from the hot climate.  

Below Oropendola, the water from the falls flows into a small, verdant gorge, passing beneath the hanging staircase used to access the towering cascade. 

Below Oro
After exploring the magnificent waterfalls of Rincon de la Vieja, a rejuvenating dip at Rio Negro Hot Springs is in order.  Here, guests take a volcanic ash mud bath and wash off in the river before relaxing in several natural hot springs of varying temperatures, bringing a perfect end to a long, rewarding day.  

Rio Negro Hot Springs
You can visit Rincon de la Vieja National Park on the March 29 - April 3, 2020, Pura Vida Costa Rica Photo Tour or the April 26 - May 1, 2020, Explore Costa Rica Photo Tour. Both tours are booking now with registration deadlines of February 15 and March 15, 2020, respectively.  Grab your spots today!

Scott Setterberg
Scott Setterberg