Distance: 16 km (9 mi) round trip from Las Pailas Ranger Station.
Average Time: 5 – 6 hours.
Start / Finish:
- Las Pailas or Santa Elena Ranger Stations, Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
- Transport to the national park can be arranged through the tourist office in Liberia. Alternatively, regular buses will take you as far as Curubande, from where it is a 10km walk to Las Pailas.
Season: December to April offers the best chance of views.
Maps / Info:
- You can pick up a basic trail map at either of the Ranger Stations mentioned above.
- For general information on Rincon de la Vieja National Park see Costa Rica National Parks and Lonely Planet’s Costa Rica guidebook.
Route / Conditions:
- As you can see from the photos below, the weather wasn’t great during much of my time on Rincon de la Vieja.
- For photos taken in clearer conditions click here.
- I may not have seen much in the way of views, but I did spend an enjoyable couple of hours post-hike soaking in the sulfurous hot springs, situated 3km west of Santa Elena Ranger Station. Fantastic spot.
- No problems camping in the National Park. Alternatively, basic accommodation is available at both ranger stations.
- I hiked to the summit of Rincon de la Vieja in February 2000. Unfortunately, I had pretty ordinary weather while negotiating the upper reaches of the volcano. That being said, going from the photos I have seen and the opinions of others who have hiked Rincon in clearer weather, it appears to be a truly spectacular place. May be worth another visit one of these years!