Rincon de la Vieja National Park now protects nearly 5,000 acres more dry tropical forest and wildlife habitats in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.
Article by Shannon Farley
Costa Rican President Carlos Alvarado and the Environmental Minister, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, signed a decree earlier this month – on June 5 in honor of World Environment Day – for the expansion.
Rincon de la Vieja National Park added 4,650 acres (1,882 hectares), going from an area of 35,336 acres (14,300 hectares) to 39,987 acres (16,182 hectares). The extension incorporates four areas adjacent to the park that had been named a National Natural Heritage.
The Guanacaste Conservation Area, which encompasses the national parks of Rincon de la Vieja, Santa Rosa and Guanacaste along with the Bahía Junquillal Wildlife Refuge and the Horizontes Forestry Station, was declared a World Natural Heritage site in 1999 by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).
Located in the northwest province of Guanacaste, Costa Rica, the huge conservation area integrates marine and coastal ecosystems, dry tropical forest, tropical rainforest and tropical cloud forest, where approximately 235,000 species (65 percent of the estimated species in Costa Rica) reside. Expanding the Rincon de la Vieja National Park helps consolidate ecosystems, secure animal migration corridors and protect vital drainage basins which source 32 rivers. Guanacaste has one of Central America’s largest remaining dry tropical forests – one of the rarest ecosystems in the Americas.
Founded in May 1974, the Rincon de la Vieja National Park surrounds the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, one of six active volcanoes in Costa Rica. The park’s Las Pailas and Santa Maria sectors are very popular with tourists who come to experience the dry tropical forest and to see plentiful wildlife. Bird watching and enjoying natural volcanic hot springs also are favorite activities.
You can visit the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, and enjoy its dry tropical forest and hot springs, when you stay at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin. The award-winning Rincon de la Vieja hotel is located minutes from the Las Pailas national park entrance, and offers guided tours in the park.