Costa Rica over the past decade has become a magnet for high-endurance extreme sports, adventure racing and triathlons. Elite international athletes travel to the small Central American nation several times a year for sport competitions.
One of the most popular zones for extreme endurance events is the north Pacific Guanacaste region. In early March 2014, the International Triathlon Union (ITU) will hold the 2014 Pan American Cup at Playa Hermosa in Guanacaste. Also in March, the XTERRA off-road triathlon race comes to Costa Rica, staging their major international competition March 29 and 30 at Playa Conchal in Guanacaste. Costa Rica’s top triathlete Leonardo Chacon took first place at the XTERRA USA competition last year in Hawaii.
Last year was a big year for endurance adventure races in Costa Rica – among them the 2013 Adventure Racing World Championships, the North Face Endurance Challenge at Rincón de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, and the Rincón de la Vieja Challenge mountain biking endurance race.
The second annual Rincón de la Vieja Challenge will happen on Aug. 23. Held last year for the first time, the 100-mile (160 km) adventure race was the first of its kind in Costa Rica and Latin America to circumnavigate an active volcano.
The North Face Endurance Challenge and the Rincón de la Vieja Challenge were both staged out of leading Rincón de la Vieja eco-lodge, Hacienda Guachipelin. Owner Jose Tomas Batalla says it is the region’s diverse terrain and microclimates that attract such high-profile sports competitions.
“There is savannah, tropical forest, desert, and cloud forest, and the weather changes as you go up in elevation,” commented Batalla.
Have your own adventure at Rincón de la Vieja at Hacienda Guachipelin eco-lodge. The first-class lodge, right next to the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park, offers guests and visitors a complete adventure center with canopy ziplines, canyoning, waterfall rappelling, river tubing, horseback riding, mountain biking, nature trails, and natural volcanic hot springs. Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín is located 15.5 miles (25 km) northeast of Guanacaste’s principal city of Liberia.
Article by Shannon Farley