Green season in Guanacaste, Costa Rica is when the waterfalls at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano really show off.
Near Rincon de la Vieja hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, four waterfalls flow, and all of them have pools where you can swim. Getting to the waterfalls is an adventure on its own – either by hiking or horseback riding. The Hacienda Guachipelin Adventure Center organizes waterfall tours, which last usually two to three hours and are available between 7:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
The 115-foot (35-meter) Victoria Waterfall on the Rio Negro (Black River) is where the river tubing trips start their adventure downriver. The surrounding canyon has unique vegetation and topography, and you can swim in the pool at the waterfall’s base.
How to get there: A 45-minute each-way horseback ride on a scenic trail, and a short, steep descent to the waterfall; or a one hour each-way scenic hike on the same trail.
Two waterfalls cascade into a beautiful sky blue mineral water pool in this amphitheater canyon at Chorreras Waterfall – the closest to Hacienda Guachipelin. It is an excellent place for a cooling swim, or just to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
How to get there: A 25-minute each-way horseback ride on a scenic trail, and short walk to the waterfall; or a 45-minute each-way scenic hike on the same trail.
Located near the Las Pailas entrance to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, the Oropéndola Waterfall plunges an impressive 82 feet (25 meters) in a beautiful canyon of the Rio Blanco (White River). The sparkling turquoise pool below makes for a refreshing swim.
How to get there: A 45-minute each-way horseback ride on a scenic trail, and short walk to the waterfall; or a 1.5 hour each-way scenic hike; or a 15-minute drive and short walk.
The Cangreja Waterfall is located inside the Rincon de la Vieja National Park forest. Spilling 130 feet (40 meters) in a white ribbon of water out of the green forest, the waterfall forms a celestial blue pool at its base; its color comes from dissolved copper minerals from the volcano. The only way to get to this waterfall is by hiking 3 miles (5 km) into the national park.
How to get there: 15-minute drive to the national park entrance and then hiking.
Green season is the best time to visit Rincon de la Vieja (May to November), when the volcano’s fumaroles and boiling mud pots are most active. In green season, you can enjoy great Costa Rica travel deals at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence 2014 winner. Hacienda Guachipelin has the best Guanacaste Costa Rica adventure tours, and afterward, you can enjoy a warm volcanic mud bath and soak in the hotel’s natural hot springs.
Article by Shannon Farley