What to expect
The Las Pailas area, which means “the Cauldrons” in Spanish, spectacularly shows off the awesome power of the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, the largest and most active volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Steam and sulfur pour out of yellow and rust-colored ground at natural fumaroles. Clay and coffee-colored pools boil with hot volcanic water. Smooth gray volcanic mud bubbles and explodes in large pits. It’s an experience like no other volcano in Costa Rica.
With a bilingual naturalist guide, you will hike the Las Pailas loop trail 2.5 miles (3.5 km) through dry tropical forest. The park is home to more than 300 bird species, and other animals like armadillos, collared peccaries, iguanas, snakes, white-nosed coatis, and white-faced, howler and spider monkeys.
When you finish your hike, you’ll be ready for a swim in the Oropendola Waterfall, located near the national park entrance. The falls plunge an impressive 82 feet (25 meters) to a cool turquoise pool in the lush canyon of the Rio Blanco (White River).
A short distance from the waterfall and surrounded by thick forest, the volcanic hot springs at the Rio Negro (“Black River”) are heated naturally by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The crystal clear river flows through 10 man-made pools filled with the steaming mineral-rich water. You can access pools (of varying temperatures) on both sides of the river by two hanging bridges. Heated volcanic clay is available to smooth all over like a “spa body masque.” There are changing rooms, bathrooms, and lockers at the hot springs entrance.
MEALS INCLUDED: No
RATES: Adults: $115
MINIMUM: 2 people
WHAT TO BRING? Hiking or tennis shoes, long pants, comfortable clothes, swimsuit, camera, waterproof sunscreen, insect repellent, and a hat.
- The Rincon de la Vieja National Park is closed on Mondays.
- The entrance fee of $15.00 to the National Park is included in the tour rates.