Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

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Rincón de la Vieja
Guanacaste National Park.jpg
Rincón de la Vieja volcano
Highest point
Elevation 1,916 m (6,286 ft) [1]
Coordinates 10°49′48″N 85°19′26″W / 10.83000°N 85.32389°W / 10.83000; -85.32389Coordinates: 10°49′48″N 85°19′26″W / 10.83000°N 85.32389°W / 10.83000; -85.32389[1]
Rincón de la Vieja is located in Costa Rica
Rincón de la Vieja
Rincón de la Vieja
Costa Rica
Location Guanacaste, Costa Rica
Parent range Cordillera de Guanacaste
Mountain type Complex volcano
Last eruption 2015 to 2018 (Ongoing)[2]

Rincón de la Vieja (from Spanish, "Corner of the Old Woman") is an active andesitic complex volcano in north-western Costa Rica, about 23 km from Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste. Its name means "The Old Woman's Corner", a reference to a local legend about a girl whose lover was thrown into the crater by her father; she became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing.

Rincón de la Vieja stands 1,916 metres (6,286 ft) above sea level, and its summit is the highest point in Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park. It erupted most recently in September 2011. The volcano has a large number of fumaroles and hot springs on its slopes. It is formed by felsic lava.

Rincón de la Vieja is one of six active Costa Rican volcanoes: the others are Poás, Irazú, Miravalles, Arenal, and Turrialba.

As of 2017, only Rincon de la vieja, Turrialba and Poas are considered active.

Geothermal energy[edit]

Hot Spring in Rincón de la Vieja National Park, Costa Rica
Detail of the volcano

There are a large number of hot pools and areas of bubbling mud in two areas on the slopes of the volcano, indicating substantial reserves of geothermal energy. Investigations have been carried out into the feasibility of tapping these reserves, and the volcano is estimated to have a generating potential of 140 megawatts. However, as the area is protected within a national park, drilling was limited to test wells until 2001.[3]

In 2013, the extension of the Las Pailas Geothermal Power Plant to 55 megawatt, financed in part by a credit from the European Investment Bank, was started.[4][5]


The Rincón de la Vieja Volcano is set within the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, which spans over 34,000 acres (12,759 ha) and helps protect both montane forests and dwarf cloud forests. Trails extend from the Santa Maria ranger station and wind through the park, passing hot springs and waterfalls along the way. Mammals within the park include sloths, tapirs, kinkajous, pumas, jaguar, and both howler and spider monkeys.[6]

Previously, hikers could climb to the crater and guides experienced in wildlife, birdwatching, geology and other interests are available.

As of September 22, 2011, access to the crater is no longer available due to the eruption of September 16 where volcanic ash and mud rose over 120 feet from the regular crater lagoon.[7]

Several lodges, resorts and hotels in the area offer hiking, forest canopy tours, horseback riding, river-rafting, all-terrain-vehicle riding and wall-climbing.


On May 23, 2017[8] and June 11, 2017[9], eruptions occurred and lahars flowed through nearby rivers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rincón de la Vieja". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  2. ^ "Rincón de la Vieja volcano". 19 Feb 2018. 
  3. ^ Huttrer G.W. (2001), The status of world geothermal power generation 1995-2000, Geothermics, v.30, p.1-27
  4. ^ "Geothermal power: Costa Rica's next clean energy solution? - Enchanting Costa Rica". Enchanting-costarica.com. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2015-05-28. 
  6. ^ Stater, Adam. "Rincón de la Vieja National Park". Anywherecostarica.com. Retrieved 1 October 2017. 
  7. ^ "Minaet limita acceso a cráter del Rincón de la Vieja por erupción". Nacion.com. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  8. ^ "Volcán Rincón de la Vieja lanza inesperada erupción freática". nacion.com. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 
  9. ^ "Volcán Rincón de la Vieja generó erupción y lahares este domingo". Nacion.com. Retrieved 30 September 2017. 

External links[edit]