Rincón de la Vieja Volcano National Park is known worldwide as one of the best places to practice mountain biking and hiking in Costa Rica, personally one of my favourite places in the country. Its dry tropical forest is one of the last in the area and it´s worth the visit.
My main concern when planning my tours in the country to enjoy mountain biking is to assure that there is an established route, in addition to knowing the details of distance and altimetry (ascent and descent). I was surprised when I discovered that Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin has everything ready, trails created especially for mountain bike tours, demarcated by difficulty and clear information.
Upon arrival at the Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, we were greeted by the staff in charge of the adventure centre, next to the main hotel entrance. In the adventure centre, all the activities available in the area are programmed, such as horseback riding, canopy, tubing, and, of course, mountain bike tours.
The trails are free for hotel guests. So if you are staying at the hotel, it is best to go to the reception and pick up the wristband so that there are no problems at the entrance. Otherwise, you will be charged for access to the trails. The hotel also offers bicycle rental.
|2 hours||4 hours||All-day|
|Mountain Bike Rental
Source: Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin, 2020
After a very pleasant welcome and a brief but concise explanation about the distances of the trails, we set off. We decided to use the Oropéndola trail to get to the entrance of the Rincón de la Vieja National Park and then return back to the hotel along the Jaguarundi trail.
Information on the route:
|Oropéndola Trail||Jaguarundí Trail|
Distance: 4.8 Km
Ascent: 244 Mts
Descent: 20 Mts
Distance: 7.1 Km
Ascent: 40 Mts
Descent: 280 Mts
The Oropéndola trail has a medium difficulty, it is a combination of a trail inside a dry forest, with some technical areas and open pastures. It is an incredible opportunity to enjoy this forest and the sound of the birds while exercising. Even though this trail is an ascent path, the truth is that it is not very demanding.
Special attention should be given to the cattle that are in the area! It is true that they are not aggressive, they are locally known as "oxen". On the way, you can find groups of these animals, in my case, I found them in the middle of the path resting. I decided to surround them so they wouldn´t feel disturbed. I never really felt they wanted to attack me, but it was my choice and I had no problem.
Arriving at the entrance of Rincon de la Vieja National Park, in a place called "Las Pailas", the hotel Hacienda Guachipelin has a small place where they sell drinks and snacks, an excellent place to buy a sandwich for lunch or eat some packed lunch. This place is good to leave the bicycles. The staff is very friendly and helpful, and it is a good idea to take a chain along to leave it safely.
At the entrance of the park, there are professionals in charge of the interpretation of the place, the staff of the park explains very well about the trails offered in the park and explains every detail to visitors. The trail "Las Pailas" is the best to combine with our cycling tour.
The highlight of the trail is its easy access to the bubbling mud pots, undoubtedly an interesting experience.
When leaving the path of the national park, a good option is to visit the Oropéndola waterfall, property of the Hacienda Guachipelin hotel. The entrance is in front of the small “pulpería” (a Costa Rican expression for a local and small supermarket) of the hotel at the entrance of the national park. This waterfall is very nice and has a natural pool where you can swim a little and refresh yourself for the physical effort.
After a well-deserved rest, it was time for the descent by bike along the Jaguarundí trail, the best of the day. This is a bit technical descent but it is a wonderful experience, again, you cross the forest, pastures, wooden bridges (built for the bike trail), an excellent path and a reward for the effort of the ascent. In some sectors, it´s a little bit dark so it is necessary to lower the speed of descent. Between jumps, skids and adrenaline screams, we arrived at the adventure centre of the Hacienda Guachipelin hotel, an excellent moment to celebrate with a cold beer at the end of the afternoon, tell our experiences, check scrapes on legs and arms, sitting with slight cramps in the legs due to physical effort, while we admire the wonderful tropical dry forest of the Bajura de Guanacaste and we look each other approving the day as one of the most memorable experiences of our lives.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is located about 45 minutes from Liberia, Guanacaste. (40 Km). The access is in excellent condition and any vehicle can enter.
Read more about the Guanacaste Province in which the Rincón de la Vieja National Park is located. Jenny lived here for several years.
It is possible to enter your own bicycle. A safety helmet is mandatory to enter the trail.
Clothing and equipment for the activity including insect repellent, sunscreen.
Bathing suit (It is possible to bathe in the Oropendola waterfall).
Cash to pay the entrance to the National Park (around USD 17).
A bicycle chain to be able to secure bicycles while walking in the park.
Appropriate shoes for walking in the national park.
Portable photo camera.
The trails for mountain bikes offered by the Hacienda Guachipelin hotel are a very nice option for lovers of this sport in Costa Rica. For their location, design, and cost they represent a unique opportunity to venture without the need to pay a private tour. Also combined with the walk inside the national park. It´s an all-day special activity for the average adventurer and an unforgettable experience.
Do you have more comments or recommendations for this activity? Do you want to have more details? Let me know in your comments.
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Apdo 799 – 1007
San José, Costa Rica
Licenced by the Costa Rican Tourist Board: Lic ICT OT 294
Liability insurance: Instituto Costarricense de Seguros (INS) Coverage: Territory of the Republic of Costa Rica