It was cloudy before the rain (better for my radiation-damaged skin) but I could see, hear and smell the rain coming. Soon after I was back from my “Country Lane” Walk, our afternoon shower started which has become regular now, meaning that the rainy season has really started, after severa false-starts. 🙂 The above feature photo is from my terrace with rain in the hills behind Atenas Centro and soon it came all over. I never tire of trying to make a photo of those hills which are never the same. This one is a 4-shot panorama.
This final post on the Rincón de la Vieja trip shares some scenery and a little more about the hotel and park that I hope provides a “sense of place” concerning this unique national park and adjacent hotel.
Sense of place is the sixth sense, an internal compass and map made by memory and spatial perception together.
In the northwestern corner of Costa Rica there are volcanoes and ranches. Rincón de la Vieja is unique to all the volcano parks in this drier, western part of the country, reminding me of the southwestern U.S. with persons riding horses as common as bikes and wildness depicts the beauty and sense of place. Plus this hotel is a working ranch. Here’s two galleries and brief evaluations of both the hotel and the place.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelín
Hacienda Guachipelín is a large, old, ranch-style hotel on more than 2,000 hectors of land with more waterfalls than the park (8) and it is a working farm & ranch where you can actually be “a cowboy for a day” helping real cowhands or just take one of several horseback riding trips. And seasonally watch a rodeo!
All the typical adventure tours are also available like zip lines, white water rafting, tubing, rappelling, canyoneering, biking, ATV, hot springs & mud baths, a Spa, plus an on-property serpentarium, butterfly garden, Mirador (scenic overlook), and more trails than you will likely use!
My room was basic, comfortable and good for my purposes. It was a longer walk to the restaurant than some and if you need to be close, request that when making your reservation. They offered to move me but I need the walks!
The restaurant food is okay good, just not great, with the wait staff service also mediocre except for the separate bar which had great service! In high season or fuller capacity the restaurant is all buffet style and breakfast is buffet even in low season (now). I am not fond of buffets. 🙂 I ate my usual two meals a day here; a big breakfast from the buffet & omelette bar with an early, good dinner from the menu at outdoor Bar (one of above photos). Restaurant didn’t start dinner until 6:30.
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Sorry I failed to get photos of horseback-riders!
My favorite farm road!
In foothills of mountains.
All national parks are well maintained here!
Working farm – Greenhouse for Tomatoes.
Vista from Hotel Mirador.
Vistas from all over hotel grounds.
Crested Guan in the Park.
One or two trips to the park is enough to see most everything there. Had I gone a second time I would have done the 10-K walk to their largest waterfall, Cangreja Waterfall, but didn’t this time. Much of the rest is like a smaller Yellowstone park with lots of thermal activity from the volcano (hot springs, bubbling mud, steam or smoke, and yellow rocks from the sulfur).
There is actually more to see and do on the hotel property than in the park, especially for the adventurer or the bird-watcher. And though I saw birds in both places, you see more on hotel property because it is more open and walking the farm roads is the best way to see and photograph birds. I saw 25-30 species, photographing most and got four new birds, “Lifers,” here: the Lesser Ground Cuckoo, White-fronted Parrot, Magpie Jay, and Western Wood Pewee. Very good for me! Plus I got two new butterfly species and some new snakes in their serpentarium.
“I like this place and could willingly waste my time in it.”