Hacienda with Horseback-Riding Tours, Volcanic Mud Baths, and More
The Costa Rican volcano known as Rincón de la Vieja—"The Old Woman's Corner"—takes its name from a local legend of a lovelorn recluse who honed her supernatural healing powers while living on the mountain. To this day, Rincón de la Vieja is believed to have therapeutic benefits, and travelers come from far and wide to take advantage of its natural hot springs and bubbling mud baths. Located at the base of the mountain, Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin sits amid rainforests, waterfalls, and butterfly gardens, all of which combine to suggest an enchanted paradise.
The natural setting is echoed throughout the hotel. Guest rooms feature wood furniture and large windows looking out on the grounds. Volcanic springs fill the outdoor pool, and a terrarium houses Caribbean basilisks and exotic lizards.
In the morning, La Hacienda Restaurant offers an American-style breakfast buffet in an open-air setting. With the included adventure pass, you can rappel down a canyon or tube along Rio Negro. Ranch hands at the stables lead horseback tours of the surrounding forests or to Victoria waterfall. The adrenaline subsides at Symbiosis Spa, where mud wraps and hot springs let guests soothe their muscles.
Guanacaste, Costa Rica: Forested Mountains and Legendary Surfing Beaches
The province of Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica takes its name from the Guanacaste tree, an umbrella-shaped species also known, less picturesquely, as the earpod tree. These trees blanket the slopes of the Guanacaste and Tilaran Mountains, helping to shelter the coastline from rainstorms and keep the beaches warm and dry.
Stick to the shore of bustling Playas del Coco and you'll find plenty of waterfront activities as well as lively nightlife. But it's worth heading farther afield to take in some of the province's national parks. Starting in October, Marino las Baulas National Park serves as a major nesting ground for leatherback turtles. And in the north, Santa Rosa National Park is known for its legendary surf breaks, including one featured in the documentary The Endless Summer II.
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