Rincón de la Vieja Volcano

Coordinates: 10°49′48″N 85°19′26″W / 10.83000°N 85.32389°W / 10.83000; -85.32389
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Rincón de la Vieja
Rincón de la Vieja volcano
Highest point
Elevation1,916 m (6,286 ft)[1]
Coordinates10°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
LocationGuanacaste, Costa Rica
Parent rangeCordillera de Guanacaste
Mountain typeComplex volcano
Last eruption2015 to 2020 (ongoing)[2]

Rincón de la Vieja is an active andesitic complex volcano in north-western Costa Rica, about 23 km (14 mi) from Liberia, in the province of Guanacaste.


Its name means "The Old Woman's Corner", or "Old Woman’s Nook" a reference to a local legend about princess Curabanda whose lover Mixcoac, chief of a neighboring enemy tribe, who was thrown into the crater by her father Curabande, when he learned about their affair. She went on living on the side of the volcano, giving birth to a son. To be with its father, she threw her son into the volcano, too. She continued to live on the volcano and became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing.[3]

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 National Park. It erupted most recently in June 2021. The volcano has many 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 2021, only Rincón de la Vieja, Turrialba and Poás are considered active.

Geothermal energy[edit]

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

There are many 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.[4]

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.[5][6]


The Rincón de la Vieja Volcano is set within the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, which spans over 12,759 ha (31,530 acres) 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.[7]

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 36.5 metres (120 ft) from the regular crater lagoon.[8]

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



  • 23 May 2017,[9] eruptions occurred and lahars flowed through nearby rivers.
  • 11 June 2017,[10] eruptions occurred and lahars flowed through nearby rivers.


  • 4–6 April 2020, hydrothermal, gas, and steam eruption.[11]
  • 19 April 2020, a 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) ash column eruption occurs which prompts the authorities to activate emergency protocols in the surrounding areas.[12]
  • 1 June 2020, a 1.5 kilometres (0.93 mi) ash column eruption occurred at 5 pm, activity has been ongoing since April.[13]
  • 28 June 2021, a 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) ash column eruption occurred at 5:42 am. [14]
  • 21 April 2023, a 7.5 kilometres (4.7 mi) volcanic cloud was released at 3:57 pm. It was also reported that materials from the volcano’s lagoon were expelled to the northern side of the cone and had reached several surrounding rivers. [15][16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Rincón de la Vieja". Global Volcanism Program. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  2. ^ "Rincón de la Vieja volcano". 19 Feb 2018.
  3. ^ "Meaning of the Volcano's Name". 4 Aug 2019.
  4. ^ Huttrer G.W. (2001), The status of world geothermal power generation 1995-2000, Geothermics, v.30, p.1-27
  5. ^ "Geothermal power: Costa Rica's next clean energy solution? - Enchanting Costa Rica". Enchanting-costarica.com. 29 August 2013. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-05-28. Retrieved 2015-05-28.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Stater, Adam. "Rincón de la Vieja National Park". Anywherecostarica.com. Retrieved 1 October 2017.
  8. ^ "Minaet limita acceso a cráter del Rincón de la Vieja por erupción". Nacion.com. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  9. ^ "Volcán Rincón de la Vieja lanza inesperada erupción freática". nacion.com. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  10. ^ "Volcán Rincón de la Vieja generó erupción y lahares este domingo". Nacion.com. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  11. ^ Rojas, Pablo (6 April 2020). "Así fue la nueva erupción del volcán Rincón de la Vieja". crhoy.com. Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  12. ^ Solano, Johel (20 April 2020). "(Video) Volcán Rincón de la Vieja hace nueva erupción y columna alcanza los 1500 metros". crhoy.com. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  13. ^ "Rincón de la Vieja hizo erupción de 2 kilómetros de altura". crhoy.com. 1 June 2020.
  14. ^ "Rincon de la Vieja Volcano Registers Strong Eruption". The Tico Times. 28 June 2021.
  15. ^ "Costa Rica's Rincon de la Vieja Volcano Registers Strong Eruption". The Tico Times. 21 April 2022. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  16. ^ "Costa Rica: Volcán Rincón de la Vieja presentó fuerte erupción". Diario Digital Nuestro País (in Spanish). 2023-04-22. Retrieved 2023-04-24.

External links[edit]