When you are planning a visit in Costa Rica and you want to see some of the most iconic volcanoes and enjoy some soothing mud baths and hot springs, you probably won’t think about Miravalles. With Arenal and Rincon de la Vieja stealing the show, this little gem often goes by unnoticed even though it has the same natural splendor and far less tourists.
The Miravalles Volcano’s only historic eruption was a minor steam explosion in 1946. In fact, Costa Rica’s biggest geothermal fields are located in the surrounding area of Miravalles volcano. So it is far less erratic than the Irazu or even Poas volcano. At just under 50 kilometers from Liberia international airport, Miravalles is very easy to reach. It might not be the most well-known volcano in Costa Rica but is definitely worth a visit!
Miravalles Volcano National Park
The stunning Miravalles Volcano is located in the Guanacaste province where there is tropical yet dry climate. This beautiful volcano stands 1969ft (600m) above sea level raising a total height of 6654ft (2028m). The National Park makes up around 10,850 hectares of land. The Miravalles Volcano is an andesitic stratovolcano – a successive dramatic eruptions created the crater approximately 6-1.5 million years ago. If you like, you can even hike to the summit and enjoy spectacular views.
Relaxation at Miravalles
If you are looking for a day or two of ultimate relaxation, you won’t be disappointed. One of Miravalles’ best features are the thermal hot springs. The Yoko Termales offers 5 hot spring pools of temperatures around 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit). Other than enjoying e relaxing soak, the springs also feature picnic tables, a wet bar and a water slide. The Colinas de Miravalles has one big pool with a manmade waterfall and two smaller ones. Although technically part of a hotel, you can also drop by for a visit. If you are traveling with children, you can’t skip a visit to Thermomania. This waterpark has thermal pools inspired by cartoon characters as well as waterslides and play areas. While the kids play, you can enjoy a meal or a drink at the onsite restaurant and bar.
Llanos de Cortez Waterfall
At about half an hour from Miravalles, you can find the stunning Cortez waterfalls. Due to the convenient location from Liberia and the very short walk down, it is a very popular destination for locals and tourists alike. You can spread out a towel and enjoy the view, go for a refreshing swim or even climb to the top of the waterfall and soak in some of the rivers you can find up there. Tip: if you want to visit the falls, go early. They can get very busy around noon and in the afternoon.
The beaches can very well the main reason for your visit to Guanacaste, and rightly so. The closest coastal region is the Gulf of Papagayo where you can find beaches like Playa Hermosa, Playa Flamingo, Playas del Coco and Playa Panama. If you travel a bit more south, you can visit beaches like Playa Grande and Tamarindo. Tamarindo is a great place to pick up surfing! The Nicoya Peninsula will offer you stunning gems like Playa Samara and Playa Nosara where you can surf as well as enjoy world-class yoga resorts. Read more about the stunning Guanacaste beaches!
Visit between December and May: This is the Costa dry season and your vest chance for amazing weather as well as great views. Don’t forget your sunblock!
Plan a relaxing holiday: Many tourists travel to La Fortuna for the hot springs but if you come here, you can find the same levels of relaxation without the crowds.
Hike to the summit: If you are up for the challenge, try hiking to the summit! You can access the volcano through a private entrance by the town of Guayabo de Bagaces Here you pay the man whose entrance you are using a couple of dollars. Make sure to leave your details and emergency contacts with him as well as an estimate of when you will be back!
Visit Guanacaste beaches: You might make Miravalles a day trip from one of the amazing beaches Guanacaste has to offer. Make sure you visit at least a couple of them since they are all famous for different reasons!
The Miravalles volcano is located at a modest 46 kilometers from the international airport of Liberia. You can rent a car at the airport to get there or indeed arrange for a shuttle. You can take advantage of shared as well as private shuttles. Renting a car in Costa Rica will offer you the freedom to visit as many places as you want in the time you have available to you!
If you would like to experience some dining outside of the comforts of your resort, you can do so in the town of Bijagua de Upala located in the valley between the Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes. In the Humminbird Café, you can enjoy local as well as international cuisine. Make sure to try the Gallo Pinto for breakfast and the Casado for lunch! If you have a craving for high quality Italian food, pay a visit to Pizzeria El Barrigon.
Where to stay
The stunning Rio Perdido Resort is almost like a Costa Rica destination in itself. You can choose from 20 bungalows in a gorgeous, forested area. The 26 kilometer trails will offer you many hiking and biking opportunities. You can even take a zip line tour, enjoy the natural hot springs, take a yoga class or visit the spa.