Tenorio Volcano and Miravalles Protected Zone
The smooth cinder cone of Tenorio rises from the surrounding forest in symmetrical fashion, achieving a maximum height of 6,286 feet (1,916 m). A recent addition to the national parks system, Tenorio Volcano is characterized by an enamoring blend of forest teaming with unique fauna, as well as volcanic highlights resulting from the area's distinct geology, such as boiling hot springs and geysers.
At mid-elevation, montane rain forest and cloud forest provide lush habitats for the region's wildlife. Large felines such as cougars, ocelots, tapirs, and jaguars populate these unique habitats. The virgin forest extends to Tenorio's summit, lining the banks of the crater lake that fills its caldera. The summit can be accessed via the Lago las Dantas Trail, which winds its way from the park's base through the serene cloud forest.
A ranger station at the foot of the volcano provides some information regarding the area, but services are otherwise nearly nonexistent. Accommodations can be found at the nearby village of Bijagua, though nothing too fancy. A number of locals offer horseback tours of the area at modest prices.
Across Highway 6 is Tenorio's sister volcano, Miravalles, standing at 6,653 feet (2,028 m), the highest peak in the Guanacaste Mountains (Cordillera de Guanacaste). Although a dormant volcano, Miravalles has earned protective status due to its surrounding tropical vegetation and geological activity: steam spewing fishers, sulfur springs, and bubbling mud pools. An underground reservoir is the site of a geothermal energy plant at Las Hornillas that converts resident steam to electricity. The project is run by the Institute of Electricity, which accepts inquiring minds interested in visiting the project at the base of Miravalles.
Visitors interested in bathing in hot springs may do so at the Centro Turistico Yökö, where soothing whirlpool spas are available at the base of the park.