When visiting northern Guanacaste, adventure tours are one of the best things to do, especially at Rincon de la Vieja National Park. If you’re yearning to unleash your inner adventurer, sign up for a combo tour at the park as they are one of the best adventure tours in the province.
One of our favorites is the Guachipelin Combo Tour, which consists of a zipline, horseback riding, white water tubing, hot springs and mud baths. So many adventures in one day! No wonder it’s one of our favorite things to do in Guanacaste!
This post has been updated January 2018.
Hacienda Guachipelin Rincon de la Vieja One Day Tour
We did the Guachipelin one day tour which is the best value for your money when it comes to adventure activities. But Hacienda Guachipelin also has small cabins so you can stay on the property to experience more of the area and what they have.
Here is a map of the Hacienda Guachipelin property. As you can see, it’s huge and they have a ton of awesome things to do such as the waterfalls, lodges and river.
Hacienda Guachipelin Zipline
First, we did the canopy tour. We went to the tour guides to get us all suited up for ziplining: belt, harness, and gloves. But I noticed that they attached a second harness to my torso and this is because their canopy tour consists of ziplines, canyon rappel, a rock climb and tarzan swing!
The first few ziplines were a piece of cake, short and sweet and they even let us go upside down on a couple of them! Then came the more adventurous part: the rappel, rock climb and tarzan swing.
Even though I’m not very good at rock climbing and have only done it once, I knew that I couldn’t pass this up. I wanted to experience everything, even if I was scared. After I walked onto the bridge, I changed my mind.
Rock climbing was going to be the easy part! Rappel down a canyon upside down? No thanks! I watched the others go before me and almost walked away but Yeison marched me right ahead: everyone else made it safe and sound, why shouldn’t I?
OK so it actually wasn’t that far of a drop and our guy lowered me down slowly. All this was done over a river running in between the canyons so it was very pretty cool to be doing all this right in the middle of nature.
It wasn’t that high to climb… but there were two sides of the wall you could go on. Luckily, you are harnessed and attached to a line so the guide at the top can help pull you up if you are tired or get stuck.
After this climb, there was one more zipline, the hanging bridge and then end of the canopy tour. The ones that didn’t do the extra stunts took a shortcut and rejoined the group at the end.
After we finished the canopy tour, we headed back to the main office and got a little breather before our next activity: horseback riding! We geared up, got on our horses and headed off into the forest.
The horseback ride sometimes goes to the waterfalls on the property, sometimes they don’t. The last few times we’ve done this tour, the horseback ride didn’t go to the waterfalls anymore.
It’s about a 30 minute ride until you get to the end point. From there, you’ll get off your horse and get on a school bus to the white water tubing start point. Our guide explained to us about the tubing, the proper way to sit on the tube and safety tips. After that we put on our helmet and life jackets, carried our tube down and started our next adventure!
Hacienda Guachipelin Tubing
This river with class 1 and 2 rapids runs through Rincon de la Vieja and the entire tubing tour is a grand total of 5 kilometers (3.1 miles), lasting about 1-1.5 hours.
This was probably the most fun hour I’ve ever had. The rapids weren’t too big so there is very low chance of falling out or any feeling of danger but they were strong enough that you get knocked around enough like bumper boats and you have handles to hold onto. I felt like a little kid on a hot summer day at the water park except this time, I was floating around in a beautiful natural river!
There are lazy pools after every few falls where you can float around and take it all in: the delicious refreshing water, the sun, the gorgeous sky, the trees and the wildlife.
At first I thought an hour would be plenty of time for the tubing but at the end I was so bummed it was over already! By the time we finished, it was 2pm and I was ready for some delicious buffet lunch.
Lunch is a buffet style of typical Costa Rican food and it is excellent. They have rice, beans, spaghetti, salad, meats, bread and dessert. Their coffee and juice are delicious.
After lunch, you can take as much time as you want to get to the hot springs. You do need your own transportation for this part since the hot springs are not close to the main office. Drive towards the national park and you will see a sign for the Guachipelin hot springs to the right after a kilometer or so. Turn right and continue down until you see the hot spring entrance on your right. There is a small parking lot and entrance office.
Hacienda Guachipelin hot springs and mud baths
You can stay as long as you want at the hot springs which closes at 6. The receptionist will give you towels and there are bathrooms/changing stations at the entrance. From there, follow the trail down to the hot springs. You’ll cross one hanging bridge which has a great view of the hot springs!
The proper way to do the whole mud baths-hot springs thing is like this. First, cover yourself in mud. Like your whole face, body, chest, everything. Let it dry and then wash off in the showers or if you’re feeling adventurous, in the river. The water is cold so be prepared but it feels so good!
Once you wash all the mud off, then jump into the hot springs and relax! There were only two pools for the hot springs but they are right over a river so you are surrounded by nature. I loved the hot springs at Guachipelin since it’s right next to a river. Soaking in natural hot water while listening to the river running is so soothing and relaxing.
After the hot springs, you’ll feel SO relaxed and ready to go home. We stayed about 1 hour at the hot springs, any more than that and I was ready to fall asleep!
This is one of our favorite tours in Costa Rica since you get a little bit of everything in this tour: excitement, adrenaline and relaxation. It’s one of the best ways to experience the dry tropical forests of Guanacaste.
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If you want to do this tour and need transportation, please contact us for tour company recommendations. Please include the date of tour, how many adults and children and pick up location.
If you already have transportation, contact the hacienda to reserve your spots. We highly recommend reserving spots so that way you’re guaranteed to do the tour. In high season, it gets super busy and if you don’t arrive in time/don’t reserve beforehand, you may not be able to do all the activities. We recommend arriving around 8:45 AM to check in and get ready for the 9 AM tour.
If you arrive later, they switch up the activities according to number of people and may do the horseback riding and white water tubing first, ziplining last. I don’t particularly like this order since that means you’ll be wet doing the ziplining. You can change into dry clothes but then you’ll need to change back into your swimsuit for the hot springs.
Check out our video of our fun day of the Guachipelin combo tour!
Tips for Guachipelin Combo Tour
- Hiking sandals are the best shoes to wear for this tour. You can go from water to land easily, your feet can breathe and it won’t be uncomfortable if they get wet compared to wearing socks. You can’t wear flip flops horseback riding and you have to wear closed toed shoes during the white water tubing
- You can bring a camera but only a waterproof action camera that you can attach. GoPro are the best and safest options. Just make sure to bring the mount to attach it to the helmet
- There are bathrooms and changing facilities at the main area and at the hot springs.
- Mosquito repellent and sunscreen are a must.
- The rappel/tarzan swing part is optional. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, the guide will ask you if you want to do it.
- Eat a good breakfast! You won’t have lunch until about 1 or 2 PM.
- You will need your own transportation to the hot springs.
- Don’t lose the towels at the hot springs, they will charge you if you do.
Want to read about other activities in Guanacaste? Here you go!