The Rincón de la Vieja offers several hiking paths. We drive to the Pailas Area and spend some three hours on the round walk with steaming fumaroles and bubbling mud pots and joyful monkeys swinging in the branches. There are also more walks to waterfalls, but around noon it is simply too hot to do any more walking.
The sulfur scenting fumaroles
As we start our walk, we wonder, whether the forest is burning. Well, yes, could well be, all is very dry. But what we see in the trees is steam emitted by the fumaroles.
We smell sulfur in the air – like rotten eggs… this is how our first fumarole announces itself.
We smell sulfur again – this time it is a yellow steaming lake.
More fumaroles and a bubbling mud pot – blubblubbbluuubb.
Our last fumarole is the Volcancito also announcing itself with that penetrating sulfur odor.
All this shows that this area is active. The Rincón de la Vieja (old lady’s corner) has last erupted in 2012. The ascent has been closed since then for being too unsafe.
The dry shrubs and the dry forest
There is more than fumaroles to see in the Rincón. During the first part we walk in the torrid sun and the plants are very dry.
Then we are happy to reach the shady forest. This is a “Naked Indian” tree. This tree is very typical of Nicoya.
and fig trees that have robbed its host tree from light, until it died.
Hello monkeys and more
The park also provided us with animals. We found some birds, some monkeys and we could catch a. glance of an anteater rushing by.
Right at the entrance we saw a small group of spider monkeys jumping from one branch to the next. And later it was a herd of about forty white face monkeys that crossed our path high above us. They jumped,and run across the branches, incredibly fast. Sometimes they would swing using a liane, until the force of the swing allowed them to reach the next branch… and off they jumped. Once two monkeys sat on the same liane, swung back and forth, as if they really enjoyed it and then finally jumped off. We watched the herd – high up in the trees -, until our neck ached. In addition we could hear howler monkeys. They must have been close, but we could not see them.
We also came across some birds, among them a tucan, a gray hawk, a white throated mag-pie and the motmot with the tuft on its long tail. You have to enlarge this foto to see the motmot, it sits on the lowest branch.
So, sorry, there are no more fotos of the monkeys and the birds. They are too fast and too far away. We miss the Swarowsky telescope of Mauritius that we could use in Monteverde.