There are several haciendas and nature lodges on the lower slopes of Rincón de la Vieja . Together they offer a panoply of activities. All accept day visitors.
The Rinconcito Canopy Tour ($30), at Rinconcito Lodge (tel. 506/2200-0074, www.rinconcitolodge.com ), has 10 platforms and seven cables, plus horseback riding and hiking.
La Anita Rainforest Ranch (tel. 506/2466-0228 or 8388-1775, www.laanitarainforestranch.com ), a macadamia, cacao, and organic fruit farm near Colonial Libertad, on the northeast side of the mountain, offers educational day tours ($50), including a rainforest hike, a cart-ride through the plantation, and a chocolate-making class. It is most easily reached via Aguas Claras.
Hacienda Lodge Guachipelín (tel. 506/2666-8075, www.guachipelin.com ), a centenarian working cattle ranch east of Curubandé, 18 kilometers from Highway 1 and eight kilometers south of the Santa María Ranger Station, offers more than 1,000 hectares of terrain from dry forest to open savanna, plus a 1,200-hectare tree-reforestation project.
Activities include guided horseback rides ($35–60 adults, $15–50 children) and a cattle round-up; volcano hikes ($25–60 adults, $20–50 children); river tubing and horseback riding ($55 adults, $35 children); plus the Cañón Canopy Tour ($50 adults, $40 students, $30 children), where you can whiz across a canyon and between treetops from 10 platforms. A one-day Adventure Pass ($80 adults, $75 students, $70 children) lets you partake in all the fun. Afterwards you’ll want to soothe away any aches at its Simbiosis Volcanic Mud Springs & Spa (www.simbiosis-spa.com ), close to the Las Pailas Ranger Station.
Rincón de la Vieja Lodge (tel. 506/2666-2441, www.hotelrincondelavieja.com ), five kilometers beyond Hacienda Lodge Guachipelín and only one kilometer below the park near Las Pailas, is a superb base for exploring the park, with six types of tropical forest on its 900-acre private reserve. It, too, offers a zip-line canopy tour with 21 platforms, plus horse tours and hiking.
White-water rafting, kayaking, rock-climbing, a canopy tour, rappelling, and horseback riding are also offered on the Río Colorado from the Cañón de la Vieja Lodge (tel. 506/2665-5912, www.canyonlodgegte.com ), three kilometers along the Curubandé road.
Beyond Cañas Dulces, four kilometers east of Highway 1 (the turnoff is 11 kilometers north of Liberia—don’t mistake this for Cañas, farther south on Hwy. 1), the road turns to dirt and climbs uphill 13 kilometers to Buena Vista Mountain Lodge & Adventure Center (tel. 506/2665-7759, www.buenavistalodgecr.com ), a 1,600-hectare ranch nestling high on the northwest flank of the mountain.
The lodge offers a variety of guided hikes and horseback trips ($30–45). It has an 11-platform zip-line canopy tour ($40); an aerial trail with 17 hanging bridges ($25); and a 420-meter water slide—like a toboggan run—ending with a plunge into a pool ($15). It also has frogs, snakes, and butterfly exhibits ($10), plus the deluxe Tizate Wellness Garden Hot Springs & Spa, with five thermal pools linked by boardwalks and a sumptuous massage and treatment center.
One kilometer below Buena Vista Lodge, a side road leads three kilometers to Hotel Borinquen Mountain Resort Thermae & Spa (tel. 506/2690-1900, www.borinquenresort.com ), an upscale mountain resort built around bubbling pilas (mud ponds) that feed the lovely Amhra Sidae Spa, which specializes in thermal treatments, including full-body mineral mud masks ($65). It has plunge pools (one hot, one tepid, one cold) and a beautiful landscaped swimming pool with whirlpool tub. Borinquen also offers guided hiking, horseback riding, a waterfall ride, and a canopy adventure ($55 adults, $27.50 children). It is surrounded by primary forest accessed by trails (pass on the lame “ecotour”). One-day packages are available.
Buses depart Liberia  daily for Cañas Dulces at 5:30 A.M., noon, and 5:30 P.M.