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“Loved every minute of it!!”
Review of Miravalles Volcano

Miravalles Volcano
Book In Advance
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US$148.00*
and up
Miravalles Crater and Waterfalls from Tamarindo
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Level Contributor
32 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Loved every minute of it!!”
Reviewed 18 January 2014

We booked through alexonthebeach.com and I would highly recommend! We did 5 excursions on this day and loved every one!

Visited January 2014
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1 Thank KimiTravels73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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73 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Diriamba, Nicaragua
Level Contributor
52 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Nature -- beautiful”
Reviewed 12 January 2014

We only stayed here for half a day since we did not come with an organized tour. While we were there, many people wandered in and out without reporting to the office -- and no one seemed to care. The person on staff was laying in the office in a hammock, watching TV, when we came. Supplies were scattered on the floor. She called another person to guide us. (We actually read the sign that said to go to the office before entering.) The guide was not knowledgeable about volcanic activity and knew little about the geothermic energy that was generated in the area.
This place might have been a wonderful place but seems to have lost its direction. Rebar peaks and pokes from the cement tables. The shelters close to the swimming pools were poorly maintained. Things appear unloved.
The redeeming part -- the reason I did not give it terrible -- is that the natural beauty is still there.

Visited January 2014
Helpful?
6 Thank bellabolivia7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Elgin, Illinois
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“AMAZING from beginning to end!!”
Reviewed 22 December 2013

Booked this tour through Luis Solutions on the beach. He was very accommodating, pleasant to deal with and gave us a VERY good price. We started at 7:30 am and returned about 5:30 pm. Our driver, Cristian, took us in a new 6 passenger Hundai van. He spoke very good English, explained many interesting facts about Costa Rica, the volcanoes, which we viewed from a distance 5 of them as we began our venture to the Zip Lines. We trecked up the hillside to the first of 11 lines which were in the forest. The guides were knowledgeable, made sure we were safe, and took our cameras to take individual pictures of us. They always knew who's camera was who's. Then we were off to lunch at a restaurant at the top of a mountain side. The lunch gave you a taste of Costa Rican food (chicken, rice, beans, ice cream). Then we were off to horseback ride up a trail, in a misty rain, to the Llanor del Cortes Waterfall. Absolutely beautiful. Afterwards we went to the crater where we put mud all over ourselves, dried, and then sat in a pool of hot springs. Finally we washed off and headed back to Riu Palace. It was a well worth the money and time. We then booked a Sunset Catamaran which was amazing. Also, Carolina, SPA #2, is his wife and she provided a massage for my husband and I for the price of one as a gift for our 40th Wedding Anniversary. That was the ultimate massage from head to toe, it was so relaxing just lying there listening to the waves and having someone massage almost every inch of your body. WOW!! what a vacation this was. We will definetly go back to Costa Rica. Pura Vida (Good Life) If interested send Luis an email at luissolutions2012@gmail.com and set up your tours ahead of time. You will not be dissapointed. He will work within your budget on any tour available.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Gail Y
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Canton, Michigan
Level Contributor
143 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 112 helpful votes
“A Wonderful Bit of Everything”
Reviewed 16 July 2013

Our family stayed at the Westin Playa Conchal (see separate review coming soon), and we booked this half-day trip through Erik on the beach. After a bit of bartering, we settled on a fair price. We were picked up at the hotel lobby by Enrique, who was our driver for the day. The tour vehicle was roomy, air conditioned, and comfortable. Enrique drove conservatively and safely.

Tip #1: Take towels, and wear swimsuits with cover-ups or tee shirts. Don't wear your best stuff, as the mud/clay may stain. Take clothes to change into later.

After about a two hour drive, we arrived at the location. Miravalles last erupted over 50 years ago, and the primary crater is inactive. However, it is usually covered by cloud, mist, or fog, so the pictures appear to be of an active site. Tell your own tales as you choose.

We were the first guests of the day. Upon arrival, we were introduced to Fernando, our tractor driver and guide, and five dogs, who we promptly named: Quinn (the blue-eyed Husky), Luis, Pepe, and Crema (the three chihuahuas), and Avocado (the toy Doberman). The dogs were with us for most of the day, and were quite friendly.

We climbed into a wagon equipped with what looked like old schoolbus seats, and Fernando fired up the tractor. We then took a very bumpy ride up the mountainside, stopping at the entrance to the suspension bridge.

TIP #2: There are a couple of tighter squeezes on this hike. No big deal, but there's really no reason for a backpack. It's only a 45 minute trip or so, depending on how much you play int he pools. Leave excess goods with the driver, but do take your camera.

The bridge looks worse than it is, as the anchor cables are substantial, as is the flooring. However, the chicken wire on the sides doesn't seem that sturdy, so I wouldn't recommend placing too much trust in that. However, you can get some nice shots of the waterfall from the bridge center, and Enrique was kind enough to take a shot of each family member as they crossed. On the way up, we all crossed at once, which caused considerable sway. On the way back, we crossed separately, for the pictures, and because the wind had picked up. Depending on your family's tolerance, adjust accordingly.

The hike up to the waterfalls is not strenuous, but it is an upward trek. And you are in the rain forest. And it was the rainy season. So the trail is over wet rocks and leaves, with some opportunity to slip and fall, particularly on the way down. Not a trail for flip flops, and not one to rush. If you slip, as my oldest daughter did, the volcanic rock is not kind.

The waterfalls are beautiful, and you can get some wonderful shots. You can get as wet as you'd like, standing under the falls, or wading in the pools. You may or may not be doing this with dogs.

Then it's back down a different path, across the suspension bridge, and back into the wagon.

We saw a lot more wildlife on the way back down to the site, and Fernando was good at pointing out lizards, parakeets, iguanas, and butterflies. He was also good about stopping, allowing me to take a number of shots.

Once you arrive back at the site, it's time for lunch. The food is local and good, and you have your choice of chicken, fish, or pork.

After lunch, you are given a locker key, and you strip down to swimsuits.

Tip #3: Go with the flow. Yes, some of the following things may be out of your comfort zone. But you're on vacation, and part of visiting new places is doing new things. Set a good example for your kids by joining in the fun.

Fernando then takes you on a tour of the secondary crater. It is active with volcanic activity. Needless to say, you need to watch your step. There are pools of boiling water, pits of boiling mud, and fumaroles belching sulphur and other gases. Not the place to let your kids run around unattended.

Fernando explains many of the features, and it's interesting and educational.

One thing we noticed: the steps and railings are wood. Depending on the location in the crater, the ground is very hot, and some of the wood is smouldering, turning slowly to charcoal. Kinda neat to see.

After the tour, he makes a paste of red clay and volcanic runoff, and begins painting your faces, and in some cases, your hair. Just let him. It's a little weird, but you'll love the pictures later. Fernando will help out with pictures, if necessary, and he knows his way around a DSLR.

He then takes you to the "spa": sauna, mud bath, hot springs, showers. All the features are heated by the volcano, and this is a very relaxing time. Sauna first, to open the pores, then to the mud bath. Paint the grey mud on, take pictures to laugh at later, and shower it off. Into the three tubs: hot, warm, and cold (very cold).

At that point, we got to do something I don't see in the other reviews posted here. Fernando took us up the hill a bit, handed us helmets and inner tubes, and began filling a big reservoir, connected to a concrete channel. He shoved the inner tubes over our shoulders, then crossed our arms beneath them, a flexible strait jacket of sorts. You then lie down in the concrete channel, and, once the reservoir is filled, Fernando opens the floodgate, and 1,000 gallons of water hits you, propelling you like a cork from a champagne bottle, down an 800' long "water slide". It's terrifying, out of control, and a blast!

Tip #4 - keep your arms crossed under the tube. I've got a 4" gash on my elbow from when it came free of the tube, and rubbed the side. It's a rough concrete, and it peeled my skin in a second. Painful, but not serious. Again, just a warning.

You land in a good-sized pool/basin, and there are great photos to be had from someone standing in the pool across from the bottom of the slide. If you have a sport mode on your camera (3-5 frames per second), this is the time and place to use it!

Once was enough for me and my oldest daughter, but my other two kids went three times. We all were very glad we did it; it was an unexpected pleasure.

From there, it's time to change into some dry clothes for the ride home. Retrieve your stuff from the locker, hit the changing room, and buy a refreshing beverage for the ride home. Tip Fernando, because this is the last time you'll see him ($5-10 is plenty). Load up, and let Enrique drive you home.

On the way back, we saw more wildlife, including a black howler monkey immediately over the road. Enrique stopped and allowed me to shoot him for 10 minutes or so, and those are the closest monkey shots I got all trip.

Enrique dropped us back at the Westin lobby, and we spent that night's dinner discussing what a great day it had been. And isn't that what you want from a vacation?

Visited June 2013
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14 Thank AccidentalGlobetrttr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rahway, New Jersey
Level Contributor
146 reviews
56 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 209 helpful votes
“Fun half-day activity”
Reviewed 23 June 2013

Our hosts at La Finca Anita recommended the Las Hornillas tour to us, and we really enjoyed it, Our guide Fernando drove a group of about 10 people (plus a few friendly farm dogs!) in a tractor to an area with several waterfalls and hanging bridges. There is walking involved but it is not a difficult hike at all. We were able to swim in the first waterfall - you could enter either by jumping off or climbing down a ladder. The water was cold but very refreshing. Fernando also offered to take pictures from the platform above. We were also able to wade into a second smaller waterfall and stand right under the spray. The hanging bridges were amazing - I believe they were 80 meters up and rather long. I don't recommend them if you have any issues with heights, though. It didn't seem like we were restricted with time at all, which was nice. We basically stayed at each location as long as we wanted to.

After coming back down in the tractor, we took a break for lunch at the on-site restaurant. We had delicious casado (choice of meat which Fernando called in for us while out at the waterfall) and fresh juice. It was $8.

After lunch, we did the hot springs & mud baths. First you sit in a sauna room to open your pores, then you hear into the mud baths. We wore old bathing suits but did not have any issued with stains or odor, The mud feels really unusual and it was a fun experience. After that, you shower off the mud and then enter 3 different hot springs, from hottest to coldest.

This is an ideal activity for anyone who likes adventure but may not be up for some of the serious hikes in the area. We loved our guide Fernando and thought he did a great job making everyone feel comfortable, offering to take pictures, and explaining what we were seeing.

Visited April 2013
Helpful?
5 Thank majesty318
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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