The Miravalles Volcano is located 15 km to the north of Bagaces, the province of Guanacaste and belongs to the Cordillera of Guanacaste. With an elevation of 2028 meters above sea level. It is made up of at least six volcanic sources the mayority being aligned northeast and southeast. The Miravalles crater is 600 meters in diameter. At this moment in time it is presenting second class volcanic activity (smoking cones, mud pools and thermal sources) in the area named “Las Hornillas” (little ovens). It is the property of the Hotel El Guayacán. The highest point of the volcanoe is what is left of a cone, towards the southeast of this there is a small double cone that is cut because of fault towards the northeast. One of these cones is better preserved than the other. (Very erroded). The rest of the other craters are very affected by erosion located to the northeast of the other cones. The source of eruption moves from the northeast to the southeast. There are also remains of a calderic border 1 km to the southeast of the main crater. The Mogote and the Montañosa peaks in the west and those of the Espíritu Santo (979 metros), Gota de Agua (1.082 metros) La Giganta (1.490 metros) in the southeast are remains of a large paleo-caldera of 200 km2, it is refuge to some felines, deers, coyotes, tepezcuintles, peccarys and white faced monkeys among many others. There is also an extense falt area that is made up of leftover volcanic lava flow located between the borders of the caldera and the Miravalles cones.
Volcanic Activity: The history of the Miravalles-Guayabo volcanoes is as follows: Quaternary: The making of several basaltic volcanoes “volcano Guayabo”. Between 1.6 and 0.6 millions of years: Clouds of gas and ash (ignimbrites) and subsidence of the Guayabo volcano. Refill from the calderic depression. Some 400.000 years ago: Renewal of volcanic actibity and the beginning of the volcanic Macizo Cabro Muco-La Giganta. Some 10.000 years ago: Growth of the Paleo-Miravalles, migration of volcanic actibity towards the southeast and the development of the lower calderic structure. Some 8.200 years ago: Development of the present Miravalles cone. Large lava flows and avalanches that generate hot lahars (mud flows). Some 8.000 years ago: Lava trails and piroclastic deposits. In 1946 (14th of September): geothermic flows in the subsoil provoke a small phreatic explision on the southeast flank of the Miravalles.
Sistems of Volcano Vigilence: At volcano Miravalles ICE has 6 seismic stations and a accelerograph located at the Miravalles Geothermic Camp, as well as a network of 10 stations of dry inclinometry, studies of exact levels and microgravity. The OSIVAM monitor the seismic activity around this volcano (siesmic statiosn and strong movement equipment).
What to take
Insect repellent, closed shoes, towel, sandals, binoculars, camera or camcorder, hat and swimsuit.
The geothermic system of ICE (Costa Rican Institute of Electricity) has been developed on the foothills of the Miravalles that inherits the name of the four units that are presently in operation: Miravalles I, Miravalles II, Miravalles III and Boca de Pozo. The Geothermic Plant in Miravalles represents an answer to the energy crisis from ICE in the years of 1973 and 1974. This situation affected the supply and cost of fuel that came from oil, it became difficult for countries that depended exclusively on hydrocarbons for basic energy needs. It is of great convenience that Costa Rica has another source for the generation of natural resources, that don’t depend on hydrological conditions. The plant is located in the district of La Fortuna in Bagaces County, the province of Guanacaste. As part of the development program in the geothermic field, they have created 57 wells making up a total of approximately 92.844 meters, 34 of which are for production, 17 are for reinsertion and 6 are exploratory. At present they are currently working on the perforation of well 66 of 2.000 meters in the area of Miravalles. These wells are drilled using a machine that is similar to that of an oil drill, using spinning drill bits, whose surface diameter is 660 millimeters (26 inches), and 216 millimeters (8 inches) in depth. The hole that is left by these stainless steel drill bits, has a diameter that varies from between 508 millimeters (20 inches) and 194 millimeters (9 inches). A special cement that is injected from the surface is attached to the middle of the drill.
How to arrive and leave
From the Daniel Oduber International airport in Guanacaste: It is approximately 50km away. Departing from the airport take the highway that takes you to the city of Liberia, when you get to the crossing go to the left hand side, and then continue on the interamerican highway until you get to the city of Bagaces, where you will take a turning off to the left hand side, after 15km traveling north you will get to La Fortuna de Bagaces.
From San José there is a distance of 190 Km: the route begins in La Sabana, head towards Alajuela passing infront of the Juan Santamaría International Airport. Continue on the road towards Guanacaste, passing by the entrance of the city of San Ramón, Esparza, Cañas until you get to the city of Bagaces, where you will take a right detour. From there you will be get to La Fortuna, travel 15 km to the north until you get to La Fortuna de Bagaces.
What to do
The area of Miravalles offers some very attractive tourist attractions such as: A visit to the village of Cuipilapa. With the cleanest river in Guanacaste, one of the five cleanest rivers in Costa Rica. Visit the small church built more than fifty years ago. The Little Ovens: live the magic and the adventure of walking through an active volcanoe of more the 2.500 meters squared, active mud pools with temperatures of up to 240 degrees. Sulphur smoking cones of different colours and volcanic vapor, pools of volcanic clay, smoking cones and boiling water springs. The Canopy. The adventure and fanasty of flying in the middle of the rainforest. It is one of the best attractions of the area, horseback riding, with views of the peak of the volcanoe, enjoy the panoramic view of the Golf of Papagayo and the Nicaragua lake. The volcanoe Mirvalles has a variety of complex flora and fauna from Costa Rica; it has three well defined microclimates a. – High Barren Plains b. Humid Tropical Forest c. Dry Forest. Visit the gallery: The sculptor Tony Jiménez; youngster from the area whose work transpasses borders, carved works in wood, stone and wax. A visit to the Geotérmico Miravalles Project and watching the plant activity, which are scattered at the foot of the mountains and represent an interesting attraction to the visitors. Country life is part of the scenic richness of Miravalles, looking at flocks of cattle, trips on cart and seeing agricultural jobs being carried out but the oxen as well as the agricultural and dairy activity. Which makes Miravalles an amazing tourist area that is very attractive to any tourist from whatever part of the world.