The Cordillera de Guanacaste is a volcanic mountain range in northwestern Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua. The mountain range forms part of the southern region of the Continental Divide and contains several volcanic peaks and protected areas.
Cordillera de Guanacaste
The Cordillera de Guanacaste is a volcanic mountain range in northwestern Costa Rica, near the border with Nicaragua. The mountain range forms part of the southern region of the Continental Divide and extends 113 km (70 mi) northwest-southeast.
The Cordillera de Guanacaste is part of the larger Central America Volcanic Arc and is characterized by its volcanic peaks, diverse ecosystems, and significant geological history. It contains primarily complex stratovolcanoes and reaches a high point at the dormant Miravalles Volcano at 2,020 m (6,627 ft).
The Cordillera de Guanacaste is divided into two sections:
La Cordillera Volcánica: formed by a series of volcanic edifices that begin with the Orosi Volcano and end with the Arenal Volcano
La Sierra Minera: depressions located between Arenal and Tapezco
Topographic map of Costa Rica depicting the Cordillera de Guanacaste in northwestern Costa Rica
Notable peaks within the mountain range include:
Miravalles Volcano: 2,028 m (6,654 ft)
Rincón de la Vieja Volcano: 1,916 m (6,286 ft)
Tenorio Volcano: 1,916 m (6,286 ft)
Orosí Volcano: 1,659 m (5,443 ft)
Arenal Volcano: 1,670 m (5,480 ft)
Rivers flowing from the range and draining into the Caribbean Sea include the Guacalito and Zapote. Rivers draining into the Pacific Ocean include the Blanco, Tenorio, Martirio, Corobiá and San Lorenzo.
Much of the Cordillera de Guanacaste is protected within national parks and reserves. Protected areas in the mountain range include Guanacaste National Park and Area de Conservación Guanacaste World Heritage Site, inscribed by UNESCO in 1999.
The Arenal Volcano erupted in 1968, covering the area with hot ash. The eruption wiped out two villages while destroying pasture and killing approximately 100,000 head of cattle. The volcano is still active but less threatening today.
The Cordillera de Guanacaste's volcanic activity has also led to the exploration and use of geothermal energy. Some of the geothermal fields in the region are harnessed for electricity generation, contributing to Costa Rica's commitment to renewable energy sources.
Geothermal activity accounts for a portion of the country's energy needs in addition to that which is exported to Nicaragua and Panama.