Skip to Main Content

Hacienda el Viejo Wildlife and Traditions



  • Sun
  • Mon
  • Tue
  • Wed
  • Thu
  • Fri
  • Sat


Hacienda el Viejo is one of the most iconic Haciendas in Guanacaste. Surrounded by sugar cane, rivers, and wetland, this beautiful place has managed to preserve its original infrastructure since the 1870s. In this activity, you will see how the Sabanero lives in the countryside and how they prepared the tortillas, roquillas and tanelas. Take a boat to see all the wildlife that lives by Guanacaste’s largest river. This river is home to a menagerie of exotic species of iguanas, monkeys, crocodiles, as well as migrating birds that nest here. Have a delicious Costa Rican lunch in the Casona- the ‘mansion’ of the hacienda. See the sugar cane turning to rum, from the raw plant to how they produce sugar to processing rum. If you are staying in Guanacaste and are looking for a day excursion that offers nature, wildlife, culture, and food, then a visit to Hacienda El Viejo Wetlands must be on your list.
  • Visit a sugar cane plantation and a 5,000 acres private wildlife reserve
  • Cruise down the Tempisque River
  • Learn how the old-fashion rum-making process happens
  • Taste a traditional Costa Rican lunch
  • Activity duration: 4 hours (not including transportation time to and from activity)
  • Hotel pick-up and drop-off included


A traditional Hacienda!

If you are traveling through Guanacaste and want to see what life was like in the traditional Costa Rican Haciendas, then you need to stop at El Viejo. It is a Costa Rican family-owned property with a large sugar cane plantation and their own private wildlife reserve bordering the Palo Verde National Park. This is a traditional hacienda that has done a great job of preserving the original structures. The Hacienda is huge and has great views of the Arenal Volcano, but most of all it lets you learn a little bit about the traditional agricultural practices of the region. This reserve of 5,000 acres protects part of the Tempisque River and one of the most important and endangered ecosystems in the world: the tropical dry forest. It´s home to one of the largest numbers of migratory birds in Central America as well as iguanas, crocodiles, bats, monkeys, and many more interesting animals.

Nature and Culture Combined

This old-style hacienda is a real Sabanero home, which strives to offer tourists a rich cultural experience. This will be a great opportunity to try your hands at making tortillas and sampling tasty Costa Rican coffee and local treats. One of the reasons why Costa Rica is such a beloved tourist destination is the locals. With such kind, gregarious and laid-back people proud to share and show off their country, learning about Costa Rican culture is a great opportunity for any visitor. The tour invites you to meet folks who are glad to tell you the real story of Costa Rican haciendas and the working farms of today. They will be excited to see visitors learning about their culture. This cultural tour envelops you in the sweetness of the sugar cane. Share in some of Costa Rica´s most precious traditions, such as the ox-driven sugar mill (trapiche), handmade tortillas, fresh aromatic coffee, and some delicious Guanacastecan appetizers made of corn.

Boat tour!

Next, it is time to head to the dock to embark on a boat safari through the wetlands. Hacienda El Viejo has its own private reserve of 5,000 acres. Although Guanacaste is not well known for having as much wildlife as other parts of the country, this particular area of the province does hold an enormous amount of biodiversity in the endangered tropical dry forest. Keep your camera ready, as you´ll have many unforgettable wildlife encounters to capture along the way! As your expert captain guides the boat along the riverbanks, enjoy sightings of an incredible number of tropical bird species, such as rose spoon-billed storks or the mythical Jabiru stork. For birders, this is a prized siting as there are only 70-80 left in Costa Rica. You will likely spot many reptiles, too, including crocodiles, frogs, and iguanas. Energetic, white-faced capuchin monkeys are also a common sight. Rum tour

Next, it´s time to head back to land for a rum tour and tasting. Located in the middle of the grass plains of Guanacaste, sugarcane crops surround the hacienda. Prepare your senses to experience every step of creating high-quality rum from pure sugar cane. First, view the traditional extraction and cooking techniques used to prepare the sugar cane juice. Then, head to the distillery and learn about the fermentation and distillation processes, followed by a tour of the ‘cellars’ where the rum is aged in beautiful oak barrels to improve the taste. You will end the day with a delicious cocktail while you enjoy the stunning views of exotic birds nesting and feeding along the banks of the lagoon for a perfect ending to this fabulous full-day experience.


  • Round-trip, air-conditioned transportation
  • Professional bilingual guide
  • Cultural tour
  • Boat tour
  • Rum tour
  • Lunch at la Casona

Practical Information

  • Wear comfortable clothes and footwear
  • Bring sunglasses, sunblock, and a hat
  • Bring a camera and if you have, binoculars for birding
  • Cash for souvenirs, shopping, and tips (tipping is optional)

Good To Know

  • Tour Language: English / Spanish
  • Tour Location(s): Guanacaste
  • Season: All year long
  • Duration: 7 hours
  • Minimum Age Requirement: 5 years old
  • Hotel Pick-up Available: Yes
  • Good Physical Condition Required: No
  • Suitable For Children : Yes
  • Suitable For Elderly: Yes
  • Pregnant Woman Allowed: Yes
From $173 USD
Price per adult
Date & Time
No Passengers Found
Protection Plus
Passengers Total
Final price includes transportation cost if applicable