Its name means “The Old Woman’s Corner”, or “Old Woman’s Nook” a reference to a local legend about princess Curabanda whose lover Mixcoac, chief of a neighboring enemy tribe, who was thrown into the crater by her father Curabande, when he learned about their affair. She went on living on the side of the volcano, giving birth to a son. To be with its father, she threw her son into the volcano, too. She continued to live on the volcano and became a recluse living on the mountain, and was credited with powers of healing.
Rincón de la Vieja stands 1,916 metres (6,286 ft) above sea level, and its summit is the highest point in Rincón de la Vieja National Park. It erupted most recently in June 2021. The volcano has many fumaroles and hot springs on its slopes. It is formed by felsic lava.
As of 2021, only Rincón de la Vieja, Turrialba and Poás are considered active.
There are many hot pools and areas of bubbling mud in two areas on the slopes of the volcano, indicating substantial reserves of geothermal energy. Investigations have been carried out into the feasibility of tapping these reserves, and the volcano is estimated to have a generating potential of 140 megawatts. However, as the area is protected within a national park, drilling was limited to test wells until 2001.