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Río Celeste, Costa Rica

Rio Celeste is one of Costa Rica’s treasures – it features one of the country’s most beautiful waterfalls, surrounded by the beautiful rainforest scenery of the Tenorio National Park.  The amazing light blue water of the Celeste River is a unique phenomenon due to a volcanic chemical reaction.  Once or twice a year, a number of natural conditions combine, and the popular Celeste River Waterfall also glows blue.

The Celeste River is incomparable to any other natural attractions in the park – in addition to the stunning waterfall, there’s a blue pond where the river empties into clear waters and a natural hot spring.  A five-hour trail takes visitors on a wonderful hike through all of the Celeste main spots. 

The trail to Tapir Lake is a challenging and satisfying walk, where tapirs, endangered relatives of the rhinoceros, gather around the beautiful lake in the evenings.  Ocelots and jaguars are also frequently seen in the area.

Getting to Río Celeste

Tenorio National Park is a short daytrip from the nearby cities of La Fortuna and Liberia.  In comparison to these popular tourist destinations and their surroundings, Tenorio is quite remote and tranquil.  This isolation makes the park an ideal option for adventurers looking for an unforgettable volcanic experience, without the tourist crowds.

There’s no public transportation running directly to the national park.   From La Fortuna, take an early bus ride to Upala, since it is important to get to Río Celeste early in the day.  The Upala bus takes about 1 ½ hours and leaves you right in the center of town, where you can take a taxi to the Tenorio Volcano National Park entrance.

Activities in Río Celeste and Tenorio National Park

  • Hiking:  The area has numerous trails, ranging from easy to challenging.  The trail to Tapir Lake is perhaps one of the most exciting trails, but it can get slippery depending on the weather, so visitors should wear proper hiking gear.
  • Swimming: Swimming in the Celeste River is a unique experience.  It’s refreshing and relaxing, especially after long hikes, and it offers a magnificent natural scenery to all of its visitors.   The soothing thermal waters of the Tenorio’s Volcano are another wonderful option for those you enjoy getting wet.
  • Horseback Riding: This is a fun and adventurous way to discover the area.  Horseback riding excursions are offered from several nearby lodges.
  • Bird and Wildlife Watching:     Tenorio and its surroundings offer the perfect habitat for flora and fauna.  Some of the species that are frequently spotted in the area include tapirs, spider monkeys, pumas, ocelots, white-faced monkeys and hawks.

Fees, Schedule and Contact Information
Admission to the Tenorio National Park:  US$10 per person
Ranger station open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Tenorio Volcano National Park Tel: (506) 2695-5982 or (506) 2200-013

Travel Agencies, after hours & weekends:
(506) 2257-4171

Toll Free:
Costa Rica: (506) 2233-5151
Fax: (506) 2233-5284
E-mail: [email protected]
*Rates are subject to change without previous notice, according to any tax changes or any government regulations.

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