Rio Celeste - Where God washed out his paint brushes!

There is something very special about waking up in the morning, throwing open your back doors and walking right out into the rain forest for an outdoor morning shower.

Looking up at blue sky, watching the dewy fronds of the palm leaves wave above your head and feeling the warm breeze brush against you as the warm water rushes over you makes you feel alive in a way that a tiled indoor shower cubicle just never could.

Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel Costa Rica Outside Shower
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel Outside Shower
Catarata Waterfall Volcan Tenorio National Park Costa Rica
Catarata Waterfall Volcan Tenorio National Park Costa Rica
Laguna Azul Hot Springs Volcan Tenorio National Park Costa Rica
Laguna Azul Hot Springs Volcan Tenorio National Park Costa Rica

Rio Celeste - Un Mundo Differente, Un Mundo Fascinante

Established as a National Park in 1995, Rio Celeste is in the cloud forest region.  A massive 3.7 metres of rain falls here a year – around six times more than the UK – and that sometimes feels very wet!  A legend tells that after God was done painting the sky, he washed his brushes in the river that now bears the name of Rio Celeste  – Light Blue River.  It was worth a 4 hour hike to see how beautiful this looks in real life.

We had pre-booked a half day hike in Tenorio National Park, visiting Catarata Waterfall, Laguna Azul and the hot springs.  It is as well to pre-book an excursion like this as there is only one trail through the National Park and the numbers of people allowed to walk it are strictly limited.

Only 500 are allowed in at a time – the next 500 have to wait in a holding area until there is space to enter.  If you are number 1001, you won’t get in at all.  Only 45 people are allowed down the steep, slippery steps to the waterfall at a time.  The strong concrete rails (cleverly designed to look like wood) are useful to steady yourself.  At least when you are in the Park though, you get a great view of the beautiful waterfall and lagoon which you definitely wouldn’t if there was free access.  You can also see the volcanos from the  trail, but they were shrouded in mist today.

The cost of a guided tour from our hotel was pretty steep – $65 per person + $20 for a taxi to take you to the National Park entrance.  You could easily have done this walk on your own and just paid the $12 National Park Entrance fees.  You would need to get there at opening time (8am) to avoid a queue though.  The park stops allowing visitors in at 2pm as it takes 4 hours to walk the trail and starting at 2pm would mean it was dark by the time you finished your walk.  

This is definitely not a good place to be after dark.  That is when the jaguars, pumas and snakes come out to play.  They have eyelash vipers, bush vipers and fer de lance vipers in this Park.  Maybe it is a good idea to fork out for a guide after all then?  The trail is very steep and muddy in places – hiking boots are your best choice of footwear.

Flora and Fauna

Volcan Tenorio National Park Costa Rica
Your best chance of seeing a tapir

The symbol of the Tenorio National Park is the tapir, but your chances of actually seeing this nocturnal mammal are only about 1%.  You are likely to see black river turtles in the lagoon though.

Costa Rica flora Volcan Tenorio National Park
Costa Rica flora Volcan Tenorio National Park
Tropical birdlife - Volcan Tenorio National Park
Costa Rica birds Volcan Tenorio National Park
Costa Rica flora Volcan Tenorio National Park
Costa Rica flora Volcan Tenorio National Park

Learning the Lingo

Café con leche
Cómo estás
Estoy bien gracias
Con gusto


Coffee with Milk
How are you
I’m fine, thank you.
With pleasure/with pride


Costa Rica - Packing Tips

Glad I packed:

  • Several camera lens cloths – the high humidity plays havoc with your lenses.
  • Bug spray.  I brought quite a lot, but am using it up quickly.  Time to buy some more (something local and strong!) en route to the next stop.  Definitely do not come here without it!
  • Hiking boots

Wish I had packed:

A tiny travel speaker.  My earphones are great, but it’s nice to share what you are listening to sometimes and sing/dance along together?  I’m playing the theme tune from Dr. No – “Underneath the mango tree … ”  it feels strangely appropriate here surrounded by all these tropical fruit trees!

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