Visiting Rio Celeste in Costa Rica is like stepping into a surreal natural wonderland. Tucked away within the rainforests of Tenorio Volcano National Park, the river is renowned for its celestial blue hue.

The pictures may seem over edited but they are not, the water really is that blue! In this article, I’ll go over everything you need to know about hiking Rio Celeste Costa Rica, including how to get there, what to expect, tips and more.

Hiking Rio Celeste Costa Rica Travel Guide

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Celeste River in Costa Rica is a stunning river renowned for its distinctive and captivating turquoise-blue color, which is a result of a natural chemical reaction that occurs at a specific point where two clear rivers, Rio Buenavista and Quebrada Agria, converge.

The phenomenon takes place at a location known as “Teñideros” or “The Dyers.” One river has high acidity due to volcanic activity and the other river carries significant quantities of a type of mineral aluminosilicate, that is responsible for reflecting the blue color.

When these 2 rivers mix to form the Rio Celeste, the aluminosilicate particles to enlarge giving the river a strong turquoise color. Rio Celeste is a popular attraction in Costa Rica and should be on your Costa Rica itinerary.

The river flows through rainforests, creating a beautiful setting with waterfalls and hot springs along its course. The locals say that God dipped his paintbrush in the river as he was painting the sky to give Rio Celeste its bright blue color.

Rio Celeste Waterfall Location

📍 Where is Rio Celeste Waterfall located? Rio Celeste waterfall can be found inside Tenorio Volcano National Park, about an hour and a half north of La Fortuna.

If you are basing yourself out of La Fortuna, hiking Rio Celeste is a perfect day trip. From the entrance of the national park, there is a hiking trail that takes you a few miles to the Rio Celeste Waterfall viewpoint.

How to Get to Rio Celeste Waterfall

Rio Celeste from La Fortuna is about a 1.5-2 hour drive depending on traffic. Rio Celeste is in the middle of the country up north towards the Nicaragua border in Tenorio Volcano National Park.

If you have your own transportation, you can just type in Rio Celeste into your GPS and it will take you right to the trailhead. Roads are straightforward and paved.

By taxi or car service, you can arrange some from the tour desk in your hotel. I went through a company called Arenal evergreen, which cost $50 per person round trip.

I booked the day before and received 5% off. They were quick to return my email and will pick you up at your hotel. They arrived promptly at 7:30am when scheduled and waited for us to hike then took us back to our hotel.

Tenorio Volcano National Park Entrance Fee

The Rio Celeste entrance fee for adults is $12 for adults.

Tenorio Volcano National Park Hours

Tenorio National Park is open every day from 8 am to 4 pm but you must enter before 2 pm. Only 400 people are allowed on the trail at one time so it’s better to come early. No Smoking is allowed inside the park as they check your bags before you enter.

Facilities Near Rio Celeste Waterfall

  • There’s a mini mart where you can buy snacks and water.
  • A place to rent water shoes.
  • Fruit stand
  • A couple restaurant’s that are reasonably priced and an extra bonus is they have take away.
  • Restrooms are located by the ticket counter.

Rio Celeste Hike Stats

  • 💪 Difficulty: Moderate
  • ⛰️ Distance: 3.7 Miles out and back
  • ⏰ Duration: 2-3 hours depending on weather

Hiking Rio Celeste Costa Rica

Hiking Rio Celeste Costa Rica takes you on a wild adventure. This 3.7 mile hike is best enjoyed in dry season but is still a blast if you hike Rio Celeste in the rain. It poured the whole time during my hike and it was still so amazing.

The first section of the trail is paved and not very steep. One mile in, you come to a sign that points down to the Rio Celeste waterfall (cascada in Spanish ) and a sign that points up to continue along the river.

To go down to the waterfall you will have to descend a set of steep stairs but don’t worry, there are hand rails. Don’t forget to look up as you’re walking down, there will be photo ops all along the way.

Rio Celeste Costa Rica Hike

About a quarter of a mile on the Rio Celeste hiking trail along the river you’ll come to a view point where you can step up the platform and get a good view of the rainforest below. 200 meters later you’ll come to Laguna Azul, or the blue lagoon.

Next you’ll walk across a couple hanging bridges that give great views of the river. To witness the turquoise blue glow of the waters next to the rich, lush, green of the rainforest is a magical experience.

Finally, at the end of the Rio Celeste waterfall hike you’ll see where the 2 rivers meet and where the blue starts to become blue. This part was amazing and I’m always blown away to think about how amazing our world is and all the magical things that Mother Nature can do.

Hiking Rio Celeste
A Guide to Hiking Rio Celeste

What to Pack for Hiking Rio Celeste

  • Definitely pack a Rain Gear for Rio Celeste hiking.
  • Sturdy shoes, hiking boots or shoes you don’t care to get muddy.
  • GoPro and tripod.
  • Waterproof hiking pack or a rain cover. It poured on me the entire time when I was in Rio Celeste Costa Rica.
  • Sunscreen – This is my go-to sunscreen for the beach. Not only is it reef safe but you won’t need foundation.
  • Lifestraw Water Bottle – helps me save a little money on buying water and stay healthy with clean drinking water when in a pinch traveling through South America.
  • Sunglasses – These are polarized, extremely affordable and come in many colors. I’ve been rocking them for a while now and love them.

Rio Celeste Tours

If you don’t have your own transportation, a great way to see Rio Celeste waterfall is on a tour. This takes all the planning and logistics out of the question and all you have to do is show up and have a good time.

📌  Here are a few top rated Rio Celeste Waterfall Tours to check out:

I'm Jess Traveling, Costa Rica

Hotels Near Rio Celeste Costa Rica

If you have the gift of time and have your own transportation, staying at a hotel near Rio Celeste will guarantee an early start to beat the crowds. Here. are a few hotels near Rio Celeste to check out.

Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel

If you’re looking to stay in the area stay at Rio Celeste Hideaway Resort. It’s luxury in the jungle with Rio Celeste at your front door. There is a jacuzzi, swimming pool along and free breakfast.

La Tabacon Resort

I stayed at La Tabacon Resort (pictured above) when I was in this area. The La Tabacon thermal springs is an experience you can’t miss when your exploring Costa Rica. It was pure luxury with top of the line treatment.

The complimentary breakfast was out of this world. Anything you could imagine wanting was there. And don’t even get me started on the fresh squeezed juices, I still dream about them!

Final Thoughts on Rio Celeste Hiking

The journey to Rio Celeste waterfall is a magical encounter with nature’s magic, offering a blend of tropical jungle and unique phenomenons that will leave a mark on your memory. If you found this post useful, let fellow travelers know in the comments below 👇.

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Hiking Rio Celeste Costa Rica
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