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Rio Celeste, The Blue River in North Central Costa Rica
Unique among Costa Rica’s diverse set of Natural Wonders is Rio Celeste, the Blue River, hidden deep within the dense rain forest of the Tenorio Volcano National Park, this spectacular river winds and splashes over the gigantic volcanic rocks. The deep sky blue color comes from the chemical mixtures of sulfa and carbonate coming from the Volcano, and is most brilliant when the sun shines through the water.
On a warm February morning we set out hiking to the Blue River waterfall. The park opens at 8 am and we were there to get an early start. We paid the entrance fee of $7 and began our hike (around 1.5 hours) along the trails through the rugged volcanic landscape, listening to the early morning sounds of a singing wilderness. Dozens of tropical birds were all about chirping and flapping their wings to welcome the warm sunshine and moist air of this tropical cloud forest.
We found the hike to be moderately challenging but we were in good shape wearing very good, well worn tennis shoes, cotton shorts, and T shirts. Our small backpacks carried bottled water, small camera, and change of clothes. We planned to take a dip in the blue waters under the huge waterfall. The rain forest with its verdant green canopy was spectacular. We breathed the clean fresh mountain air.
Awesome! I could not believe my eyes! The river was really blue, a deep blue cascading over the rocks and through the jungle. We bravely lunged under the waterfall. My, what a feeling of complete freedom!
Hiking back we passed small gurgling hot springs, but thought them too hot to get in.
Tenorio Volcano National Park is a relatively new National Park and is bringing more and more tourist to this north central region of Costa Rica. For such a small country in Central America the conservation projects are remarkable. 20% of the land surface is protected in National Parks and Wildlife Reserves. And Tenorio is one of the more unspoiled and natural of them all.
Photography: Get that camera out. Fabulous photo opportunities here!
GETTING THERE: You can take a tour out of La Fortuna which is a full day tour to hike the Rio Celeste. Or you can drive to the entrance to the Tenorio Volcano National Park. If you are driving , it is not easy to find your way. From La Fortuna take highway 6 to Guatuso and continue towards Upala. Start looking for the signs (on left side of road) to the Rio Celeste-Blue River-Tenorio Volcano National Park. Off highway 6, the road is dirt and gravel and bumpy — and
slow moving. Takes around thirty five minutes to get to the park’s entrance.