Tenorio Volcano National Park and the Rio Celeste “Blue River” Costa Rica
Tenorio Volcano National Park is located in the northern region of Costa Rica. On our recent vacation to Costa Rica, we set out to visit this beautiful national park. We rented a 4×4 Suzuki Jimmy. Following the road map that the car rental agency had given us, we headed north on the Interamerican highway (highway one). We traveled from the San Jose International airport north to Canas, which took us about 2 hours. When you see the Canas exit drive six more miles and then take a right turn to Bijaqua–About 20 miles past Bijagua is the entrance to the park. You may need to stop along the way and ask for directions since there are no signs to actually get you to the park.
We traveled to Tenorio Volcano National Park to see the famous Rio Celeste or “blue river.” One of Costa Rica’s true natural wonders. The light blue waters are caused by the emanation of sulfur gases from the bottom of the river and the precipitation of carbonated calcium delivered by a stream that dumps into the main river at this point. It is truly an amazing sight!
Thermal springs and small geysers dot the area as do rivers, waterfalls, lagoons, and spectacular panoramic views. Wild life is reclusive here. We were hoping to see a puma but he retreats deep into the rain forest when humans appear.
This place is amazing but the hike is challenging. Took us several hours and some of the terrain was rugged. Luckily it was the dry season of January when there is much less rainfall. We heard a group of howler monkeys near by and could see them swinging in the trees. The temperature was around 75 degrees F. but felt warmer and I’m glad I wore a cotton T shirt and cotton shorts, and of course my very comfortable tennis shoes.
The actual trail that leads to the waterfall is steep. We could hear the sounds of the powerful water. Finally we reached the bottom and before our eyes was the sky-blue pool of water. Words cannot describe the beauty! The park ranger pointed out where we could swim if we had brought our bathing suits, which I didn’t. Apparently swimming is not allowed just anywhere. The ranger said that the side effects of these minerals on the body are not known.
If you happen to visit Rio Celeste in the rainy season which is May through November, plan on getting your feet and shoes muddy. Bring a rain jacket or poncho, and dress cool.
Best time to visit: Dry season of mid December through March. But many people visit during the rainy season. If you start out very early in the morning, it is likely that there will be several hours of sunshine.
What to wear: Very good tennis shoes or comfortable hiking boots. Cool clothing such as cotton T shirt and cotton slacks or short. Sun screen, rain jacket or poncho, bottle water..camera and small backpack. I didn’t encounter mosquitoes however I always take along mosquito repellent. I like Avon skin so soft- repellent cream.
If you have visited the Rio Celeste I would love to share your experience with our readers. Just click on comments at the end of this article.