Hello! We are Samantha and Yeison – the couple behind Mytanfeet Costa Rica travel blog. Thanks for stopping by our article on Rio Celeste and learning about our journey together. Samantha is from the USA (she grew up in Washington State) and moved to Costa Rica in 2012. Yeison was born in Heredia, Costa Rica and grew up there. We met in Nicaragua in 2010.
We went on to create Mytanfeet in 2013. It started off as something like Samantha’s personal journal, as she has always loved writing and wanted to share what her life was like in Costa Rica with friends and family. Other people started reading the site and seemed to like it, so we got high traffic.
A few months later, we decided to see if we could turn the blog into a full time job. We gave ourselves a year to see if it would work and here we are in 2021 – eight years later and it’s still our full time job! Our blog focuses on Costa Rica and we hope to help everyone have a great time in this amazing country. Guides, videos, photos and stories are used to inspire visitors.
Although Costa Rica is growing in popularity as a top tourist destination, there is still a lot of misinformation out there. That was one of our first goals with the blog: to clear up the misinformation and put more real life travel advice on the web. Back in 2010, all Samantha could ever find online about Costa Rica was about retiring there. But she was 23 and was at the complete opposite point in life, as she had just graduated college.
Samantha couldn’t find anything at all on the Internet about moving, working and living in Costa Rica as a young adult. This was a big reason why we started the site. There was barely any information about traveling in Costa Rica too – so we tapped into a gap in the market with Mytanfeet!
We are lucky to be able to say that we have traveled to pretty much all of Costa Rica. Yeison has traveled to more places than Samantha, though. Of course, there are always places we haven’t been to but as for all the main destinations, we have been there! One such main attraction is Rio Celeste.
Rio Celeste – A Sky Blue River & Waterfall
Rio Celeste is one of those amazing places that lives up to expectations. Although there are quite a few sky blue rivers in the country, Rio Celeste is a must-see because it has much better infrastructure. It’s located inside Tenorio Volcano National Park and there is a large parking lot, a ticket office, bathrooms and a couple of restaurants right outside the park.
Additionally, the national park is less than two hours drive from Liberia International Airport on a paved road – so it’s easily accessible. The trails undergo regular maintenance due to the rainier climate up there but the Bijagueno locals work really hard to keep it in tip-top shape.
Furthermore, the steps taking you down to the Rio Celeste waterfall are incredibly well made. As you start to walk down, you can’t see the waterfall and can only hear the roar of the water. The further down you walk, the more you get glimpses of the blue water through the trees but you won’t actually see the full waterfall until you get close to the bottom.
It’s the quintessential blue waterfall surrounded by green rainforest. Thanks to the rainy tropical climate, it’s lush and green all year round. The steps down make for incredible photos, especially if the clouds clear up and the sun comes out, as the blue color of the water sparkles like diamonds.
Best Things To Do at Rio Celeste
Most of Rio Celeste is located in Tenorio Volcano National Park. The waterfall, bubbling hot water, blue lagoon and joining of two rivers that create Rio Celeste are definitely the best sights. Inside the park, they don’t allow camping or swimming in the river. You must stay on the trails.
However, there are sections of the river that are situated outside of Tenorio Volcano National Park. There is free public access just a minute’s drive from the park entrance where visitors can swim in the blue river. Tubing is also offered on one part of the river. Some private properties have their own section of Rio Celeste and they offer activities like camping and swimming.
Accommodation Options in the Area
Bijagua, the local town next to Tenorio Volcano National Park has grown a lot in the last couple of years. Rio Celeste was fairly unknown about five years ago but then it has exploded in popularity in the last two to three years and in turn, Bijagua has grown too. Although it’s still very much a small farming town, there are some nice hotels available to book.
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is considered the best luxury hotel in the area with air conditioning, trails, gourmet restaurants and nice rooms. For boutiques, Casitas Tenorio B&B is a good one. There is a hostel called Rio Celeste Backpackers and then some small lodges and cabins like Tenorio Lodge, Sueno Rio Celeste B&B and Celeste Mountain Lodge. You also have the option of an uber fancy hotel outside Bijagua called ORIGINS Lodge.
Bijagua is a great town for nature lovers. A lot of people visit Rio Celeste as a day trip or stopover during their drive from Arenal to Guanacaste but we recommend a night or two at Bijagua if you love nature. It’s a quiet town with no nightlife, so it’s an ideal place to get away and relax in nature.
Our Favorite Memory at Rio Celeste
It was our first visit to Rio Celeste in 2016. We stayed three nights in Bijagua and it rained non-stop for almost the whole time we were there. We weren’t sure if we were ever going to get good weather so on our last day, we just decided to go for it since we didn’t have any more time left. Luckily, it didn’t rain too hard during our visit and we were able to take out our drone to capture one of the first aerial photos of the Rio Celeste waterfall.
It was pretty special because we weren’t sure if we would be able to get the drone back. It would rain a little, then stop, then rain again and stop again. But thankfully the drone made it and we got some amazing footage.
Essential Information for your Visit
Always check the weather because the area tends to rain a lot. Although it’s blue for most of the year, there are times when the water color is brown due to the rains. This mostly happens in October, November and December. Check the Tenorio Volcano National Park Facebook page as they post updates on weather conditions and park closures.
Sometimes if it has been raining heavily, they will close the park or certain sections. You will need good shoes that can get muddy and wet. Bring closed toed hiking sandals or waterproof trail running/hiking shoes. Because this area can rain a lot, the trails can get super muddy.
They are limiting the number of people in the park due to COVID and you cannot pre-purchase tickets. So make sure you get there early. Credit cards are the only accepted form of payment. You cannot bring any single use plastics into the park. Ensure you leave no trace throughout your visit.
You don’t need a guide to visit Tenorio Volcano National Park, you can easily go on your way. Trails are well marked and there are many signs. Rio Celeste is suitable for kids but no strollers are allowed. Apart from that just enjoy this natural wonder where blue water sparkles like diamonds!