Road Trip to Rio Celeste, Costa Rica

We recently took JC’s Journeys on the road for a few days to explore some other areas and share what we found with our followers. One of our planned stops: Rio Celeste. This was an enticing place to start our journey as all we really knew about it before arriving was that the turquoise colored water flowing through this river was a sight not to be missed. Here are 3 points we’d like to share for your visit to Rio Celeste.

Where to StartRoad to Rio Celeste

There are a few ways to get to Tenorio Volcano National Park. Rio Celeste is in this park which is fairly easy to navigate. We started out from Florencia in San Carlos and headed northwest. A popular route for most tourists would likely be starting out from La Fortuna, the town near Arenal Volcano. Taking Route 4 leads you to an entrance after about an hour and a half, which becomes a dirt road for several (around 20) kilometers. You’ll pass pineapple plantations and lots of other fields of fruit along the way. A 4×4 vehicle is recommended as this part of the road was pretty bumpy and a little steep and rocky in a couple parts. Continue along this road and you’ll reach the entrance where there’s parking, a restaurant and souvenir shop.

What to Take

Rio Celeste is located in a rainforest, so… take rain gear! We arrived when the park opened early in the morning and there were downpours just hours before. Needless to say, the trail was a little muddy. But nothing a good pair of closed tennis shoes or hiking shoes can’t handle. Rubber boots are offered for rent at the entrance, but small children’s sizes were not available, and boots actually seemed to make the hike more challenging anyway. A rain jacket or quick drying clothes are a good idea, as well as an extra pair of shoes or flip flops for when your shoes are muddy and wet.  Also take a hat, mosquito repellent as always, and lots of water, even though it’s wet it can get very humid, so be sure to hydrate! Always a good idea to pack a snack or lunch also, even though there are places at the entrance to eat, as well as small sodas (restaurants) on the road leading to the entrance.

Steps to WaterfallHikes and Guides

At the entrance you’ll probably be offered a guide for about $30. If you’re not an experienced hiker, never been to Costa Rica, or just would like some extra guidance and learn about nature and the area, this is a great idea. However, if your main goal is to see the cool blue river, you can probably do OK on your own. If you have small children or elderly members in your group, there’s a beautiful waterfall maybe just 1 km from the entrance and down a great deal of stairs. This is a great option as there’s not too much ‘hiking’ involved, and the waterfall is still a beautiful sight (however it is a steep climb back UP the stairs). To see the point where two rivers merge to create the chemical reaction that turns the water the deep blue hue, you’ll have to hike a bit longer. From the waterfall, it’s about another 45 minute hike, moderate incline, through some pretty deep muddy spots. Don’t be afraid to just tread through the mud, it’ll make your hike a lot faster, and you can hose off your shoes at the entrance. Do be careful along the edges, as some spots can drop off pretty steeply and there are no ropes or railing.

Here’s a peek at our experience. We hope you’ll make it there on your next trip to Costa Rica. If you need any other advice, feel free to post in the comments below and we’ll share our knowledge. 🙂

Enjoying Nature in Curu Wildlife Refuge

Curu_WhiteFacedMonkeyOne of our favorite things to do in the Southern Nicoya Peninsula is visit Curu Wildlife Refuge. The main reason is of course for the nature and variety of wildlife that can be found here. There’s no shortage of white-faced monkey and iguana sightings among many other crawling and flying critters. But we recently spent a day there and found even more to love about Curu.


A small entrance fee gets you in for the day (until 4pm when the refuge closes) and allows you access not just to the beautiful hiking trails, but also to the beach, gift shop, cafeteria, and kayak rentals. We opted to hike/walk a short easy trail close to the beach that goes through the mangrove and ends back out at the beach. You can do the hikes on your own, but taking a paid tour or hiring a guide (and this is not just self-promotion) really does help you better understand what animals, plants and ecosystems you are encountering. Otherwise, it’s still a nice walk if you choose to go it solo.

Kayaking in Curu Wildlife RefugeKayak

After our little hike, we rented kayaks for an hour or so, which is plenty if your arms get tired easily. This is an amazing way to see the refuge from a different perspective and paddle around the bay to see some perching pelicans and other water birds when they are around. Grab lunch at the cafeteria (order and pay in advance), then scout a location on the beach to lounge away the rest of the afternoon. What a perfect little escape and a great way to see a little part of Costa Rica… naturally. 🙂

Check here for more about our guided tour to Curu or customized private tours.