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  • Writer's pictureKatrina Julia

Costa Rica Adventure: Rio Celeste Waterfall

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

The waterfall adventures aren't over yet. After all, it is Costa Rica. Experiencing hikes to La Fortuna and Danta Waterfall, Canyoning and Rappelling Adventure in Lost Canyon, and visiting Rio Celeste Waterfall all in one week is blowing my mind. I didn't have close to this adventure in ALL of 2020.

The last time I visited Costa Rica in 2016, I didn't get a chance to see Rio Celeste Waterfall (Catarata in Spanish). I knew i wanted to this time.

Legend has it that when God finished painting the sky, he dipped his paintbrush in Rio Celeste.

I believe it.

My Costa Rica Adventure: Rio Celeste Waterfall to inspire you to travel now and in the future.

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Shot on my Canon EOS M100 with auto timer

Hike to Rio Celeste Waterfall

When I started looking for an experience to hike to Rio Celeste Waterfall, I knew I wanted to have transportation, nearby attractions, permitted swimming experience, lunch, and expert guidance.

While I love traveling on my own, with family and friends, and in our retreats, I love to simplify things when I travel. For example, sometimes I may consider renting a car. However, I usually opt for taking public transportation and/or having a driver. It's easier and there are a lot of people to help you who know the country.

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Shot on Canon EOS M100- unedited natural light.

Airbnb Experience: Hike to Rio Celeste

The Airbnb Experience: Hike to Rio Celeste grabbed my attention from the start including a stop to the Ceiba Tree, Hike to Rio Celeste Waterfall, Hike to Borbollones (Bubbling Springs), Blue Lagoon, Casada Lunch at a family restaurant, and swimming in the Rio Celeste outside the park in a permitted area.

From the moment I booked, Hector responded almost immediately. He updated me throughout on the river conditions, and offered other options. He let me know Gerardo would be my guide for the experience.

Gerardo showed up right on time, and off we went on about an hour to hour and a half drive towards Tenorio Volcano National Park and Rio Celeste Waterfall.

All along the way, Gerardo provided invaluable insights into history and the hike all along the way.

Tenorio Volcano National Park

What to Wear to Rio Celeste

My #1 Recommendation would include wearing hiking shoes. Although the initial parts of the hiking path are flat, there are parts that get steep with a lot of rocks. Your ankles will thank you. Not to mention, the protection you will love should you encounter any insects and wildlife that may want to get a little too friendly with your feet.

Before the Rio Celeste Hike, I wore my sandals. Once we arrived at the main entrance, I changed shoes.

As far as clothing, I went in January and wore leggings, my bathing suit, and a sheer wrap. I felt comfortable the entire time. Keep in mind, I generally get cold easy and sweat very little.

Ceiba Tree Near Rio Celeste

Ceiba Tree

Our first stop was the Ceiba Tree. I saw the pictures of the tree on blogs like Two Weeks in Costa Rica and My Tan Feet. Like anything else I have seen in real life, pictures do not do it justice.

The tree is massive and over 500+ year old. A source of life itself.

Rio Celeste Waterfall

After leaving the Ceiba Tree, we drove about another 10-15 minutes to the main entrance for Rio Celeste Waterfall hike in Tenorio Volcano National Park.

Located in Northern Costa Rica, the Tenorio Volcano National Park was created in 1995 and includes hikes, Rio Celeste Waterfall, Tenorio Volcano, and attractions including a wide array of animal and plant life.

Welcome to the jungle.

Once we entered the park, we hiked about an hour to the zig zag stairs with heavenly views of Rio Celeste. The climb is well worth it.

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Once you climbed down to the bottom, you could see the Waterfall and pool at the bottom.

Note: My Forever 21 Hiking Shoes

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

We arrived around 9 am, and experienced maybe 30-50 people in total around the Waterfall, and about 150 people all through our hike. Currently, there are restrictions in place on the number of people that may enter the park. The earlier you come, the better.

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Swimming in Rio Celeste Waterfall and anywhere in Tenorio Volcano National Park is prohibited. Based on information from my guide and other various sources, it has to do with safety, environmental and preservation issues.

However, you can swim nearby outside the park. More on that later.

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Rio Celeste Waterfall: Costa Rica

Shot on my Sony A330 - natural light - landscaping - unedited

After experiencing Rio Celeste Waterfall and climbing back up the stairs, you will want to hike to nearby Blue Lagoon and Borbollones.

Blue Lagoon

Laguna Azul, or Blue Lagoon is the next stop on your hike after Rio Celeste Waterfall. There are some steep steps going down to reach the lagoon.


About 150 feet past the Blue Lagoon, you will come to Borbollones, or Bubbling Spring.

I smelled the sulfer at the Blue Lagoon already. Here you have both the bubbles visible, as well as the smell of sulfer.

Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike
Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike

Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike

Rio Celeste: Mystery of the Blue Water

The beautiful and bright turquoise water shines bright. You imagine it is a dream. It feels surreal.

It's a perfect real-life illustration of the spiritual meeting the natural resulting in Rio Celeste Waterfall - Heavenly River Waterfall.

The Rio Buena Vista (Good View River) and Quebrada Aqua (Sour Creek) are both transparent rivers.

At the point of meeting to create Rio Celeste, El Teñidero, the water transforms to this majestic and magnificent blue.

El Tenidero: Rio Celeste
El Tenidero: Rio Celeste

El Tenidero: Rio Celeste
El Tenidero: Rio Celeste

According to the University of Costa Rica, they discovered that the water contained aluminosilicate (aluminum mixed with silicon and oxygen) and that the rocks on the bottom of Rio Celeste were covered in this white mineral. What is interesting is in test tubes, the water appears transparent.

Yet in real life, we see the heavenly blue all along Rio Celeste and the Waterfall.

It feels and looks like a dream, a heavenly experience.

Costa Rican Lunch

After leaving Tenorio Volcano National Park, we drove to a family restaurant. We enjoyed Casado - a typical Costa Rican meal with your choice of fish, meat, chicken or vegetarian. I enjoyed Pipos Frios - cold coconut water.

Heavenly Swim Nearby in Rio Celeste

Outside the Tenorio Volcano National Park, there are permitted swim areas. Right after our amazing lunch (almuerzo), we drove into the owner's property into a permitted swimming area!

You better believe I jumped in!

The refreshing swim in the blue water is a perfect way to elevate the heavenly experience.

Maleku Indigenous Reserve

On the way back to La Fortuna, Costa Rica, we stopped to look at souvenirs at the indigenous reservation crafted by the Maleku . They are the smallest tribe indigenous people of Costa Rica, who migrated from nearby Arenal Volcano to near Rio Celeste after the 1968 eruption.

We watched the owner, Angel craft beautiful wooden items. He shared how he crafts them, and his wife Blanca paints them. I ended up getting a beautiful one of raw wood with a Jaguar, Butterfly, and plants, and a gift for a family member.

All shots are my own on Canon EOSM100, and Sony A330.

Costa Rica: Hiking Rio Celeste Waterfall

Experiencing the Pura Vida touches your soul in every way. The mystic and majestic raw nature of Rio Celeste Waterfall and water leaves you in awe at its wonder. Nature needs no help from us other than to keep it as is.

With the abundance of adventure and nature, I feel full in every way.

I have lived more this week than I did all of last year combined.

I refused to have the same 2020, and set out to make my 2021 Vision a reality.

Pura Vida, the pure life, is everywhere in Costa Rica.

It absolutely impacts you especially if you normally don't experience a lot of nature.

Have you visited Rio Celeste? If you haven't, the heavenly reality awaits you.

Are you curious about Costa Rica and the Pura Vida?


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