The National Park
Arriving at the park, we paid $2 for parking. The parking area is not very big, but we arrived at about 10 am so there was plenty of space still available. After paying our $12 per person entry fee, we received a very basic map and were told there is no swimming allowed in the park water. If we wanted to swim in the water, there was a spot at 1 km away that was outside of the National Park that we could go to and swim.
Rio Celeste Costa Rica Hike
The beginning of the pathway at the park entrance was paved and a nice walk. However, the paved area only lasted about 15 minutes into the walk. The rest of the way to the falls was a dirt path, so you should wear good hiking boots. The 1.5 km walk to the Rio Celeste waterfalls is a fairly easy walk with some hills, rocks, and uneven ground. At this point you arrive at a split in the path there is an option to go down the stairs to see the waterfalls or to continue on to the four other things to see.
We opted to go see the waterfalls first. After walking down a beautiful staircase with natural wood banister I could see the falls and the most amazing bright blue water I have ever seen in my life. It truly was breathtaking. There are 253 stairs to go down to the platform to have the best views of the falls. That means after enjoying the stunning sight you have 253 stairs to climb up to get back on the path to continue the hike.
The hike becomes a little more difficult from here. The trail contains steeper hills to climb up with more stairs – including ones that are quite large and at the time felt like they were made for giants.
Other Things To See
At the Rio Celeste, Costa Rica there is more than just the waterfalls to see on this hike. Although, I was truly amazed by the beauty of the mind-blowing falls. We continued along the trail and stopped briefly on a large platform that offered remarkable views of the forest and volcano. Tenorio Volcano consists of four volcanic peaks and two craters.
Following the trail, we walked by the thermal hot springs and the blue lagoon. Throughout the hike, we also saw some wildlife, but not a lot as there are many tourists here. If you want to see a lot of wildlife then you should go for a hike in Manuel Antonio National Park.
The total distance of the hike is 6 km. From the beginning to the endpoint in 3 km, then you turn around and come back.
Rio Celeste Location
Tenorio Volcano National Park is in the northern part of Costa Rica. It forms part of the Arenal Tilaran Conservation Area. The area was made part of the National Park in 1995. It is located about 40 km northeast of the town of Fortuna in the Guanacaste Province. It is also about 213 km from San Jose, the capital of Costa Rica. The national park is about 165 km from the popular tourist town of Tamarindo.
Best Time To Visit
The area does not have a specific rainy season and dry season like other parts of Costa Rica. It can rain in January. However the rainiest times of the year are generally August, September, and October is the rainiest time of the year. It can get extremely muddy during this time and walking the trail may be almost impossible.
Swimming is not allowed in the National Park. However, you can swim in the river outside of the Tenorio Volcano National Park. The ideal location for swimming is around the Rio Celeste hotels. There are many things to see in Costa Rica and this is a must. I have never seen anything so amazing in my life.
It is about a 4-hour drive from Tamarindo to the hotel we stayed at, The Rio Celeste Hideaway. It is a beautiful place to stay with all the private cabins, lush gardens, and a path to the river. There is also a swimming pool with four hot tubs, a restaurant, and a bar area. After this trip, you might want to get pampered at one of the best Spas in Costa Rica – The LADE Spa just outside of Tamarindo.