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Rio Celeste – The Magic of Costa Rica

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Right in the middle of the Costa Rica jungle, among sloths, birds, monkeys and multi coloured frogs, relies an unique nature masterpiece hard believed by the eyes. The Rio Celeste.

My stay in Costa Rica was short and with this limited time I had one shot to find the best of the country. Not only make my visit worth, but also find a reason to come back. San Jose - Costa Rica

Unfortunately, by that time I was not impressed. And the fault was not, entirely, of Costa Rica. After a day on the unattractive capital, San Jose (trust me, there isn’t much thing to do in there). I tried to see the volcanos on cities nearby. Every time I got near one, the once clear and bright day turned into cloudy and ugly. The craters became huge “fog pools” and my expectations to the Rio Celeste, just to save my trip, higher and higher.

The Rio Celeste Journey

My shuttle departed from San Jose to the small city of La Fortuna, located on the Arenal region, on the feet of the volcano with the same name. A five hours trip with lots of curves and narrow roads made a grown man looks like a child with car sickness.

 Rio Celeste - Arenal - Costa Rica

The city near the Arenal vulcan offer several adventure options. Hiking, rafting, canyoning and others, feature with the Rio Celeste on sales catalogs of several agencies on the main street.

Backpackers can be seen everywhere and the price range from the food to the tours can be huge. So do not mind to bargain.

My tour to the Rio Celeste was booked with the hostel I was. Costed me $70 with food, guide and tickets.

  Rio Celeste - Arenal - Costa Rica

The Hike to Rio Celeste

There are several trails on that lead to the Rio Celeste, with a sort of difficulty levels. In general the hiking might take around 1 hours on a moderate speed. During the way you have the opportunity to see several animals and the coloured frogs, a national symbol of Costa Rica (watch your steps).

 coloured frogs - arenal - Costa Rica

 coloured frogs - arenal Costa Rica

The more you enter the rainforest, the more you hear a waterfall. In the meanwhile, small blue dots start to appear beneath the bushes and the sensation of been about to experience  something magic flows into your body. The Rio Celeste gives its first sign.

 Arenal National Park - Costa Rica

Some minutes more hiking and then it comes. A fairytale scene. Just like a live photoshop. One of the prettiest settings I’ve seen. The green of the rainforest in an outstanding contrast with the blue water. The Rio Celeste is amazing!

 Rio Celeste - Costa Rica - Arenal

 Rio Celeste - Costa Rica

But how?

The blue water is result of a chemical reaction influenced by the vulcans. The Arenal region is fully of them and during all the hike to the Rio Celeste the nature reminds you that you are walking under a magma sea.

  Rio Celeste - Costa Rica

Boiling water impossible to touch, smoke coming out holes that “nice” smell of sulfur (roasted egg). “That’s where we prepare barbecue”, said the guide.

  Rio Celeste - Costa Rica

Besides the wonderful waterfall there are other outstanding spots like the blue lagoon and the Teñideros, where two transparent rivers collide and become the magic river.

 Tenideros -  Rio Celeste - Costa Rica

  Rio Celeste - Costa Rica - Tenideros

I could not leave the Arenal region without diving on that wonder. However, swimming on the waterfall site is totally forbidden. There have been casualties in the past and you will probably ruin everybody’s pictures.  Ask your guide for an isolated swimming spot and enjoy!

rio celeste - arenal - costa rica

That is how I left my lack of luck and bad impressions of Costa Rica behind. Without a single drop of rain, that could turn the river brown, the Rio Celeste and the Arenal region enchanted me and definitely will put a spell on you too!

  • Transfer from San Jose to Arenal: $45
  • Rio Celeste Tour: $70

What other places are hard to believe it exists? Let your comment below!

Ralph

A geek by passion and a traveler by nature. Love to climb things (even when not allowed), adventure sports, animals and photography. Working to travel, traveling to live.

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