If you are planning to visit the Tenorio Volcano National Park, you are at the right place! In this article, I explain to you EVERYTHING you need to know to discover the Rio Celeste.

After spending 3 days in the La Fortuna, we headed to Rio Celeste. The Rio Celeste is one of the most spectacular places in Costa Rica. Nestled in the heart of Tenorio National Park, this river is popular because of its intense turquoise color. Waterfall, lagoon, bubbling waters, there is no shortage of attractions. The visit consists of a 6 km round trip, about 3 hours of walking, through lush vegetation and many animals.

A legend says that “when God finished painting the sky blue, he washed his brushes in the Rio Celeste”.

The Tenorio Volcano National Park where Rio Celeste is located is open daily from 8am to 2pm. The entrance fee is 10 USD per person. If you plan to come with a rental car, there is a large parking lot right next to the main entrance. As soon as you park, the janitor will come and collect 2,000 colones.

Below is the map of the park. You will see that it is divided into 5 stages, of which I will come back later in the article.

rio celeste map park

The hike through this park lasted only 2 hours, but was particularly pleasant and unreal. A place not to be missed during your trip to Costa Rica.

What to see in Rio Celeste? 🧐

Here are, in summary, the 5 places to see in Rio Celeste. The beginning of the trail is concreted and is surrounded by a green forest. The first part leads to the waterfall, about 30 minutes walk.


For many, the main attraction of the park is the Rio Celeste waterfall. It is a natural wonder. The Rio Celeste waterfall is the first stop on the tour. The water falls almost 30 meters high and ends in a large turquoise pool. The path that leads to the waterfall is made up of very steep steps made of dirt, roots and rocks.


Once you have discovered the waterfall, I invite you to continue your exploration with the viewpoint of the place. To get there, just keep walking along the path, you can’t miss it. From the top, you will have a panoramic view of the surroundings of the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Called Mirador in Spanish, this viewpoint is located approximately 500 meters from the waterfall.

There is a wooden platform from which you can observe the rainforest, but the weather was cloudy, so we could not fully appreciate the views from this place.


Once you get down from the mirador, you just have to walk to reach the Laguna Azul as the locals say. This turquoise lagoon will remind you of the beauty of the Rio Celeste. At this point in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, you can take the time to enjoy the tranquility of the place and take some photos as a souvenir of your stay in one of the most beautiful places in Costa Rica.


Continuing on the path, you will descend to the blue lagoon, and you will be closer to the turquoise water. You will reach the boiling waters of the Rio Celeste, witnesses of the volcanic activity. The smell of sulfur is as strong as the water is hot, so you might as well say that here, it is hot. According to experts, the water temperature can reach up to 94ºC. Of course, here as in the rest of Tenorio National Park, swimming is strictly prohibited.


From the boiling waters, you will have to cross two bridges before reaching Teñidero. The second of these two bridges goes over the turquoise river, it is absolutely beautiful. Teñidero is the exact spot where the Buena Vista River and the Quebrada Agria meet. This is where the magic happens and where the water of the Celeste River takes on that turquoise color.

Once you arrive at the last point, you will have to do the same path in the opposite direction to return to the entrance.

Where to stay around the Rio Celeste? 😴

We spent the night at Finca la Amistad Cacao lodge. This lodge is located at the foot of the Tenorio Volcano National Park, home to the magical Rio Celeste. It is one of the largest and most sustainable cocoa farms in Costa Rica. The rooms are nestled in the middle of nature on the cocoa farm. The breakfast is excellent and local.

We were able to discover the life of a cocoa farm and also taste the local cuisine, make our own chocolate and even had a guided tour of the farm going through all the steps of chocolate making. It was very interesting and without a doubt one of the highlights of our trip to Costa Rica. 🧡

I hope this mini guide on visiting Rio Celeste waterfall will help you prepare your visit! If you have any questions, feel free to ask me in the comments of the article. I’ll be happy to answer them. 🤗

Find also my other articles on Costa Rica.

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