Natural Wonders of Costa Rica: Rio Celeste (Celeste River)
Coming in at number 4, the magnificent Celeste River (Rio Celeste en Espanol), with its undeniably amazing color and a sight to behold, is of course a shoo-in for Costa Rica’s list of 7 Natural Wonders. Located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, Rio Celeste meanders its way throughout the park grounds where it finally spills over into a breathtaking waterfall and oh-so-inviting, extremely photogenic pool.
But how does Rio Celeste get that incredible blue color? Well, Rio Celeste is actually fed by two rivers, Buenavista and Sour Creek, both of which are somewhat chemically unique themselves. The vibrant blue is the result of a sudden change in pH… thanks to the high acidity waters of Sour Creek meeting the Buenavista River with its high concentration of alum inosilicate particles. At the confluence of these two rivers, where Rio Celeste is formed, the water is the most intensely blue. But even as it continues quietly winding its way through the lush green of the jungle foliage, the vibrant blue of the Rio Celeste remains in stark contrast to the green and it is absolutely breathtaking... truly a lifetime “must see”. Pencil it in it on your Costa Rica Bucket List right now, I’ll wait!
There are guided hiking tours you can take from both Arenal and Guanacaste which specifically highlight the Rio Celeste and the national park which we recommend to get the most of your experience. If you have your own vehicle, you can of course simply pay admission to the Tenorio Volcano National Park and explore the whole thing at your leisure. There is a hike that follows the Rio Celeste from its ultra-blue start all the way to its gorgeous crescendo: the aforementioned famous waterfall and extremely photogenic pool which you are welcome to splash in, relax in, float in, and enjoy ‘til your heart’s content! Keep in mind however that the PH levels change and at times you will not be allowed to enter the pools for your own safety. Be sure to check with the park staff ahead of time.
But that’s just one trail to Rio Celeste you will find in the Tenorio Volcano National Park… there are numerous others. The Tenorio National Park itself is one big adventure!!! With its dormant Tenorio Volcano, distinct rainforest, cloud forest, river habitats and world class bird watching; there is certainly plenty to see and do in Tenorio Volcano National Park. Rio Celeste is just the icing on the cake.
As with so many destinations in Costa Rica, there is a certain tinge of excitement, that twist of uniqueness and wonder in a visit to Rio Celeste. If you’re looking for a rainforest experience with a little something extra, we definitely recommend a visit to Rio Celeste. Remember to bring your camera! But leave your filters behind… none needed here, living color is as lovely and vibrant as it gets.