Monday 3/13: Rio Celeste day

Ahh, falling a little behind… big surprise…. 😅

Monday, March 13 I had planned that we would do a day trip to the Tenorio Volcano National Park, where the beautiful Rio Celeste is. It’s a river/waterfall that is a brilliant, incredible BLUE (celeste) color. It is about an hour away from La Fortuna where we are staying.

We didn’t have any certain timeline though, so we took it easy Monday morning. The mornings have been very clear and perfect with clouds and rain moving in in the evenings the last couple days.

Love sitting on the patio every morning. I’ve spent a good hour sitting out each morning, from 6-7 or so.

I have woken up every day at about 5:45 a.m. on the dot, with no alarm. Not sure why! We haven’t been staying up super late (we are usually more of night owls on vacation). Maybe 10:30-11 at the latest, or earlier some nights. Been busy, active days and lots of fresh air, plus heat + humidity!

Ethan enjoying another Costa Rican morning

Before leaving for the day trip, I wanted to drive the 2 km up the hill to a volcano overlook on the hotel property.

While waiting for my parents, wandering around the area across from our room:

So pretty!

Volcano overlook:

There was a group of tourists taking pics, so we had to wait a few minutes.

Once they moved, I got this wonderful photo!!

Arenal Volcano and Lake Arenal. Gorgeous.

Then family photos, of course:

Such a great spot!!! Our resort has literally the most amazing volcano views- we are so close!


The boys love this buffet breakfast. It’s been an awesome way to start every day.

We have had beautiful birds “visiting” us every morning too.

Me outside the restaurant

We packed up a few things and got ready to head out. This was a little before 10.

Let’s go… excited for waterfall hike! I ❤️ waterfalls.

Drive to Rio Celeste

The drive was a bit over an hour. From our resort, it wasn’t the easiest drive. There was a fully paved route, but out through the other side of town- this was the closest route. It was a beautiful, interesting drive through rural, tiny towns. It is an eye opening look at another way of life, that’s for sure.

Big stretches of this route were unpaved, steep, and rough.

Stopped at a little store for some snacks and drinks to bring along.

Finally made it. We had to pay $4 USD to park the car, then bought our tickets to the National Park.

Parque Nacional Volcan Tenorio

Then, we started the hike! It said the main hike was about 3.5 miles round trip (an out and back trail).

I would say the main trail was “moderate”. Some steep/rough areas but mostly pretty smooth sailing overall.

A few wet areas
And steep with roots
Mom testing out her water hiking shoes 🙂

We had started the hike at 12 noon. I think it took us less than a half hour to make it to the big staircase down to the waterfall.

Rio Celeste

Soon the waterfall came into view.

WOW!!!! This was soooooooo beautiful! The pictures certainly don’t do it justice. Just loved this.

I specifically wanted to go Monday because I knew the weather had been calm over the weekend. When it’s stormy, the brilliant blue can turn muddy and brown. But it’s usually this blue color if weather has been clear, which is why it’s such a highly visited place. So unique and pretty.

I again took a zillion pictures (probably the same photo again and again… “ooh, so pretty! Need to take a pic… oh wait, already took that same shot… 😅).

Bunch of family pics:

I love all of these!!!! ❤️❤️

Close up of the waterfall.

We spent quite a while just enjoying the view. There is NO swimming at this waterfall- just an observation deck, really.

Then we had to hike back up all of these stairs…… it went on for a long way.

View looking back from above:

From here, there is another off shoot trail that is less traveled. Seems many people just hike to the waterfall and then hike out. I wanted to see the other “stops” on the map though! So we continued.

First stop was titled “el mirador” or “the look out”. Beautiful!

The next stop was a bit further, and was the Blue Lagoon. The same blue water from the waterfall, but a smaller lagoon. Also stunning water!

Here you can see where a different river meets up with the blue water. It’s a stark difference! There is something about the minerals I think in the blue water area that makes it turn this bright blue.

We kept going… the trail got pretty challenging actually. Very steep and big steps down boulders, etc. But we were almost there. Asher had a pretty crabby attitude at this point (full transparency here!) and I was irritated with his crabby attitude. Yes, it was hot, but come on. It’s like 20 degrees in Wisconsin. Can’t we handle a little heat?!! It is better than getting snowed on, is it not??

The second to last stop was titled “Borbollones”, or basically “the bubbles”. This is a natural springs type area where the water bubbles up from underground. This whole area smelled like sulfur!

Hard to see in photo, but it was like a natural hot tub (except pretty sure you wouldn’t want to swim in this one).

Last stop was this neat little bridge! Then we turned around and started the hike out. It was pretty far and our legs were definitely feeling it. But the whole thing was very worth it!

On the hike out
Babbling Brook 🙂

Oh, and we saw our first MONKEYS of the trip near the end of the trail!!! There were a bunch of them swinging around in the trees. I got a cool video. They are so cute! And a total novelty for us- definitely no monkeys in the United States.

At the end of the trail, Ivan bought the boys some more fresh pineapple. Pineapple here is amazing. I had originally thought maybe we would get some lunch (a late lunch) before heading back, but the drive was rough I didn’t want to chance it getting dark (or raining). So we decided to power through and drive back to La Fortuna and just figured we’d get an early dinner there.

Part of the drive back!! Hello, goats.

Finally made it back to La Fortuna. We picked a restaurant that seemed to specialize in fresh roasted chicken!

They also had an adorable Sloth IPA:

Very cute atmosphere, too!
Asher ate a 1/2 chicken…

The boys really wanted to go back to swim for the evening, but unfortunately it did start to rain during dinner. We thought it would stop, but, it really didn’t! So we ended up just hanging out on the balcony and going to bed pretty early! After climbing up and down all those steps, plus the long hot hike, we were TIRED, anyway.

Another great day!!

3 thoughts on “Monday 3/13: Rio Celeste day”

  1. That water!!! Oh my goodness, Kae. It’s so gorgeous. This seems like such a cool place to visit.

    My kids would have been complaining like crazy (though in general they love woods walks…just not city stuff – haha – as we learned the hard way last year).


  2. Props to your parents for doing that hike! My mom is younger than they are and she would NOT be able to do that.

    It looks so gorgeous and I’m loving these recaps.


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