The Celeste River in the Tenorio National Park has been described as the place the gods dipped their paintbrushes in while painting the sky in one Costa Rican storytelling myth.
The turquoise hue of the river and a large waterfall that feeds the river are caused by the reaction of volcanic minerals as they mix mineral found in the Buenavista River. When Sour Creek and the Buenavista Rivers come together, the result is the River Celeste with its intense blue green. Accompanying the lush tropical rainforest of Tenorio National Park, Río Celeste is an intoxicating diversion for those that come to visit.
The river is popular for taking swims near the pools that gather at the base of the cascades. It is also the site of natural hot springs and thermal mud pools. Visitors need to exercise a certain degree of restraint when coming to the area for the hot springs and mud baths due to the temperature getting too hot. Dip a toe in before you take the plunge.
The Tenorio Cloud Forest is not frequented with numbers of visitors found at places such as Monteverde Cloud Forest, so you won’t be swarmed with tourists when making your way to the Celeste River. There are facilities on the grounds as well which include a bathroom and showers. Camping is permitted in the park.
Tenorio Volcano can also be summited nearby, and it is worth the trip to see the reason for the Celeste River’s coloration. The entire area would take at least several weeks to explore, but the focal points have already been mapped out for most travelers. Río Celeste is an hour and forty minutes’ drive from Daniel Oduber Quiros International Airport in Liberia, Costa Rica, and Juan Santamaria International Airport in the Central Valley region is a little over three hours away. If you plan on making the trip in a rented vehicle, you should reserve one with four wheel drive.
Río Celeste is one of the seven Natural Wonders of Costa Rica as voted by the people of Costa Rica in the newspaper La Nación.