Tenorio Volcano National Park

Rio Celeste, where the sky flows out of the mountain

In Northern Costa Rica lies Tenorio Volcano National Park. This national park is most well known for the beautiful volcano in the center, but also for Rio Celeste, a beautiful, turquoise blue river that flows to a giant, rushing waterfall. And when I saw a picture of this river, probably somewhere on Pinterest or Facebook, I knew I had to go see those epic shades of blue with my own eyes.

How to get there

With the 4 people I met in San Jose and went to La Fortuna with, we decided we wanted to go see the Tenorio Volcano National Park and namely, Rio Celeste. We found the best rate for a rental car in La Fortuna at Adobe Car Rental right in town. I think we ended up paying $30USD per person including gas for a 24 hour rental for a nice Hyundai SUV. It is about a two hour drive along the Costa Rican back roads that I adore. Once you get to the park, parking is about $2USD and the entrance fee into the park is $12USD. Totally worth it!

How does the river get its color?

Rio Celeste is actually fed by two colorless rivers, Buenavista River and Sour Creek, but the mixing of the concentrations in each river gives Rio Celeste this epic color turnout. Seeing the place where the colors mixed was incredible, and I think we stood here and contemplated how it was possible for a good 10 minutes.

Hiking trails

The trail system here is really easy to follow and is for all levels. I think we did the full loop after a few days of rain, so it was slick in a few places and muddy in a lot of places but it was still relatively easy. I would highly recommend wearing close-toed shoes that can get wet or shoes like Chacos. I wore my Chacos for the first time here and they were perfect! You can rent rain boots like Rita has on below for less than $5USD on site. But make sure you bring your own socks!

Flora and Fauna

You’re practically guaranteed to see some epic wildlife while in this park. We saw monkeys, coati, and tons of birds. And the jungle here is just jaw dropping. Actually all of Costa Rica’s jungles are incredible… the sheer amount of varying species of plants and animals that is houses is just mind blowing. You could walk the same path in the jungle every day for years and still not see every animal and plant that trail has to offer.

Stops along the way

We pulled over at this bridge along the way from La Fortuna to Tenorio Park and chilled along the riverside for a while. This cool spot is great for swimming, relaxing and hanging out with friends before or after visiting the park. Check it out!

The biggest tree I’ve ever seen in real life

We also stopped along the way back to La Fortuna when we saw this epic tree trunk tucked along a path off the side of the road. Turns out that it is one of the largest and oldest trees in the area! My true tree hugger self loved this ♥

Next stop: Bocas del Toro

After this fun day of exploring, we all went our separate ways. But Rita and I met up again in Puerto Viejo and went to Panama together! Next post will be about the islands of Bocas del Toro in Panama. To get there, we took buses and vans, walked across a bridge, and a water taxi to get to our island. We went scuba diving, partied until 5AM, explored hidden beaches, and I devoured some octopus tacos. Bocas has a lot to offer and we both had a blast!

onward and upward,





A 24 year old nomad who has explored over 30 countries. I'm a modern day hippie, star gazer, and yoga teacher. Cookie butter, handstands, and my dog make me happy! And these posts contain my stories and memories of traveling and falling in love with the world. Cheers!


  1. Ahhh! This place look INCREDIBLE! That water is absolutely beautiful and I need to put this as a place on my list for when I visit Costa Rica. Thank you so much sharing for the tips about shoes (I am so awful about it).

    • Thank you!! I think it is a must do for sure! You’ll love the beauty all along the trails and once you see the waterfall in person it is just amazing!

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