Original photos from February 2012.
It’s natural to want to explore the popular landmarks when you travel. But what Alex & I find even more exciting, are places off the beaten path, the places you have to yourselves. I read about Rio Celeste in Lonely Planet, which means it’s not completely unknown, however when we went... we literally had the entire steep hike to ourselves (aside from a few people we met at the waterfall).
A little about the river from Anywhere Costa Rica:
Situated within the Tenorio Volcano National Park, the Río Celeste winds, tumbles and crashes through a verdant rainforest. A trip here involves a moderately challenging, one-hour hike through the park’s secondary forest – an effort that is well worth the trip. Two rivers merge into one at Borbollones, a confluence where the minerals from the river and volcano meet and subsequently create the famous blue hue.
In addition to the colorful attraction of the water, the river also has several thermal hot springs and a large waterfall. Dips into the pool at the base of the fall are popular, as are soaks in the hot springs; still, one needs to be wary of the hot water and boiling mud pots, and use caution while exploring the banks of the river.
The Río Celeste is best accessed through Guatuso, about an hour drive from the town La Fortuna. From the park’s entrance, it takes about an hour to hike to the Río Celeste Waterfall.
Expert Vagabond also has a great post about it: Fairytale Magic: Costa Rica’s Rio Celeste.