Costa Rica Rio Celeste Waterfall Mini Guide

Rio Celeste Waterfall Costa Rica

The Blue Waterfall of Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste waterfall is undoubtedly one of the prettiest waterfalls in Costa Rica. The colour of the water here is unreal, and is like nothing I have ever seen. If you are in the volcanos region of Costa Rica, Rio Celeste waterfall is a must see. It is easy to get to here from Liberia as well as La Fortuna and something you should definitely make time for.

How To Get To Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste By Car

We had a bit of a hard time getting to this waterfall as there are several pinned location markers on google maps called Rio Celeste. We drove here early and got a bit lost until we realized we had to head to the Tenorio Volcanio National Park entrance! To find this park entrance you need to put “Parqueo del Parque Nacional Tenorio” into your GPS, Waze or google maps. We had a rental car, and drove from La Fortuna, which took about 1.5 hours. We will add the google maps pin below so you don’t miss the entrance. You do not need a 4×4 for Rio Celeste. If you take the main road it is great shape and any 2wd is fine.

Rio Celeste By Tour

If you don’t have a rental car or don’t fancy driving in a different country not to worry. There are tons of transport options for you. Unfortunately public transport can get you there but cannot get you back in time to La Fortuna or Liberia so your best option is to book a private shuttle and source your own tickets or book a tour. This is the most highly rated tour to Rio Celeste.

When to go to Rio Celeste

The park is open from 8am to 4pm with the last entrance to the hike being at 2pm. We got here for 8 to try to avoid the crowds, but there still was quite a few cars at opening. Even though we were a tiny bit late due to the navigation issue we were still able to fast hike the trail and get a couple moments to ourselves.

Cost and Booking/Tickets

The cost to get into the park is $13 USD each and you have to book in advance. We booked 2 days prior and you have to pick your time. They only allow a certain number of people a day and per time, so if you are set on a specific date and time, plan in advance. You will find this on the SINAC website. They also charge 2000CR Colons about $4usd for parking once you get there. We booked two days in advance in May (the lowers season) and got some of the last spots for 8 am.

Getting to the waterfall

To get to the waterfall you follow a well signed hiking trail for about 2 kms until you reach a fork. At the fork take a left and it will take you to the stairs. From here there is a big descent, where you will then get your first look at the falls. They are gorgeous, and yes it is really this blue!! The only tough part is the last ascent down to the falls. Even if you can’t make the hike down the views at the top are still great.

After the falls there is another trail that goes through the jungle to a really picturesque river spot and this is another 1.5km walk! Totally worth it! The total hike is 6 km return if you add on the blue lagoon and Tenideros on a very well maintained trail.

The trail to Rio Celeste Waterfall

What To see At Rio celeste

Rio Celeste is not just the waterfalls there is al also this gorgeous jungle trail that leads you to the source of Rio Celeste’s amazing blue water. Make sure you plant enough time to do this add on walk as well. Here are some pictures to show you what you can see in each area.

Rio Celeste Falls

Rio Celeste waterfall really is amazing. This one blew everything else in the region away. If you only have time to pick one falls between La Fortuna falls and this one go Rio Celeste everytime.

Rio Celeste Waterfall Costa Rica

We suggest going to Rio Celeste waterfall first and finishing the rest of the trail after. Many people skip the extended trail so you have time to see that before it gets busy later.

Laguna Azul & Los Borbollones

Once you finish with the main falls there is a trail that leads that follows the river upstream all the way to its source ( El Tenidero). On the way you will see this pretty blue lagoon and very photogenic bridge.

Los Tenideros

Once you cross the bridge you are basically at the Los Tenideros. This point is where the two rivers Rio Buenavista and the Quebrada creek mix. The river is blue because of suspended colloidal silica. The effect is super trippy to see in person as its such a clear cut off in colour. There is a local myth that the river is blue because the gods who painted the sky washed there paintbrushes in the river and it stayed that way. I kind of like that explanation better, Once you reach the mixing point take some pictures have a snack and make your way back to the parking.

Other waterfalls in the area

If you have some extra time in the area we highly suggest also checking out La Fortuna falls and the Bajos Del Toro area. Bajos is only an hour away by car and has some of the most impressive least touristed waterfalls we saw in Central America. Highly recommend the Blue Falls of Costa Rica, as well as the tougher but rewarding Canon De Vuelta.