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Visiting Rio Celeste

We left the hotel at 9 in the morning, after breakfast. We passed by Fortuna’s downtown and we took an exit at the El Tanque town. After passing by Monterrey we witnessed a beautiful view of San Carlos’ plain. The Arenal River tempted us to stay and enjoy his waters but we were faithful to our objective: Rio Celeste. The next detour was taken when we arrived at Guatuso.

Personally it looked to me ironical that a so calm town used to be in the preculumbian epoch an important regional population center. Crossing here would have been impossible during the conquest because the guatusos or maleku tribe defended relentlessly their territory up to the point that this zone was never controlled by the Spanish army. I would have liked to visit the reservation and meet the descendants of those brave warriors as well as to buy some of their famous crafts but that must be another day’s trip.

After taking an exit at Guatuso, we left the asphalt road. Even though the road here starts being made of gravel, it is in optimal conditions all the way up to Rio Celeste allowing even the transit of small cars. After passing by some ranches and a few houses the jungle vegetation announces that we are entering the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Even though we are still missing some miles before arriving, that combination of gravel road and exuberant vegetation that the Costa Rican national parks have as an introduction makes us start enjoying the beginning of our adventure.

We arrive at our destination after leaving Fortuna an hour and a half ago. The entrance cost is very low as any other national park. There is the option of hiring a guide who explains the park history and the biodiversity found there. They also sell a natural repellent but at least for me, it didn’t work well. In fact if I could change something about the trip would be buying a repellent in the grocery store before arriving there.

The trail is in a very good is important mentioning that the trail is long so you must arrive before 3:30 pm because later there is a risk of suffering limitations or even not be allowed to enter the park. Also the path to the waterfall is a steep climb and demands a considerable physical effort.

ASoon after entering the trail, shows up a beautiful view of mountains with exuberant vegetation and at the end the Tenorio Volcano. The relevant points of interest are: the waterfall, the lake and the dye zone. All of them are beautiful spots. The river gets his particular color by a chemical reaction of between two tributary creeks. Were this happens is precisely the dye zone and is very impressive seeing it. You are not allowed to swim in the river inside the park but you can do it at a bridge outside. Some people doesn’t recommend swim in the river because of the chemicals it contains. I couldn’t resist and well… nothing happened to me and here I am telling you the story. Rio Celeste is very photogenic, but believe me, it is not as amazing as seeing it personally. I have no doubt that it is one of the Costa Rican most beautiful places. I wish you can go there. In the gallery section I posted some pictures.

Bring tennis shoes and clothes comfortable to make exercise. Arrive around midday in order to walk the trail with enough time. Eat before arriving or bring snacks, water and repellent because close to the park there aren’t options to eat or shop.
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Picnic Day at the Lake

The clear sky and the shinning sun incited us to organize a picnic at the lake. We asked at the restaurant for an assorted plate of grilled poultry, beef and pork with tortillas and salad to carry out. We left the hotel and arrived to the lake 15 minutes later. We parked at the place where the boats are thrown into the water even though the ditch is the favorite place for the people to stay. We did it that way because there is a small trail which takes to a green area right next to the lake’s shore. After eating we chilled out while making the digestion. The fresh breeze and the relaxing melody that it produced in complicity with the nearby trees invited me to take a nap.

It was hard to leave that place with such a beautiful view of the lake and the volcano but we had scheduled other activities. We got back to the ditch where the tours agents are and requested a kayak tour. We found an offer which included a boat tour, a kayak tour and a paddle board tour. The boat tour was very nice. We were able to see the volcano in front of us and they took us into some wetlands. The tour guide spoke about the different birds we saw as well as the lake history. We passed by an island with a wide beach. The guide told us that a day could be spent there or even there is the option to camp.

We stopped at a small bay, at the entrance of some wetlands. We practiced kayak at the bay and its surroundings. The kayak allows to explore in detail the site biodiversity. Sometime later we tried the paddle board. It is particularly funny but a good balance is required. Since balance and agility are things I lack, soon I ended up swimming in the fresh lake waters.

On the way back we got the nice surprise that the tour included fruits and beers. So the closure couldn’t been better.

Buy all you need at La Fortuna downtown because there are no grocery stores near the lake. Coordinate any activity you would like to do at the lake reception or in a tourism office in La Fortuna downtown because there are more options available there than in the lake stands. Many tours include the transportation between La Fortuna downtown and the lake.