During our trip to Costa Rica, we knew that spending a day in Tenorio Volcano National Park and hiking to see the famous Rio Celeste Waterfall was something we had to do. The Rio Celeste River and the Rio Celeste Waterfall are both spectacular and shouldn’t be missed during your trip to Costa Rica. The river’s turquoise blue water is even more beautiful in person.
I have created a must-read guide that covers everything from how to get there to the cost to get in and what to do if the weather is less than desirable.
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE RIO CELESTE WATERFALL HIKE
How to Get to Rio Celeste Waterfall
Tenorio Volcano National Park is located in the northern part of Costa Rica in the Alajuela Province. It is approximately 3.5 hours northwest of San Jose and 1 hour from Liberia. At one time there were two entrances to the park, one near Bijagua and the other in Guatuso. The Costa Rican government has since closed the Guatuso entrance, so the only way to access the park is via the Bijagua entrance, which is where we entered. There is a ranger station at the Bijagua entrance where you will purchase your tickets. The ranger station also has restrooms.
Entry Fee for Tenorio Volcano National Park
The entry fee to Tenorio Volcano National Park is $1.20 (USD) for citizens/residents and $12.00 (USD) for non-residents. Children under the age of 12 are free. Tickets cannot be purchased in advance and a limited number of tickets are sold each day. This is the one time in all our traveling that we used a tour guide. It was honestly so worth it. Tour guides are able to get tickets in advance to guarantee admission and our tour guide was really knowledgeable of the area and the wildlife.
Weather Issues While Hiking to Rio Celeste Waterfall
Costa Rica’s dry season is from mid-November to April and their wet (or rainy) season is from May to mid-November. Because if it’s location, it’s not uncommon for Tenorio Volcano National Park to receive rain even during the dry season. We hiked to Rio Celeste Waterfall in January and it rained on us during our hike. It also rained for a few days prior to our hike, so the trail was very muddy. I would definitely recommend dressing for any type of weather, as it can change drastically. If it’s raining when you arrive, you can purchase ponchos and rent rain boots for your hike (I believe the rain boots were $5.00). I would recommend taking a pair of thick socks with you in case you end up having to rent rain boots. It will help prevent blisters.
Hiking Distance and Difficulty
The hike to Rio Celeste Waterfall from the entrance of the park to the steps of the waterfall is a little less than a mile and takes approximately 40 minutes. Although, this can vary depending on the weather and state of the trail. The first ten minutes of the hike is completely paved and very nice. After that, it gets rocky. Once you arrive at the waterfall, you’ll have to take about 250 stairs down to the viewing platform. The stairs are very well maintained, but also very steep coming back up. I am terrified of heights and I clung to the railing for dear life on my way back up the stairs.
Let me preface this with the fact that I am not a hiker. With that being said, in my opinion, this hike is moderately difficult. The weather can be unpredictable and it’s also very humid/hot. There are some fairly steep sections and the rocks and mud don’t make it easy. I would recommend dressing appropriately (closed-toed shoes, breathable clothing, etc.) and even carrying a walking stick to make it a little easier on yourself.
I hope you found this post helpful in planning your trip! If you’ve ever hiked to Rio Celeste Waterfall, what are some of your tips for the hike? Leave a comment below.
Rio Celeste Waterfall Hike