Costa Rica is home to twenty-seven national parks, including UNESCO World Heritage sites. The parks protect the multitude of exotic flora and fauna that make the country such a desirable destination for exploration and adventure. Some scientists and conservationists have even referred to this small Latin American country is a “living eden.” Visitors to Tamarindo are in luck, as a number of top destinations for wildlife and natural wonders are just a day trip away. One such place is the Rio Celeste, located in the Tenorio Volcano National Park. The journey is a muddy trek through micro-climates that will surely prove that nature is pure magic.

Photos by Chelsea Audibert

The most notable destination of this adventure is the Rio Celeste waterfall, accessed by a ginger descent down 250 steps. It’s a somewhat difficult hike that pays in breathtaking views. Those that choose to continue past the waterfall will be treated to the oasis of the blue lagoon. While swimming is prohibited, photos are encouraged! If you notice a bit of a peculiar smell, that’s just the sulphur emitted by the region’s volcanoes.

Once hikers reach the furthest point, they will be blown away by the optical phenomenon of El Teñidero. This coloration is formed by the convergence of two clear water rivers: Rio Buenavista and Quebrada. It seems almost impossible for this occurrence not to be the result of some complex chemical reaction. In reality, a mineral known as aluminosilicate is suspended along the river and reflects the light from the sun to create this profound hue of blue. 

A visit to the Rio Celeste is straight out of a traveler’s fairytale. It may be a surreal moment for some travelers. Local legend has it that when God finished painting the sky, he dipped his brush into the Rio Celeste, blessing it with the rich shade of blue–see for yourself on your trip to Costa Rica!

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