With our adventures in Panama fading into the distance, our journey continued inland to La Fortuna, which, in my opinion, is the busiest tourist hub in all of Costa Rica.
After an early morning shuttle from Puerto Vijeo, we landed safe, sound at our hostel. I wasted no time in booking my first tour.
It has become clear to me that the following day Shaun would be glued to the boob tube watching the Superbowl. As appealing as eating greasy pizza in a hostel while watching Spanish dubbed football on a grainy TV sounded, I figured I would embark on a solo adventure. So, I booked a tour to see Rio Celeste, a waterfall that had landed on my bucket list ever since I read about it in our guidebook.
Rio Celeste is in the Tenorio Volcano National Park, about 1.5 to 2 hours away from La Fortuna depending on traffic. What makes this attraction so unique is the colour of the water. Looking at pictures of it, the light blue colour of the river makes it seem like something you would see in Oz, or Neverland. It was a sight that I just had to see to believe.
Despite its majestic nature, experiencing the wonder of Rio Celeste can be tricky. There is actually only a small window of time that the water emits its brilliant blue hue. During the rainy season, the water can be a muddy brown colour. The best time to visit is in dry season (December-March). That being said, with enough rain, the colour of the river can change at any point throughout the year.
I would suggest asking the tour company about the condition of the river before booking as the tour will still happen regardless of the colour. If it the wrong season, or if it’s been really rainy, you might run the risk of hiking all the way just to see a muddy brown river. Believe me, I’ve heard from people who it happened to, not fun.
I was told that the river was in good shape, so I booked a full day tour that would pick me up in the morning, drive me to the park, have a guide tour me through hike, and drive me home. Oh, did I mention a typical Costa Rican lunch was included? That was a pretty big selling feature!
My tour started bright, and early the next morning. I left Shaun snoring away, and went outside our hostel to meet up with my guide Jessica from Canoa Aventura. Together with three other guests, and our driver Ronadl, we set out on the drive to the Tenorio National Park.
Throughout the drive, Jessica pointed out key features about the area, including fruit plantains, history, and other interesting facts. We even stopped on the side of the road when she spotted a toucan in a tree. All of the information we were getting made the ride fly by.
We arrived at our lunch destination first to pre-order our meals, and to rent gumboots if we wanted to. I had worn runners, and I asked Jessica whether she thought it was worth it. She said it was up to me, but the mud could get pretty deep in some areas.
The thought of getting back to the hostel, and having to deal with washing and drying muddy runners seemed like no fun at all, so I forked out the 3 dollars, and got to sport these stylish boots.
Now, I must point out, I don’t know what compelled me to wear my jean shorts to hike through the rainforest, especially when I had a perfectly good pair of dry wick zip off pants at the hostel. I blame to much sun giving my beach brain. I would highly suggest long pants for this trek, especially if you are going to be sporting the stylish gumboot number. At least I had a waterproof rain jacket! (thanks Mom)
So, once we were all geared up, we were off. A short 2km drive brought us to the park entrance. Jessica paid our park entrance fee of 10 dollars, which was included in our tour package. Just as we started up to the trail, the rain started to pour, luckily we were headed into the forest where we would be covered by the trees.
The forest of Tenorio National Park is considered a transitional forest. This means it is half rain forest, and half cloud forest. Although you get the heavy rains of the rainforest, the distinctive wispy mist of the cloud forest becomes more apparent as you most higher up the trail.
As we carried along the trail, Jessica talked to us about various plants, and birds. Never in my life did I think I would become such an expert on ferns, but l could tell you a thing or two! (I won’t, but if you are interested just ask 😉 )
We hiked for about an hour before we made it to our first stop, the waterfall…and I’m going to park it there for now, otherwise you’ll be reading this post for days!
I won’t leave you empty handed though, here is a little teaser of what’s in store tomorrow!
I know right!
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