Discover Rio Celeste and the Tenorio Volcano National Park


Local Legends says “When God finished painting the sky, she washed his brushes in the river that now bears the name Rio Celeste.” Rio Celeste is a right blue river named after the color of its water caused by dissolved minerals at the confluence of two small rivers.

Rio Celeste is located in the Tenorio Volcano national park is about 11km from Casitas Tenorio. The trail is about 7km in total. After 1.5km you will pass the descent to the impressive waterfall. Other highlights include the impressive blue lagoon, bubbling hot pools, the Teñideros” (or dye point) where the river takes its blue color from merging with a small creek and a lookout point. The park opens at 8am and entrance is not permitted after 2pm.

Tickets must now be purchased online. Tickets will no longer be sold at the park office. You can reserve up to three months in advance. Tickets can be purchased via the SINAC website. You need to make an account first and then purchase your tickets. We recommend doing this as soon as is feasible, as when we did a trial to purchase some tickets, the system took a long time to send the confirmation email to set up the profile.

You need to make an account on the SINAC site and purchase your tickets here:
Tickets are for timed entry- so you must select the time that you want to enter, and you can enter up for 40 mins after your allocated time. The time slots are from 8.00am-2.00pm. There are no refunds if you are late, or if the weather is rainy and the river is not blue. We recommend visiting the park at 11am, as this allows time for the the river to go back to being blue if there has been rainfall overnight. 

The colour of the river can change after high amounts of rainfall due to sediments carried in the river, however after several hours of dry weather the river’s colour can be restored to its remarkable blue colour.

Please note: Swimming in the river and hot springs is no longer permitted. You can swim in the river outside the park. Dive past the park entrance and you will pass a bridge that crosses Rio Celeste. You can park your car here and swim. Please see our activities page for more information.

For a comprehensive guide to visiting Rio Celeste, check out these excellent articles from our friends at the MyTanFeet  and Two weeks in Costa Rica travel blogs.

Driving Time from Casitas Tenorio: 30 mins

Entrance Fee: $13 (Visitors) 1000 Colones (Nationals/residents)

Duration: Approx. 4-5 hrs.

Difficulty: Moderate – Difficult

Bring: Hiking boots, long pants, camera, rain jacket, insect repellant, hat.

Purchase tickets here:

Notes: A car with high wheel clearance (not necessarily 4X4), or a taxi can be arranged for about $55 round trip.



Rio Celeste Costa Rica: The Complete Visitor’s Guide to the Magical Sky Blue River
Understanding the Science Behind the Marvel: Why is the Río Celeste so Blue?
Fairytale Magic: Rio Celeste Waterfall In Costa Rica
Río Celeste remains true blue
The Enchanting Rio Celeste