Both of these are upscale accommodations (but there are other really nice places).
Of the two, the Rio Celeste Hideaway is the most upscale and it is really beautiful. It is located about 1 km from the entrance to the National Park and I think they have something of a trail on their property or access to the Park.
Celeste Mountain Lodge is less upscale but really nice. It's a few miles from the Park entrance but has fantastic views from their rooms.
If you are going to be in the area for 3 nights, you might as well stay at Rio Celeste Hideaway the whole time.
You should know that both of these lodges are quite remote and there is NOTHING nearby except for a few simple restaurants. No shopping, no nightlife, nothing. It's about 30-45 minutes to get into Bijagua for shopping or restaurants, banking etc. They are both located on an unpaved, rocky road. It's not dangerous or anything like that -- just slow travel.
Thank you Hattie. I thought Celeste Lodge is nearer to town hence thought perhaps I could break the stay. If they are both in the same area then your right just stick to Rio Celeste. I didnt realise its so far from town though...is 3 night too much then?
The other places in town like Casitas Tenorino, La carolina are booked unfortunately.Edited: 12:40 pm, February 16, 2015
If you love nature and natural areas, three nights won't be too much. There are also day trips you can do -- such as Cano Negro Wildlife Refuge or tubing on the Rio Celeste that will give you some time away from the hotel. You can also drive into Bijagua for a little look around or lunch at one of the simple restaurants -- or a pizza cooked in a wood-fired oven.
You will see a ton of birds and possibly more wildlife near the hotel than in the National Park because the Park has become more popular recently. So if this sounds good to you, go with the 3 nights. If you are thinking.... "birds... meh" then maybe too much. Keep in mind that there are as many species of birds in Costa Rica as in all of North America so you can see everything from the glorious toucans to the tiniest of bananaquits and everything in between. The hotel has a lot of natural plantings on their property which should attract a lot of butterflies also.
we are not really bird people but mainly becos we are not really exposed to it living in big cities all our lives. We are into R&R with a unique experience and I love rustic natural surroundings. I think we will try 3 nights.. The remaining 2 nights we will spend in Samara.
I wil follow Hattie advice about Bijagua any time…she REALLY knows the area…better than any body!
Hattie is spot on! These lodgings are remote and the rocky road isn't very enticing if you plan to arrive after dark. I stayed at Sueno Celeste, it was absolutely lovely and easily accessible so it made our frequent trips to explore the town so easy!
Hattie is correct about the Rio Celeste Hideaway being close and within easy walking distance to the entrance to the park with a well marked, well traveled trail. It is the best hotel I have stayed in here in Costa Rica and ranks up there with some of the best in the world.
The hike to falls is pretty tough if you have a bad hip like I do, but I still made it, both up and back thank God!
Worth hiring a guide to point out lots of animals, birds and insects we probably would have missed had he not been along showing us where to look.
Pura vida and enjoy,
Randy Spate owner Dream On Sportfishing
If going to Rio Celeste Hideaway in the near future, I highly recommend the entrance at Katira (between Upala and Guatuso). It's only about 9km of dirt/gravel road and currently graded and smooth the entire way. As others have said, and Hattie drove recently the Bijagua route is in especially bad shape at the moment.
Well, it will depend on where you are coming from. If you are coming from one of the northern Pacific beaches, then going by way of Katira is very much out of the way. (Katira is on Rt 4, north of La Fortuna). If you are coming from the south or from the Arenal area, of course, it makes more sense.
But a lot of people want to experience something of the "real" Costa Rica -- think "non-touristy" and choose to spend a night or two (or 3) in Bijagua or at one of the lodges near the Park.
It is typical in this area to grade and "fix up" the unpaved roads at this time of year -- after rainy season. So it's possible that any day now, the road to the Park by way of Bijagua will be graded and "fixed up."
And by the way, it really is more than 9km from Katira to the Park -- more on the order of 20 km. (I've driven it several times.......)
I drove it 2 days ago. The Rio Celeste Hideaway signs from Katira say 11km and I clocked it at a bit less, and the park entrance is roughly 1km before the hotel, coming from Katira. Either way it was 15min on relatively smooth, well graded back country road.