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“Muddiest day of my life!”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Rio Celeste

Rio Celeste
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Río Celeste Waterfall Hike from Arenal
Ranked #1 of 38 things to do in Alajuela
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Belmont, North Carolina, United States
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Muddiest day of my life!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2014

Muddiest day of my life, but also one of the best days of my life! We began 2014 here, with family, traveling and being active in nature! It's beyond beautiful, but not much trail info out there! It's moderate hiking with some strenuous points that are short lived. We went with a 3 yr old child and a 16 yr old with down syndrome, that both walked the whole way, so it's a do-able hike for almost anyone! Naturally, we were slower than most, with children, but the hike was about 5 hours for us, with us eating lunch and taking in the scenery.

You begin after paying at the entrance, and the first part is paved (which will fool you into thinking it's a piece of cake). Once the path stops its all mud, rocks, and stream crossing FUN hiking! It's one way in/one way out, once you arrive at the waterfall, the trail splits in two. Sort of like a "Y" pattern, not a loop trail as many sites state! Either go left, and down the steps (over 400 steps), to see the waterfall, or go right to continue towards the lookout point, lagoon, hot springs, and the point where the water turns blue (in that order!). We saved the waterfall for last per my family's suggestion who have been before, and that was a GOOD choice b/c those steps will kick your tail!!! You will pass over 3 bridges on the longer path, very picturesque! Once you hit the point where the water turns blue, it's the end of the road and you turn around and head back to where you came from! Passing the bridges, hot springs, lagoon, and lookout once more, until back at the waterfall intersection!

Also, my family had visited a couple years prior and stated there used to be more hot springs, now you only see one area. The trail used to continue further to more, but people were not respecting the forest so they closed the trail down, so you can no longer get to those areas. The one hot spring you pass, would be very awkward to swim in as it RIGHT on the main path and people stop to take pics and feel the water temp. So not a relaxing haven to swim, anymore. PLUS the waterfall is blocked off now too. I'm sure there are side trails to go chomping thru the rainforest to get to it, however, it is not marked or encouraged. We saw no one down in the water.

Beautiful, worth every minute!!

Visited January 2014
10 Thank Allison C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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338 reviews from our community

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English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Worth it”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2014

We came here on a very expensive day tour from La Fortuna since we didn't have a rental car, and my wife and I both thought the cost was worth it! What a beautiful place and an enjoyable hike!

Two responses to other reviews:

1. True, you cannot swim in the river/waterfall, but we did not see any police bossing people around, nor was it particularly crowded.

2. The hike is not that hard if you are in remotely decent shape - the people who are complaining that the hike was too strenuous must never get off the couch.

Visited January 2014
4 Thank stopthebus
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“The waterfall dilema”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 4, 2014

Several years ago a kid drowned in the waterfall because of the curret so on the high season there are some police guys that dont even let you get near the waterfall its frustrating after walking 3 kilometers of a mud terrain and not take a dip or even a good look. Try going on the low season or really early or late at afternoon where there is no police .

Visited January 2014
1 Thank Nataliaruizh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
135 reviews
111 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 94 helpful votes
“A natural wonder!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 10, 2013

When researching what to do while visiting Costa Rica, this was on my must do list and it did not disappoint. The park is beautiful and the amazingly blue water was breathtaking! We went during off season, when it is possible that rain storms can wash the blue color out, but luckily, the water was still a brilliant blue when we went. (I've heard the best month to go is February.) The hike includes beautiful rainforest scenery and views, a phenomenal blue river with a waterfall, draw bridges and natural hot springs to soak in. You cannot swim in the river due to the natural chemicals that make it's blue hue, but you can go in the hot springs, if you choose to. If you enjoy being in nature, hiking and seeing natural wonders, you will enjoy being in this park.

Travelers tips:
-The unpaved roads to the park are horrible. A 4WD car is a must. Even with a 4WD car, expect to be knocked around and to have to drive very slowly.
-The signage to the park is not obvious, so use a GPS to get there.
-The hike itself is not easy. Expect mud- lots of mud. I mean ankle deep mud. There are rubber boots to rent at the ranger station, but we made it ok with hiking boots. Just understand your shoes will get very dirty.
-The hike is not easy meaning there are hills and lots of rock stairs and then adding the muddy conditions on top of that, make it a challenging hike. You will sweat, your leg muscles will burn, you will be breathing hard. Even with all of that, I still highly recommend this hike!
-Go earlier in the day so you don't feel like you have to rush. The park closes at 5pm.
-Bring plenty of water and maybe some food.
-A rain jacket isn't a bad idea if you want to stay fairly dry
-bring a swimsuit and towel for the hot springs if you plan to soak in them
-and of course, BRING A CAMERA!

Visited November 2013
8 Thank Chelsey D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Annapolis, Maryland
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Waterfall was nice, but no wildlife”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 6, 2013

Was told we would absolutely see monkeys and sloths even, yet not one thing was in the rainforest on our hike to the waterfall. We signed up for a 1-2 hour hike (to the waterfall), but were taken on a 3-4 hour hike, which was not what we wanted to do. We didn't realize it until we got home. The guide was really nice and told us a lot about things in the rainforest. We saw one monkey on the drive out of the area, a couple toucans and some other birds. So at least we saw a monkey finally...We were beyond exhausted when we got home due to the long hike, and weren't able to have energy to go out that night, which we had intended. The drive from Tamarindo to Rio Celeste was about 3 hours, so it was a very long day. The hike was just a 'hike' to see the waterfall, but I've seen better in Puerto Rico's El Yunque rainforest. And you can swim in that one--unlike this one.
I wouldn't recommend it unless you're staying close to the area.

Visited October 2013
1 Thank TBoH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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