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Hotels and Lodges in Rio Celeste, Costa Rica - The Ultimate Guide

Updated: 2 days ago

Rio Celeste is a river in Tenorio Volcano National Park in Costa Rica. Rio Celeste translates to “sky blue river” and for good reason: the entire river is turquoise, which is very rare in Costa Rica! Not only is the river beautiful, it has a large waterfall and borders several hot springs. No wonder why it’s one of the most popular places in Costa Rica!

Rio Celeste, Costa Rica hotels and lodges
The turquoise Rio Celeste in Costa Rica

Let’s get more into the science behind the turquoise color of Rio Celeste. The physical phenomenon known as Mie Scattering creates the color. Two rivers converge at the Rio Celeste, both of which are colorless. These two rivers are Sour Creek and Buenavista River. Sour Creek has high acidity due to volcanic activity at Tenorio Volcano National Park, which is why it is called “Sour” Creek. Buenavista River, on the other hand, has a large concentration of aluminosilicate particles with a small diameter. When these rivers converge and mix, the lower pH will cause the aluminosilicate particles to aggregate and enlarge. Many lakes and rivers in the United States and Canada are also turquoise, but for a different reason; there is “rock flour” in the water, which is clay and silt particles that were created when glaciers moved through the area.

Moving past the science part of Rio Celeste, there is a town called Río Celeste. It is only two miles (3 kilometers) away from the famous Hideaway Rio Celeste Hotel. Also in the area are Catarata Rio Celeste Hotel and Cabinas Piuri. Only a two-minute walk up the road is the Rio Celeste free pool. This is the most upstream place that people can swim in the river since swimming in the river is prohibited in Tenorio Volcano National Park. All you need to do is walk underneath the bridge! I would highly recommend not putting your head underneath the water due to the particles in it; it’s not the healthiest thing in the world for you.

Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel in Costa Rica
Rio Celeste Waterfall

I would also recommend hiking for an hour up the Río Celeste and into the national park. The hike through the jungle and over bridges will take you to the Catarata Rio Celeste (Rio Celeste Waterfall) and the viewpoints, Mirador Rio Celeste, La Laguna Azul, and Los Hervideros. The waterfall is about halfway up the trail. You will need to go down dozens of stairs, but the tall waterfall and turquoise pool are definitely worth it. Although you are not allowed to swim in these areas (there are fences blocking your access), it is still a stunning place.

Just a few more minutes of walking upstream, you will reach the convergence point of the Buenavista River and Sour Creek (called Teñidero. Unión Ríos Buenavista y Quebrada Agria). You will be able to see the water turn from clear to turquoise in just a few feet, an amazing sight for both scientists and nature lovers.

Costa Rica Rio Celeste Hotel and Catarata Hotel
The mixing of Sour Creek and Buenavista River into the Rio Celeste

Now onto Tenorio Volcano National Park. The Tenorio Volcano (also known as Volcán Tenorío) is unsurprisingly the main part of the park. It is home to the Celeste River thermal springs, small geysers, rivers, waterfalls, lagoons, and mountains that provide panoramic views. There are both primary cloud forests and rainforests here, too. The Lago Las Dantas Trail leads to the volcano’s summit, and I would recommend this for avid hikers. Next to the national park is the Tapir Valley Nature Reserve, home to the only known location of the Tapir Valley tree frog!

Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica hotels and lodges
Tenorio Volcano National Park

The Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is by far the most popular hotel and lodge in Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica. It is also known as Hideaway Rio Celeste Hotel, Hideaway Hotel Rio Celeste, Hideaway Río Celeste, Hotel Rio Celeste, and Rio Celeste Hideaway Katira. The prices can range from $490 a night for a garden view casita with a king bed to $590 a night for a forest view casita with 2 queen beds. The prices are also consistent for most of the year. There are 26 rooms so book early! Some of Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, Costa Rica’s amenities include an outdoor pool, a spa, free parking, free WiFi, air conditioning, airport transfer and shuttle, laundry facilities, a restaurant, a bar, a gym, 24/7 front desk, child-friendly activities like an arcade and game room, and much more.

Hotels and lodges in Rio Celeste, Costa Rica
One of the many frogs at Rio Celeste

There are plenty of hotels and lodges in Río Celeste, Costa Rica, including many next to rivers, some surrounded by dense jungles and forests, and others in beautiful towns nearby. The options listed below are separated by luxury, moderately priced, and cheap. Unlike some other towns in Costa Rica, there are dozens of great options to choose from. Prices can range from $25 to $500 a night during the wet season (May - November), and $30 to more than $590 a night in the dry season (December - April) if you are interested in the beautiful Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel. Some amenities include a pool, free breakfast, bars and lounges, a restaurant, a wonderful view of the volcano and rainforests, a balcony, and much more!

Rio Celeste Hotels and Lodges - Luxury

Rio Celeste Hotels and Lodges - Moderately Priced

Rio Celeste Hotels and Lodges - Cheap

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The hotels and lodging at Rio Celeste, Costa Rica
The sunset at Rio Celeste

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