Tenorio Volcano National Park – Rio Celeste

Today was our third, and last possible, chance to make the one excursion we had booked through Airbnb prior to leaving: a hike in Rio Celeste, Tenorio Volcano. We initially rescheduled from the 30th to the 31st, in hopes that my travel buddy would be well by then, and yesterday (the 31st) we went to the wrong meeting spot for our ride.

We started the day with breakfast at home, including amazingly fresh pineapple and papaya that we purchased in La Fortuna yesterday.

We saw the blue river, and it was the most beautiful blue colour, even though there was no sunlight on it due to it being overcast. We also saw the point where two rivers combine. There was a strong smell, and Arturo explained it is not sulphur but a smell from the chemical reaction. Then there is a spot called, “Borbollones” because here you can see the water bubbling up. This article has more information on why the river is so blue.

One of the steepest sections of the trail was the stairway down to the waterfall, and they only let so many people down at one time and limited your time there, which was nice because it was crowded enough as it was. The waterfall and pool of turquoise blue water beneath was also stunning. It started to rain, lightly at first and then a full shower but, being from the “wet coast” ourselves, we didn’t mind and were well prepared.

On the way out of the park, we came across a large group of people clustered around the base of a tree, snapping pictures. When he realized what it was, our guide kept us back a safe distance… it was a viper (I think he called it an eyelash viper). After we took pictures (from our safe distance), he stripped some branches of their leaves and very carefully moved the snake to a perch up and back away from the trail.

It is a small snake; follow the tip of the umbrella to see it

As we boarded the bus after the hike, Arturo offered us pieces of coconut. I don’t usually like the texture of coconut, but this was hands down the most tender coconut I have ever eaten.

Shortly after leaving the park, we made a stop at a 700-year-old ceiba tree. It was huge and beautiful.

A Canadian in front of a 700-year-old Ceiba tree

Then a little further along on the drive, our guide pulled over so we could see a yellow-throated toucan. Apparently, there are five different kinds of toucans in Costa Rica.

Yellow throated toucan

The next stop was for lunch. Arturo had taken our orders shortly after we got on the bus, so it was basically served to us as soon as we sat down. I really enjoyed my vegetarian meal and especially the house-made hot sauce.

A storm was reportedly incoming, so rather than do the hike to the blue river for a swim, Arturo drove us. It was on the same property as where we had lunch and sounded like it was privately owned, but there were excellent facilities, so I think it might be like a private campsite. Arturo said the owners are friends of his mothers from church, so they let him bring his tour groups there.

The water was cold at first, but as soon as I got in, it felt fantastic. Arturo gave us lots of time to swim around and enjoy the water.

From there, we started to make our way back to the meeting spot, but not before one more pullover for wildlife! His eagle eyes picked up howler monkeys in the trees across the road from us. This picture won’t do it justice, but believe me, that’s what it is. It was neat to see them moving along the branches and swinging from one branch to another.

We were relieved to see our car waiting for us when we got dropped off. Once we got home, we put some laundry on and sat out on the balcony with the sangria our host left us as a gift and some chips. It looked for a moment like the volcano was capped in smoke but still no clear view of the whole of it.

On the Airbnb page for our house, the owners had recommended a couple of restaurants. We had gone to the closest one yesterday, so we decided to try the other one, Restaurante Victorino’s, tonight. It is about midway between here and La Fortuna. It had a fun, modern environment with a lovely outdoor patio. I enjoyed a Caprese salad and Caribbean rice for dinner. Then they brought us little shots for dessert.

After that, it was back home and time to wind down. Tomorrow we make our way to the coast, and we’re planning to take our time and enjoy the drive.

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