1. Peggy Mendelson

    I’m 65 and have a bad knee. But I really want to go swim there. Probably can’t hike more than a mile. We are going tomorrow April 2nd. Please let me know the best way to go swimming there! We have a car. I think it’s a little Kia SUV

    • Hi Peggy! You can’t actually swim in Rio Celeste – it’s a protected area and no swimming is allowed. Unfortunately the trail to view the river is rather long and muddy, so its not an easy hike. There’s also a lot of inclines/steps. However, if you go slow I’m sure you can make it. Just bring plenty of water and stop along the way. Hope that helps in some way. Enjoy Costa Rica!

  2. Sandra

    We are honeymooning there in July and were hoping to see this. We’re staying at a lodge about half an hour away…how many hours would you recommend setting aside in order to see everything?

    • Great spot for a honeymoon! I’d allow at least 4 hours… it will take you about an hour each way to hike through the park. 4 hours will allow you to explore at a leisurely pace and enjoy all the beautiful vistas. Que tengan buen viaje!

  3. Belki

    Just want it to say thank you for all the information and Beautiful Photos.
    I will be visiting Costa Rica but don’t know if my husband likes the long hike.
    Again thank you for all the information.


  4. Ana

    Headed there tomorrow! So excited will probably do the hike Tuesday morning. Was planning on doing this hike with tennis shoes… It isn’t the rainy season do you still recommend waterproof hiking boots? Thank you for all the great info!

    • Hi Ana I hope you have a great hike! If you have waterproof hiking boots I’d recommend them even if it’s dry season – this region gets more rain than others in Costa Rica and the trail is often muddy.

  5. Stan

    Hi – thanks for the notes and pics. fly in tomorrow morning to liberia. thought we would rent a car and head over there. if we got there around 1pm, is that enough time to enough the hike? can we do it without a guide or is that not recommneded? where do i drive to in order to hike the trail, or are there multiple spots.?


    • Hi Stan. If you arrive at 1 p.m. that should be sufficient time to do the hike. The sun will set around 5/5:30, but 4 hours is enough time to explore. Happy hiking!

  6. Mary Kelaita

    Hi! Thanks for the valuable information! Is the hike free since it’s a national park? I found on one website that there are two routes, and one is shorter. Is this true?

    • There is a small cost to enter the National Park to hike (I believe it’s around $10). There are several routes through the park, but only one main trail that follows the river. Happy hiking!

  7. Paul

    Hi there! We are staying in Tamarindo. We rented a car. How far from Tamarindo would you say Rio Celeste is? We are thinking about taking a trip to see it.


    • Hi Paul!

      From Tamarindo I’d say Rio Celeste is around 3 hours. Definitely allow more time than your GPS might indicate as road conditions may surprise you.

  8. Nicole

    We are planning a trip to Costa Rica at the end of September and have read that the Caribbean coast will have the best weather at that time of year… we really wanted to see this river though, will it be pretty impossible to do so then?

  9. Steffi

    Hi Everyone! I am from Paraguay. This was my first place that I visited since I arrived in Costa Rica! It was a long way from the capital; however, it was totally worth it! My recommendation is that you should go during a day that there is no raining. This is important to know because the water will not be completely “celeste.” Also, wear some boots and bring a jacket in case you need it!

  10. Dominique

    I guess the times have changed. I visted Costa Rica many years ago and was lucky enough to swim by the waterfall. The hotel resort tour guide encouraged it. It was the most amazing day of my life. Hearing now that it is prohibited saddens me. You guys can email me at dnhapeman@gmail.com for photos.

  11. Nicole

    Thank you so much for all of your details. I am looking forward to going to explore Costa Rica for about 8 days. I am planning to go to Playa Conchal, Rio Celeste and I also wanted to visit a volcano. What is the closest volcano near that area. I want to get the best expoerence. Any recommendations? I’m flying straight to Liberia and leaving from San Jose. Do you have ideas of which location I should travel to first and last to end up closer to San Jose airport? And I will defiantly be renting a SUV! Should I be ok with a gps to get to each location? Any other recommendations of hotels please send my way. Thanks again!

  12. Jill

    I went to Costa Rica 4 weeks after I broke my foot so was still in walking boot. I am 64 but was happily able to trudge a well placed foot at a time up to the falls. The path thru the jungle is beautiful and we saw a couple of snakes, toucans, butterflies & birds & a tapir print in the mud. I used a walking stick & a friends arm to steady but it’s an amazing few hours of sights. Of course the next day I was pretty sore! But so glad I was there in dry season, Jan 4th so I was able to do this hike partially disabled. The greenery is amazing with the bright blue falls!

  13. Sarah

    I see everywhere they offer tours busses and trips etc .. did you find going here or other places in Costa Rica would you just rent a car and venture out to various places or go with trusted tours? Do you have to pay for parking etc… when you go to various national parks?

    • Hi Sarah!

      Costa Rica is very safe so you definitely can travel around on your own. Renting a car is a great way to get around, however, just be aware that the roads are not the best and driving distances between key locations can be long. Yes, you will have to pay to park in some locations but the cost will be minimal.

  14. jared

    Hello. Thank you so much for sharing. I will be going to rio celeste in 1.5 weeks from now, and have been avidly warned that a serious SUV is needed to get to where we are staying, which is pasado rio celeste.
    Any feedback?

  15. Allie

    Hey Laure,

    This is awesome and I am planning to follow your tips! I am curious how long your hike took in total and is it possible to do it on a Sunday? I wasnt sure if the park closed? Also any recommendations for viewing wildlife nearby?



  16. carlos

    Hi. How long does it take from Arenal to Rio Celeste? Tours from Arenal are very expensive. 100 per person. Would you recommend renting a car or staying near rio celeste? Are there other things to do near?


  17. Serena

    Thank you for the information. We’re a group of 10 traveling in August. Do you think a Hyundai H1 will be ok on the road there?

  18. Loren


    This is really helpful.

    Do we need a guide, or is the trail easy to follow? How many hours did it take you?

    Also, do you remember how much was the entrance to the park?


    • Hello Loren,

      Glad you found this helpful! No, you don’t need a guide — the trail is easy to follow and straight forward. The entrance fee isn’t much — under $10.

      Have a great trip!

  19. Anja


    We are traveling with our 4 and a half years old son in the middle of November. Do you think we shoul go there or is too much for the child?

    • It is an arduous hike and the path can be very muddy. However, apart from the stairs that lead down to the falls it is mostly flat terrain. Hope that helps!

  20. Arleen Torres

    Thank you so much for all the great tips! I cannot wait to visit Rio Celeste! I am tearing up just looking at all your beautiful pictures! I am sure it is very breath taking!

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