“The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness”. – John Muir
After two absolutely fantastic days in Arenal, it was time to head to our last destination for our week-long family adventure in Costa Rica: Rio Celeste. We had heard about the Rio Celeste Hideway, a gorgeous resort tucked away within the jungle surrounding the Rio Celeste, from a good friend of mine who spent a year living in Costa Rica with her family. This part of Costa Rica is not as well known however the Rio Celeste is world famous for its magical technicolor turquoise waters. The color of the river is like nothing I have ever seen anywhere on earth. It is so brilliantly blue that it looks surreal or like something out of a Disney movie. Just to see the Rio Celeste is worth the drive north.
We rose early on the farm not sleeping too well due to the rumbling of the guests above us. I didn’t realize how paper thin the floor was at our Air B&B rental until a family of five arrived the night before. Unfortunately every movement above us was amplified and it sounded like they were playing musical chairs all night with the furniture. I made a mental note to write in my review to not stay in the bottom unit unless you wear ear plugs.
We left Parrot Hill Ranch after breakfast and drove back to La Fortuna to drop off the rental car. We would not be needing it for the rest of our trip as we had a driver picking us up for the short 2 hour ride to Rio Celeste. We were happy to leave the car and not have to worry about driving anymore. (Our route below: We traveled from E to F).
We drove through the lush green countryside of Northern Costa Rica passing pineapple farm after pineapple farm. Our driver Alfredo told us that Costa Rica is now the top exporter of pineapples in the world supplying over half of all pineapples imported to the US. Alfredo said that ten years ago the land was filled with cows and pasture for them to graze on. Once farmers realized that they could make more money in pineapples the farms were converted over and pineapples became the largest exported agricultural product in Costa Rica. Concerns about poor labor conditions and environmental issues have left a bittersweet taste to Costa Rica’s pineapple industry. I must confess that Tico pineapples are amazingly juicy and delicious though. Just like their coffee, they are something special.
Our drive took us through many small towns, farms and tiny roadside markets. As we approached the long drive up the hill to our hotel, Alfredo pulled over and bought us some fresh coconut milk to try. The farmer opened it on the spot and stuck a couple straws inside for us to drink. Its creamy watery taste hit the spot.
We arrived at Rio Celeste Hideaway just in time for lunch. Since we would not have a car for the rest of our stay and we were staying in a fairly remote location we were beyond pleased that the food at the resort was absolutely delightful. We always had service with a smile, and ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the gorgeous open-air restaurant. Besides standard American fare, they also served Tico food and I enjoyed my rice and beans each morning with eggs and fresh sour cream.
The Rio Celeste Hideaway is built within the verdant thick rainforest that surrounds Rio Celeste and borders Volcan Tenorio National Park. It is a spectacular place! There are 26 spacious, beautifully appointed casitas (little houses) that literally are tucked up into the jungle. Each casita is decorated immaculately with hand-carved wood furniture, high-pitched ceilings made from sugar cane, open-air showers and a large balcony jutting out into the jungle. There is nice pool with a swim up bar, a hot-tub, game room, and their own little hiking trail that leads you to the “blue river” (Rio Celeste). It truly is a gem of a find. I fell in love with this place and wish we could have stayed longer than three short days.
The grounds of the resort are lovely and filled with tropical flowers. I enjoyed walking around and looking for birds. We didn’t see any monkeys but did see a toucan and lots of smaller birds. I also encountered the friendly pizote (a racoon-like animal with a long tail) who lives near the gates of the resort next to the neighbors chickens. He didn’t seem the least bit surprised to see me.
After lunch, we took a short walk down the trail leading to the Rio Celeste. It meanders through the jungle and all you can hear are the birds, the distant howls of the monkeys and the rushing water. Thankfully we didn’t see any snakes but I knew they were there lurking in the trees or foliage. There is a yoga platform above the river and a picnic table to enjoy the view. The peace and serenity of the jungle was incredible.
The stunning turquoise-color of the water was like nothing I had ever seen before. It was so translucent and pure. I wanted to desperately dip my feet in the water and take a swim but alas the kids preferred to head to the pool.
The next day we would take a tour of the park and learn all about why the river has such a unique color. Then, we would go river tubing. Our adventure in Costa Rica was not quite over yet. We still had two jam-packed days of fun ahead. We could hardly wait.
If you go:
We stayed at the Rio Celeste Hideaway and our family of four fit comfortably in an upgraded casita. They offer different packages based on your needs. We chose the family package which included some fun extras. To learn more, click here.