Tenorio Volcano National Park
Distance from San José: about 160 km (100 miles) / about 3.5 hours
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.
Date of foundation: April 27, 1995
Size: 12.871 hectares
Hiking trail: “Misterios del Tenorio” (leading alongside the river towards the hot springs from the main building of the park administration)
The park offers several vegetation areas, cloud forest in the higher areas and tropical rainforest in the lower ones. Its highest peak reaches 1916 m (6286 ft) above sea level. Plants that can be found here include palm trees, ferns, bromeliads and orchids. Capuchin and howler monkeys can be spotted, as well as the giant anteater, pumas, tapirs and the collared peccary. Also to be seen are numerous species of birds, amongst others many trogons and neotropical bellbirds. The Tenorio volcano itself is located 40 km (25 miles) northeast of La Fortuna, in the province of Guanacaste with a total of 4 peaks and 2 craters. In the park you can reach beautiful hot springs and bathing spots on foot.
Amenities: Bathroom facilities, accommodation for researchers, laboratory facilities, general information, parking
Hardly developed for tourism, but absolutely worth a visit. The slopes of the volcano are grown with dense forest and are the home to a plentitude of mammals and birds. We recommend the small and modest La Carolina Lodge, one of the few accommodations in the surrounding, close to the village of Bijagua (Cañas, after Upala) between the two volcanoes. From here, different day tours into the national park can be undertaken, amongst others to the “Río Celeste”, the azure blue river.
With an altitude of 2028 m (6654 ft), the Miravalles Volcano forms the highest peak of the Guanacaste Mountains. Even though it is a dormant volcano, the Miravalles offers a lot for travelers: sulphuric springs and bubbling mud holes.
Shimmering in ever-changing blue colors, the mysterious Río Celeste winds its way through the dense rainforest with hot springs and red branches, to finally enter into a roaring waterfall. Thanks to a mixture between sulfur and calcium carbonate, the river offers an unique color. Río Celeste still is an insider’s tip for everybody looking for adventure. This natural wonder is incredibly beautiful and absolutely recommendable and can be reached with a day trip.
From trailhead, it is only a 2 km (1.2 miles) hike to the breathtaking Rio Celeste waterfall. The adventurous can swim near pounding 70-foot falls. A 7 km (4.3 miles) hike takes you beyond the falls and deeper into the virgin rain forest, home to pumas, tapirs and other animals. You will trek to the streaming hot and cool springs of the local volcanoes, mineral mud pits and the blue lagoon of the Rio Celeste. Allow a full day to hike, swim, lunch, and rest afterwards.