The Rio Celeste and its waterfall, so named for its sky-blue color, are the main attractions at Volcan Tenorio National Park, one of the newest national parks in Costa Rica.
The waterfall is about a mile from the ranger station. The hike is scenic and reasonably easy, but there are steep steps down to the base of the falls.
The color of the water can be truly startling, and it appears deeper in some areas and from some angles. (Most of the pictures you’ll see on the Internet are authentic, but a few have clearly been manipulated to intensify the blue color. )
If you continue hiking, you’ll reach a viewing platform with extensive mountain views. Even on a cloudy day it makes a pleasant birdwatching site.
Further along is the Laguna Azul, where two rivers meet and the water turns the startling color that gives the Rio Celeste its name. Nearby is a spot where hot springs bubble into the river. You can soak there but be cautious about staying away from the hot vents.
Allow three or four hours to hike out to the hot springs and back. Admission to the park is $10 per person.
To reach the park, head north from Bijagua for about 3.5 miles and take a right on a gravel road toward San Miguel. After another 3.5 miles, turn right and continue for about six miles to the park entrance. The road is quite bumpy, so the driving is slow.