A site inspection to the Celeste Hideaway and the Northern region, told me first, that I probably have one of the best jobs in the World, and second… that yes! You can trust us! We “sacrifice ourselves” for you to have the best local knowledge!
As a traveler, you always look for new adventures no matter the location or the activity, the sensation of discovering it’s permanent within. And, of course when you work in the travel industry, those opportunities happen quite often, and last weekend it wasn´t the exception, I had the chance to visit one of my favorite areas of the country, Tenorio.
This off beaten track destination have a magnet that keeps pulling me, it continuously attracts me to go a visit it, and who I am to resist, right?
The main attraction of the trip was the visit to Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel, a new hotel located less than 15 minutes from Tenorio Volcano National Park, home of one of the 7 Costa Rica´s Nature Wonders. Therefore the weekend, at the point sounded quite promising.
The Trip begins
I arrived early in the morning at the meeting point where I found colleagues from other agencies. Once we were all set, we started the journey heading North, we made our first stop.
En route activities
This was at La Fortuna, where we had the opportunity to choose between 3 different activities: Cooking Class, Stand-up paddle in Arenal Lake or Gravity Falls Waterfall Jumping Canyon, all organized by our local supplier Desafio Adventure Company.
And well, I didn´t have to think much, Gravity Falls it is!!
I’m not an adrenaline junky, but I like to challenge myself to do this type of activities, as, Is there a better way to overcome your fears than to directly face them?
Once we split, each of the travel agents going to their corresponding tour. In my case, again… The Gravity Falls! So! We geared up: helmet, harness, lifejacket and gloves and up to the 4WD SUV.
After a 20 minutes ride over countryside roads, we arrived; one final check-up of the gear, a safety talk with recommendations and regulations, and anxiety started to appear! Took a deep breath, and off we went!
We walked 10 mins into a restored forest until we arrived at the first challenge, a 150-feet waterfall! Fear of heights? Not really!
One by one we started descending, it was incredible how you come down, hanging, with a waterfall next to you, getting wet, and with such a beautiful scenario! Suddenly I heard someone screaming: Let yourself go!! I just released my hands off the rope and …. And Puff! 4 meters free fall to the bottom of the waterfall!! Wow the water was so cold, and I gulped so much, but it certainly brought such a big smile on the face!! Bring it on!
After everyone was down, next stop was a much smaller waterfall, no ropes, just jump? Yeap, take a deep breath and down you go!! The adrenaline kept rushing!! The guides even did back flips!!! They actually made it look so easy!
We jumped a couple of more falls, some higher than others, and every time, you just have to do it, don´t let your brain think much about it!!
Then a small Tarzan swing into the water, and then the last jump…. And as I left time to my mind to think about it, – I must confess- I screamed!!
It was so incredible, the combination of fear, adrenaline and of course the deep accomplishment sensation! I did all the jumps, it was incredible!! I am so proud of myself!
After a couple of hours of fun, we had a great lunch, Casado with steak, then we met the other colleagues at Desafio central office at Arenal and continue with the journey.
And here we go! Back on the road!
We took, the northern road, on the way to Upala, quite near to the border with Nicaragua, the road is paved all the way and it is only in the last 20 min was a dirty road, but well kept.
Río Celeste Hideaway
We arrived at the hotel, and the staff greeted us with a fresh towel, a cocktail, and a smile, and even though the night was already upon us, we were able to notice how eye-catching the hotel is.
Just at the entrance, we found a big reception area, wooden floors, refreshing breeze and a big inner pond with bromeliads, heliconias and koi fishes swimming in it creating a moving and luxurious, yet natural atmosphere.
Celeste Hideaway Rooms
After a quick welcome, we went to the room to get ready for dinner. I forgot to breathe as I saw the room! It was so spacious, almost looked like anyone could get lost in it.
The hotel has two types of rooms Casita Suites (10) and Standard Casita (16), the difference between them is the view, the Suites have a terrace with a marvelous view of the forest, and the Standard, a view of the garden.
Mine was a Suite, with 2 queen sized beds, splendid furniture, and a huge balcony with an endless forest view.
The bathroom is massive, with an outside and an inside rain shower, on the inside, you can also find a Jacuzzi, and a complete amenities set with shampoo, rinse, lotion, several towels, bathrobe, and slippers.
On the way to the room, there is another pond and the ambiance was full of frog sounds, I got ready, took the flashlight and went outside to wander around.
It didn´t take much, in the following 10 minutes I found 4 different species of colorful frogs, even a Red-eyed frog, with its rainbow of colors. I was so excited!
The hotel has one open walls restaurant very nice decorated, and the meals were delicious, while we stayed at the hotel we enjoyed 2 dinners and 1 lunch, one buffet and two a la carte.
The flavors were exquisite, my favorite was a Chicken Caribbean style, mmm just to remember it my mouth starts watering!
While staying at the hotel we were quite active, the second day we visited the Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge, certified as a Ramsar site because of the importance of its wetlands and the diverse flora and fauna habitat that it protects.
The ride was a bit bumpy because of the dirt road we took, a ride of approximately 1 hour and a half until we arrive at the town, where the tour was waiting for us.
After they welcomed us and gave the safety talk, we went to the docks and board the boat.
We navigated through the Rio Frio river and the refuge lagoons, and we started seeing wildlife from the very start, aquatic birds (anhingas, cormorants, jacanas, kingfisher, green ibis, Pinnated Bittern), owls, basilisks, iguanas, crocodiles, bats and howler monkeys and much more!!
If you want to see wildlife or you enjoy birdwatching, this place is a must!!
As we came back, they invited us to participate in a yoga class, I thought a bit about it because I had never done it before, but well why not!!
I got ready and went to the yoga deck! The atmosphere was enchanting with light music, incense, candlelight and the sounds of the surrounding forest.
The instructors were so good, even though, it was my first time they really motivated me to do all the positions, they corrected me, help me to get in touch with myself.
My body shook, stretched out, hurt, but I had a great time, the Shavasana at the end of the class was incredible, so peaceful!!
After this magic session I changed my clothes, put on my shorts, and I ran to the pool! Wow, after that exercise plunging in the temper pools was incredible, I couldn´t ask for more, It was really hard to believe that I was “working.”
Tenorio National Park and Río Celeste
Next day, we visited a place that is among my top 5 destinations in the country, Tenorio National Park, in this park is located one of the 7 nature wonders of Costa Rica, Rio Celeste(Light Blue River).
The hike in the park is moderate, not for everybody, mostly because to get to the best part of the hike, the amazing waterfall you have to go downhill for a while, but then, again, logically, you have to go up again! And those steps can take your breath away, but it is definitely worth it!
Besides, in the park you can find the blue lagoon, a part of the river where the current goes slowly, so it creates a pond, something to admire!
The trail keeps ongoing, but it gets muddier as evidently, they do not work on it as much, so remember to bring your trek shoes, or ask for rubber boots at the hotel!
Our next stop was the lookout, from here besides the exuberant vegetation, you will see in the distance the 3 craters of Tenorio Volcano and other mountains on their sides.
But there are still more things to discover, Borbollones, this location you will first smell it before seen it, the sulfur essence will invade the ambiance but don´t worry it’s not that strong, and you will shortly leave it behind!
Finally, my personal favorite, Teñideros, this is where the magic happens, you will see how 2 small rivers (Buenavista River and Sour Creek) with clear water become one and as they join, their color changes to light blue, due to a fantastic chemical reaction and phenomenon that is known as Mie scattering and the Ph of the water.
Although the legend says that after God had painted the sky, he washed his brush here, some other say that you can choose your own explanation!
This was the last stop, then we went back to the hotel and get ready to come back!
The Overall Impression of Rio Celeste Hideaway.
A hotel that works as an excellent option for high-end passengers who want to enjoy an exquisite ambiance of nature and quiet.
The cleanliness is remarkable and the service superb, natural and spontaneously friendly.
Regarding its location, it is a bit isolated, but they are several activities to do in the surroundings, for nature lovers it is in the middle of the action.
Who is it for?
I would recommend it especially for nature lovers and bird watchers.
Families could enjoy it, children with exploring and nature orientation will have so much fun here but definitely not for people looking for all inclusive resorts or party lovers.