Saturday, December 17, 2011

Rio Celeste

  Near the town of Bijagua de Upala, in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica, there is a river called Rio Celeste. The literal translation for the name in English is Sky River. It comes by its name honestly. The confluence of two rivers, one which contains calcium carbonate, the other which carries sulfur down river from local volcanos, create a chemical reaction in the place where the two rivers meet. The water turns a light turquise blue, right before your eyes. Amazing...

  We took our visiting group of friends, (known as the Carolina Berg Wanderers), to the Rio Celeste confluence to watch nature's perpetual chemistry lesson in action. Actually, we took them to the opening in the jungle, they took themselves down the many stairs to the river. For several days before there had been copious quantities of rain, so the trail to the river was a slippery, muddy mess, but it is worth the ordeal to get down there!

The confluence

  There is a place in the river not far from the confluence that actually bubbles up boiling hot water that smells strongly of sulfur... the temperature of the water is 240 degrees. It is not recommended that you swim in the area where the water bubbles up, but there is nothing to keep you from it. Unlike the USA where everything is regulated, controlled or limited, Costa Rica leaves most things up to the public to decide for themselves. If you want to swim in 240 degree water, who are they to stop you... That has its good points and bad points... but generally I prefer being left to use my own good judgment. There is a lot of freedom here that we just don't experience in the United States. It seems odd that the US is called "The Land of the Free"... but I digress...
  The confluence of the river is just a hint of the feast that is to come... Back up the pathway that wends through the rainforest there is a split in the path which leads to a real treat... a waterfall. I know, I know, another waterfall? But really, this is one waterfall that shouldn't be missed. At the point of the waterfall the two river have already mixed so the water coming over the falls and the deep pool beneath it are both sky blue! The verdant green vegetation that fringes the pool and covers the rock walls on either side of the falls is a wonderful foil for the bright blue water. A friend from the group we took down there said, " I will see that blue waterfall in my dreams for some time to come!". I am afraid I will have to see it in my dreams for awhile since I couldn't make it down the deep cut steps to the falls with my bad knee, but there have been lots of pictures taken that I have enjoyed. I will be making another trip to Rio Celeste around New Years just to go to the falls, by then I should be fit to make it down the stairs (Lord willing...) and see it for myself! So, I have my own pictures from the river to share with you, but in this post the waterfall pictures will be credited to my husband, who was kind enough to take them for me.

  I hope that this post finds you all well, enjoying life and having good mail days! Until next time, Pura Vida!


  1. Oh, wow! The person who wrote "Don't go chasing waterfalls; stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to," didn't know Puerto Rico! :) But the song won a Grammy, so what do I know about music? :)

    Common sense prevails. I wonder if Issaqueena Falls are as pretty. Wish I'd walked the trail. At least I get to see lovely photos of falls. You'd make a great professional guide, Elle. :) Nice of you to give your husband his due creds. LOL. Very nice.

  2. Thanks Limner! I really did enjoy being an amateur tour felt kind of like I did during my home schooling years :)
    I got to go all kinds of cool places in Costa Rica, and was able to share what I have learned to love about this place. Thanks for the comments! Take care and enjoy the holidays!

  3. interesting! I never knew of such a happening with waters; how marvelous to be able to see it in person. Thanks so much for the tour into your secret rainforest :> ~~Linda in Callao

  4. Hi Linda!
    Thanks for commenting! Yes, the chemical reaction is truly a marvel to behold! It is my pleasure to bring you along on our adventure... We still have several weeks left on our trip and we will be going back to all our old haunts, and have discovered a few new ones to share... how about a beach with midnight blue sand...? So check back and find out what else we have been up to! Living a dream in Costa Rica and missing my mail... Hugs for now! elle

  5. Hi Elle, What beautiful waterfalls! Thank you for all the post...


  6. Hi Hester! Thanks for the comment! I hope that all is well with you and that you are enjoying the holiday season! We will celebrate the first night of Hanukkah at Playa Grande on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. It is a lovely place., quiet and serene... I will be posting some pics soon. Hugs! Elle