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Tenorio Volcano National Park

Tenorio Volcano National Park

Quick Facts

  • Location : 100 miles northwest of San Jose
  • Altitude : 6,286 feet above sea level
  • Area : 31,794 acres
  • Telephone : 2206-5369
  • Entrance Fee : $12 per person
  • Hours : 8 a.m. - 2 p.m.

To visit the Tenorio National Park is to see nature at its weirdest. Brilliant cerulean lagoons, glowing azure waterfalls and clear rivers that run blue as their waters merge are only some of what you'll see on the trails weaving through Tenorio National Park. Other intrigues include thermal geysers, bubbling mud pots, and hot springs along two trails.

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The Celeste River runs through the center of the park, often flowing parallel to the main hiking trail. The river is named for its baby-blue hue created as copper sulfate and colloidal silica react with sulfur in the merging rivers.

The Celeste River’s presence is evident throughout the park – in addition to its stunning waterfall, there is an impossibly blue lagoon; the origins of the Celeste River where two streams merge and their clear waters turn blue. A four-to-five-hour loop trail takes visitors on a best-of hike through all of the Celeste hotspots, starting from the park's entrance.

A second path begins 2,297 feet above sea level, from where it is a mere hour and a half journey to get to one of the park's most gorgeous water-filled basins. Along the way, visitors will discover scenic vistas, stunning volcanic formations, and the incredible Celeste River.

Baird’s tapirs, endangered relatives of the rhinoceros, are known to gather around Tapir Lake at twilight for an evening sip of water. The trail to this lagoon is challenging and satisfying, especially at dusk when the animals tend to bathe. A tapir encounter is especially rewarding, as the rare creatures spend most of their lives hiding from predators.

Tenorio is a short daytrip from the nearby cities of Arenal, Liberia, Bagaces, and Canas. The national park is remote and tranquil in comparison to its highly visited sister peak, Arenal.  This is largely due to the fact that no public transportation runs directly to Tenorio. Instead, visitors can take a bus as far as Bijagua and from there take a taxi 30 miles to the park’s entrance. This isolation makes the park an ideal choice for adventurers looking for a unique volcanic experience without the tourist crowds so common in more popular destinations.

Activities

Bird and Wildlife Watching: Tenorio offers an astounding habitat for flora and fauna. Visitors frequently spot spider monkeys, pumas, tapirs, howler monkeys and white-faced monkeys, collared peccaries, hawks, turkey vultures as well as the occasional ocelot and king vulture.

Hiking: The park has two trails, ranging in difficulty from short and easy to moderately long. The main trail leads visitors on a three mile trek past all the major sites including the waterfall, river, mud pots and hot springs. Horseback Riding: Nearby lodges offer tours through the park.

Facilities

Visitors can pick up a trail map at the ranger station located near the park’s entrance. The station also has restrooms, potable water and first aid kits. Several nearby lodges also offer tourist information, guides, and a starting point for some of the park’s best trails.

Getting There

From San Jose, take the Pan-American Highway north to Naranjo. Here the road will split. Go northeast to Ciudad Quesada and then on to Upala. Turn towards Bijagua, and then follow the road for 30 miles to the park. Alternatively, travelers can take the Pan-American Highway from San Jose to Canas. Six miles after Canas you will find the turnoff to Bijagua. The park is roughly 20 miles farther

Tenorio Volcano National Park in Pictures

Wildlife in Tenorio Volcano National Park

Experiences in Tenorio Volcano National Park