Rio Celeste, a place that protects a turquoise treasure and fertile lands, you can find friendly and hardworking people, dreamy landscapes, and hope for the next generations: Guatuso!
After a 3-hour drive from San Jose, we finally arrived at Rio Celeste town, as soon as we were there we were amazed to find this place, it seems that time goes by very slowly, and the rainforest transmits a peace that is only found in very remote places.
… Surrounded by mountains and volcanoes, we were greeted by a landscape tinged with shades of green and the smell of pure nature.
On our way to the hotel, we visited the farmer’s market, it was Sunday morning, and we stopped to see some of the local products.
The locals told us that their main activity is agriculture, the soil here is rich in minerals which makes it a suitable place for growing pineapple, cocoa, banana, sugar cane, tubers, and varieties of medicinal plants.
Guatuso also takes part in The Tenorio Volcano National Park, which is the richest protected biodiversity area of the Arenal Tempisque Conservation zone.
Due to its biophysical characteristic, it has the potential to develop different activities such as socio-environmental, eco-tourism, and sustainable development.
Originally, we were attracted to Guatuso to visit the Tenorio national park to enjoy the Rio Celeste hike, however, after talking to the locals and visiting their businesses, we realized that this area is much more than visiting Río Celeste, that here you can experience the true culture of their town, lifestyle, and gastronomy.
We were told that the Maléku Indigenous Reserve is located also in Guatuso, where around 600 natives of the Maléku ethnic group reside, one of the 8 aboriginal ethnic groups of Costa Rica and the only one that subsists in the northern zone of the country.
The Malékus still preserve their own language and traditions, as we were very close, we wanted to visit their village however, it was required to send a notice in advance in order to be received by their community.
About Guatuso Village
Our guide showed us a high diversity of palms, heliconias, bromeliads, orchids, and trees like the Aguacatillos, Zapotes, and the Jícaro Danto, which are endemic, its flowers and fruits are one of the main diets of the Tapir.
Wild Life Around
In the national park, we can still find the Puma, and two types of small Ocelots although it is very difficult to see them.
Commonly you might see species such as Dantas, Guatuzas, related to the name of the village, Collared Peccaries, White-headed Capucine monkeys, Lowland Pacas, Tayras, crested guans, bare-necked umbrellabirds, sunbitterns, and snakes.
Guatuso village is a non-touristy destination where there are not too many restaurants or hotels so we spent quality time learning about their culture as we took cooking workshops with locals and visited their farms and houses.
Become a Traveller
Most tourists only visit the park and continue with their journey to another destination, however, we found the real magic of this place by staying longer and walking around…
We met very nice and charming people like Ms. Casta, she and her family have a few wooden cabins for rent, and a small restaurant where they cook delicious local recipes using their farm-fresh products.
Later we met Will, the cowboy, he took us for a horseback ride tour to the sugar mill which is a family-run business, they taught us to prepare tortillas, and delicious sugarcane hot infusions mixed with ginger which made it the perfect combination for a rainy afternoon.
In the area, there are two hotels whose motto of sustainability, conservation, and support for the development of the community, made them our best choices to visit.
Rio Celeste Mountain Lodge sits on 3 hectares of green area and 4 hectares of protected primary rainforest.
This place has a very innovative, contemporary design, altering traditional parameters in hotel architecture like open spaces blending the different areas as a way of inviting the beauty of the surroundings right inside the building.
The owners strongly support and promote the philosophy of sustainable tourism, with low environmental impact and eco-friendly practices, and commitment to the development of the local community.
You will appreciate the beautiful balcony in the dining room, with an amazing view of the mountains! You will also see a variety of birds that come to eat fruits just right in front of the balcony.
Downstairs there is a chillout area, where you can sit to read, play table games or have your favorite drink and enjoy the sound of nature.
The Food Rio Celeste ML:
In this lodge, they practice the belief that good eating must be part of an enriching travel experience. Therefore they include all 3 meals. Great value for your money!
They take pride in the Tico Fusion Cuisine, inspired by traditional recipes of the country or in a delicate blend of local ingredients and flavors, with our own touch!
You will find the owners always taking care of each detail, they like to help serve the meals and explain each dish, ingredients, and food preparation. The service is personalized and charming.
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is a small resort nestled in the same rainforest of the Volcán Tenorio National Park, their property is surrounded by nature and exotic animals such as hummingbirds and coatis.
The hotel offers very spacious villas all separated from each other by beautiful natural gardens.
The rooms have king beds, a very comfortable sitting area with a forest or garden view, a desk, a huge bathroom with double vanities, and the most refreshing outdoor shower surrounded by tropical plants.
One of the best parts of this room is the balcony, made out of wood, which is the perfect place to sit and enjoy the beautiful view.
You can find an entertainment area with a pool table and couches to sit and play board games or enjoy some TV. The paths to the bungalows are made of grey river stone and are surrounded by tropical gardens.
It is surrounded by 3 hot tubs and a wet bar, this is the perfect place to enjoy your favorite snacks, drinks, and cocktails while working on your tan.
At night you can enjoy your after-hour drinks in the cozy Cantina Delirio, located also in the main building.
The Food at Rio Celeste H.A:
The Kantala Restaurant in the main building is an incredible open-air dining room surrounded by beautiful tropical vegetation and a very relaxing pond filled with Koi.
In here you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The menu offers an international gourmet cuisine, from entrees to main dishes and desserts. You will find dishes with meat, chicken, seafood, and pasta.
You will find friendly and helpful staff with great attention to detail, always available for anything you need.
Activities in Guatuso
(Tenorio National Park and surroundings)
If you like rural tourism and would like to enjoy the Guatuso experience, we can help you plan your vacation in Guatuso, send us your request via email: firstname.lastname@example.org. or Contact Us