Blue River Resort Review, Video and Pictures

Blue River (Rio Celeste), Gavilan, Costa Rica

Blue River is one of two rivers in Costa Rica that have the name of Rio Celeste. One is found in the Tenorio Volcano Park and the other is found in the northern part of the country along the north slope of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano. Both of the rivers have a blue tint to the water due to reaction between carbonates and sulfur compounds that come from the volcanoes. Both have waterfalls and hiking is required to reach them.

Rio Celeste north is in the region bordering both Guanacaste and Alejuela Province, and the resort is a few kilometers inside Alejuela. This flank of Rincón de la Vieja Volcano has several places where hot springs can be enjoyed, with Blue River Resort being the most accessible for tourists.

Map Screenshots to Help You Find Blue River Resort

North of Liberia on Highway 1, go east on 917 towards Quebrada Grande.  Highway 917 is about 12 km north of Liberia.  917 is a gravel road a few kilometers east of Quebrada Grande.
North of Liberia on Highway 1, go east on 917 towards Quebrada Grande. Highway 917 is about 12 km north of Liberia. 917 is a gravel road a few kilometers east of Quebrada Grande.
The locations of Dos Rios, Gavilan and Blue River Resort, from left to right.  The Google map indicates Dos Rios as Cuatro Bocas, which is wrong.
The locations of Dos Rios, Gavilan and Blue River Resort, from left to right. The Google map indicates Dos Rios as Cuatro Bocas, which is wrong.
After you pass through Gavilan, you go over the bridge above Rio Celeste, and about 100 meters further you turn left on the road to Blue Rivers.  The latitude and longitude are 10 deg 54 min 3 sec N and 85 deg 19 min 48 sec W, respectively for the re
After you pass through Gavilan, you go over the bridge above Rio Celeste, and about 100 meters further you turn left on the road to Blue Rivers. The latitude and longitude are 10 deg 54 min 3 sec N and 85 deg 19 min 48 sec W, respectively for the re
A satellite-eye's view of Blue River Resort, showing the 5 pools, cabins and the spa building.
A satellite-eye's view of Blue River Resort, showing the 5 pools, cabins and the spa building.

Blue River Resort Review

I have been to Blue River Resort several times with friends to soak in the hot springs pools, view the butterflies and tour the extensive tropical garden. As you can see from the video, I have an interest lies in the natural surroundings of the resort as well, and I walk along the river taking photos and observing the wildlife there.

The entrance fee to get to the resort is $10 and lunch costs $16. But you can also go on a horse tour of the "blue" river nearby - see the section below for more information. Here are some of sights and salient features of this resort:

The Tropical Garden. There are several screened seating areas for enjoying the garden in peace. The shelter that has a hummingbird feeder and a koi pond is a nice place to linger. The koi pond is under a roof, so that is a good place to stay if it happens to rain. But that has happened only once in my several times there. I have a few photos of the garden on this article, but a large number can be found on another hub, Exotic Flowers of Costa Rica.

On the opposite end of the garden, you will encounter the butterfly garden. The butterfly species vary quite a lot, sometimes there are lots of morphos and at least 5 other species at any one time. It is always a joy to visit this building. I have photos of myself with a morpho perched on my cap. During my last trip, I saw a toucan that they had in a room adjoining the butterfly area. It is featured in the opening slide of the video above.

The Spa and Fitness Center. I have also taken advantage of the spa once and got a one-hour massage that was very relaxing. The massage was about $40, but the prices may have changed since then. What was nice was the natural sounds made by the frogs outside the window in the pond outside. The spa and the resort are about 200 yards from the river, so you don't hear the river there, but there is water running through the pool area that make a relaxing background sound.

The spa also has exercise machines in a fitness center and there are spacious bathrooms for changing clothes. There are free lockers that can be used for keeping your belongings while you are enjoying the pool.

The cabins look very nice, but I haven't yet stayed in one, as all of my trips to the resort have been day trips. I have stayed one night in a nearby place that has rustic cabins (and they cost a bit less). At the time of this writing there are about 12 cabins on the site that are made of wood.

The Hot Springs and Mud Bath. There is one pool that has cool water and the rest are heated by the addition of hot water from the hot springs on the north end of the property. There is a volcanic mud bath on the edge of the property near the butterfly building (mariposaria).

The Restaurant. The restaurant-bar adjoins the pool area and is surrounded by a water channel on one side. The food is very good. I frequently order a whole fried tilapia, but there are several other items that people like - like the arroz con pollo. The chef is quite competent and I have always enjoyed both the food and the service. I would rate its food as being among the best, but it takes second place to another resort nearer Liberia, Vandara Hot Springs Resort and Spa. A review of that resort and several others is found the article Costa Rica Hot Springs and Resorts in Guanacaste.

Horse Tour on Rio Pénjamo

You can get to see more of Rio Pénjamo, including waterfalls, blue pools, tropical plants and birds if you go on a horse tour that takes about 2 1/2 hours in the morning. The tour includes lunch (which you have on your return trip) and all of the amenities of the Blue River Resort. The cost is $60 per person. I will provide some photos of this tour soon, as I am going on it in June of 2013, so stay tuned!

About the Video

The male howler monkey in the video was spotted along the road next to river, outside of the resort. Other things that were encountered outside of the resort were the butterfly on the flower and the wet, pink four-petaled flower. Most of the flower pictures were taken within the garden area and have been taken during several trips.

The bats that are in the first part of the video live on a very old, large tree that is next to the spa. They always are on the side of the tree that is hollow. You have to pass this tree to get to the garden area. The hummingbird feeder area and a covered area that has orchids are in the first part of the garden. I have noticed lately that many of the orchids are maturing and flowering now. The birds in the video are eating noni fruit that has fallen from a tree.

If you go to the resort and tour outside, be sure to bring some insect repellant to prevent bites from midges and mosquitos. I use a 30% DEET product that works well. Watch where you step, because there are a lot of different creatures out in the wooded areas. There is a paid guide who can take people on hikes, but there has to be at least two people. In addition, you can take horses to the waterfalls if you wish.

Photos from The Tropical Garden at Blue River

Source
Plantain flower sepals opening up.  If you are curious about plantains, I have written an article called "Plantain Tree."
Plantain flower sepals opening up. If you are curious about plantains, I have written an article called "Plantain Tree." | Source
Seasonally, you will find several orchids blooming in their orchid garden.
Seasonally, you will find several orchids blooming in their orchid garden. | Source
This wild flower was found along the road near the entrance.
This wild flower was found along the road near the entrance. | Source

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Comments 2 comments

Derdriu 4 years ago

Randy, What a compelling, informative, vivid look at Blue River wildlife! In particular, I like the lively coordination between colorful vegetation and guitar beat. Also, I appreciate the highlights which follow the video, particularly in terms of amenities, organized activities, and wildlife opportunities.

Respectfully, and with many thanks for sharing, Derdriu


Randy M. profile image

Randy M. 4 years ago from Liberia, Costa Rica Author

Glad you stopped by, Derdriu. Thanks for the kind comments!

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