You will be absolutely mystified at the blue-green waters of the Rio Celeste when you visit Tenorio National Park. This stunning area boasts Costa Rica’s most unusual scenery and is a road less traveled yet one to see.

Tenorio Park includes 12,867 hectares or 31,795 acres of land.  The elevation ranges from 30 – 1,916 meters or 98 – 6,286 feet.  There are several habitats within the park including rainforest, cloud forest, and river habitats.  There are several hiking trails within the park, though government permission is required to climb to the summit of the volcano.

There is plenty of wildlife in Tenorio National Park.  In fact, this is a prime area for birdwatchers.  Birds that inhabit the park include tody motmots, bear-necked umbrella birds,  sunbitterns, trogons, toucans, toucanettes, crested guans, woodpeckers, hummingbirds, ruffous-necked tanagers, and much more.  Mammals that inhabit the park include pumas, jaguars, margays, ocelots, tapirs, tayras, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, capuchin monkeys, sloths, and many more.  There are many amphibians including blue jeans dart frogs, red-eyed leaf frogs, and smoky jungle frogs.  In addition, there are many reptiles such as eyelash pit vipers, fer-de-lances, jumping pit vipers, boa constrictors, hog-nosed pit vipers, parrot snake, vine snakes, as well as many lizards.

Tenorio National Park is managed by the Costa Rican government.  The park is open from 8 AM – 4 PM daily.  There is a ranger station with public restrooms.  The entrance fee is $12 per person.  There are overnight facilities at the park for students and researchers. Most visitors elect to stay in more comfortable lodges surrounding the park.

More about Tenorio National Park

The Rio Celeste runs through the park creating a beautiful backdrop for great photos. The river is a vibrant turquoise blue surrounded by emerald green forests.  The river gains its interesting color from the natural minerals of a volcanic spring that mixes with the fresh waters of another mineral rich river. The result is what many consider to be the most beautiful waterfall in Central America. There are also several natural hot springs located on the river and around the volcano.

At a glance

Region: Northern Zone
Closest town: Bijagua
Size in hectares: 12,867 (31,795 acres)
Year established: 1976
Elevation in meters: 30 - 1,916 (98 - 6,286 feet)
Private managed: no
Government managed: yes
Rangers station: yes
Overnight facilities: yes
Public restrooms: yes
Entrance fee: $12
Days: daily
Hours: 08:00 - 16:00
Hiking trails: yes
Boat tours: no
Average temperature range in Fahrenheit: 65 - 80
Average yearly precipitation in millimeters: 5,080 (200 inches)
Habitat: cloud forest, rainforest, river

How to get there

From San Jose, take Rt. 1 northwest to Canas.  Continue past Canas approximately 10 km until you reach Rt. 6.  Turn right on Rt. 6 and follow to Bijuagua.  Continue through Bijagua and within a few km, you will see a sign on the right for Tenorio National Park.  Turn right and follow signs to the park.  The last 10 km are on an unpaved road that is in generally bad condition.  Therefore, a 4x4 is recommended.

Weather and packing list

The weather at Tenorio is generally damp most of the year.  The average temperatures range from 65 – 80 degrees.  This area receives 5,080 mm or 200 inches of precipitation annually, so be prepared for rain.  The driest months to visit are December through April and June and July.

Visitors to Tenorio should pack shorts, tee shirts, appropriate shoes, rain gear, sun block. It is also advised to bring at least one pair of pants and a long sleeve shirt. Stop by our packing page for more ideas.

Fun Fact: Though one of the most interesting and beautiful places in Costa Rica, Tenorio National Park is one of the least visited.

Nearby Destinations

Rio Celeste1 km
Rincon de la Vieja22 km
Playa Hermosa90 km
Playa del Coco100 km
Rio Celeste90 km


Latitude: N 10° 38' 38.4"
Longitude: W 84° 58' 39.72"

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