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Rio Celeste vs. Rio Azul vs. Rio Penjamo

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Rio Azul (blue river), at a swimming spot, near Blue River Resort & Hot Springs

PART II – Posted June 2017

There are no shortages of rivers, including blue rivers. Instead, there may be a shortage of names for those rivers. Ticos often use the same name for different rivers. For example, they’ll call any river with blue-water flowing, “the blue river”. To add more confusion, for those who speak English, the Spanish translation for “blue river” is “rio azul” and for “Light Blue River”, rio celeste”.

Actually, there are quite a few spectacular Blue Rivers in Costa Rica. For example, we challenge a comparison of the two blue rivers, Rio Azul and Rio Penjamo, that flow from the north side of Rincon de la Vieja National Park. As Rio Azul flows beyond the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, it passes by Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, offers and is the backdrop for top Eco-tours. Rio Penjamo passes nearby, Blue River Estate Park. Many of the tours incorporate these remarkable blue rivers; by foot, horseback, tubing, rafting, zip lining, bird watching and more. Imagine swimming in the magical blue waters; whereas, swimming is rarely permitted inside the National Parks.

Rio Celeste

Visiting the famous blue river, Rio Celeste involves a hike inside Tenorio Volcano National Park along river and ending at the Rio Celeste Waterfall. The  name, "Rio Celeste" is the greatest marketing cache for Costa Rica’s blue rivers and is indeed a spectacular site.

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Upon reaching the end of the hike is the Rio Celeste Waterfall

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Enchanting Rio Celeste, is a 14-km hike through rainforest in Tenorio Volcano National Park along the blue river, Rio Celeste.

Rio Azul

The blue river, Rio Azul runs right by Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, on the north side of Rincon de la Vieja. Take a short walk to Rio Azul for a swim and to explore. How about that, for a guest amenity!

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The “Water Tubing Adventure” takes place Along the Rio Azul at Blue River Resort & Hot Springs.  There is a tour for guests of the hotel and drop-ins, and another for 1-day visits that includes transportation. This tubing tour has been rated best in Central America, by several travel journalists. The tubing begins, a 10-minute drive from Blue River Resort & Hot Springs and ends a short walk from the hotel.

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Another Eco-adventure tour, near the resort, at Rio Azul's cathedral waterfalls. 

Rio Penjamo

Less than a mile away from Blue River Resort & Hot Springs, the spectacular blue river, Rio Penjamo wends its way by Blue River Estate inside this private park. The Resort's most popular Eco- tour, the Blue River & Grand Waterfall Adventure, takes place here. It also includes a nature hike along a series of spectacular waterfalls leading to the Grand Waterfalls. This is a great way to enjoy the scenery and take dips into the waters. Check out opportunities for the Resort Guest and 1-Day Visitor Tours.

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Blue River Resort & Hot Springs’ signature waterfall on the Blue River, Rio Penjamo.

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The Grand Waterfall - too large to fill this picture. Swim in the lagoon under the falls.

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The swimming holes are above and the gorgeous waterfalls below, along the blue river, Rio Penjamo. 

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Part of a Penjamo River Waterfall hike

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