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PHOTOS: Sky-blue Río Celeste never fails to impress

January 16, 2016

Costa Rica’s Río Celeste is one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, and one of the strangest.

The color is straight out of a box of crayons: “Sky Blue,” it might be called, though in places it changes to a darker blue, or a brilliant aquamarine.

The "Blue Lagoon" lives up to its name.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

It can also turn totally brown after a big storm in the rainy season, so it’s best visited between December and April to see the brilliant blues.

The centerpiece of Tenorio Volcano National Park, Río Celeste is viewed from a single, easy trail that can be hiked both ways in two or three hours. On the way you’ll see the stunning Celeste Waterfall, the inviting Blue Lagoon, the “Borbollones,” where volcanic gas makes the water bubble, and “Teñidores,” the “Dyer’s Shop,” where two colorless rivers collide and turn blue.

View of Río Celeste.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Where the Buena Vista River and Agria Creek meet, a change in the acidity of the water increases the particle size of minerals in the Buena Vista called aluminosilicates (made of aluminum, silicon and oxygen). A fraction of these minerals reach the bottom of the river and can be seen as a white sediment, whereas the majority remain suspended in the water. The size and chemical properties of these particles are such that they reflect the spectrum of the sun in only blue.

Los Teñideros, where Río Buena Vista and Quebrada Agria meet to form Río Celeste.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Enjoy our photos of this magical place.

Borbollones, "the place where the water bubbles," is the result not of heat but of venting volcanic gases.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Trees along the banks of the Río Celeste.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

An ant carries a small piece of vegetation up a tree near Río Celeste.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Many butterflies converge upon the fertile grounds of Tenorio Volcano National Park.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

A creek in Tenorio Volcano National Park.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

A spiderweb on the trails at Río Celeste.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

Deep forest along the Río Celeste trail.

Alberto Font/The Tico Times

 

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