Escape to the lush rainforests and blissful beaches of northwest Costa Rica on this relaxing 5-day itinerary. Explore pristine cloud forests and brilliant blue rivers in the Río Celeste area, then transfer to the coast, where the white sands and crystalline waters of Playa Conchal beckon. With a perfect blend of laidback activities and lots of downtime, this quick Costa Rican getaway is sure to recharge your batteries.

Highlights

  • See the brilliant blue waters of the Río Celeste river
  • Hike through lush cloud forests to hidden waterfalls
  • Discover the white sand beaches of Playa Conchal
  • Swim & snorkel among tropical fish & rays

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrival at Liberia Airport, Transfer to Río Celeste Area Bijagua / Río Celeste
Day 2 Río Celeste Hike Bijagua / Río Celeste
Day 3 Private Transfer to Playa Conchal Playa Conchal
Day 4 Free Day at Playa Conchal  Playa Conchal
Day 5 Depart Costa Rica  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival at Liberia Airport, Transfer to Río Celeste Area

A bridge over the brilliant blue Río Celeste
A bridge over the brilliant blue Río Celeste

Welcome to Costa Rica! Upon arrival at the Liberia International Airport (LIR), you'll meet your guide and enjoy a private transfer to the Río Celeste area. Your destination is Bijagua de Upala, a village near the entrance of Tenorio Volcano National Park that's the perfect spot for a quiet getaway. As the gateway to the brilliant blue waters of the Río Celeste, this little town has become more popular while keeping a rural feel, with stunning mountain scenery, fantastic bird watching, and friendly locals. Get settled in at your hotel, and rest up for a memorable hiking excursion in the morning. 

Day 2: Río Celeste Hike

Hike to the spectacular Río Celeste waterfall

Today you'll experience one of the country's most beautiful waterways: the sky blue Río Celeste, located inside Tenorio Volcano National Park. Local legend has it that after God was done painting the sky he washed his paintbrushes in this river, hence the name, which translates to "River of the Sky." The scientific explanation says the vivid blue color is due to a mixture of sulfur and carbonate, which originates in the dormant Tenorio Volcano, located nearby. 

After a hearty breakfast, you will be transferred to the park with the company of a local guide and set off to hike the scenic rainforest trails of Tenorio National Park's cloud forest. Along the way, stop at Los Teñideros, the site where two brooks meet and cause the chemical reaction that gives the river its electric turquoise color. You will then continue the hike until you reach the cherry on the cake, the spectacular Río Celeste Waterfall.

The river is surrounded by rainforest and is home to many species of wildlife including sloths, anteaters, and a variety of exotic birds. Despite Río Celeste's unparalleled beauty, this is one of the lesser-visited locations in Costa Rica, so you can avoid crowds and appreciate the untouched nature of your surroundings. After the hike, you'll be transferred back to the hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax by the pool or explore on our own.

Day 3: Private Transfer to Playa Conchal

White sand and turquoise sea at Playa Conchal
White sand and turquoise sea at Playa Conchal

Today you'll transfer three hours west to the coast, traveling through one of the most beautiful regions of Costa Rica. Known for its stunning beaches and incredible bird-watching opportunities, the province of Guanacaste is blessed with radiantly sunny days and unforgettable sunsets. Your destination is the magnificent Playa Conchal. With two-and-a-half miles of pristine white sand and some of the clearest waters on the Pacific Coast, it offers crystal visibility for snorkeling among tropical fish and stingrays. 

Upon arrival at your hotel, the afternoon is yours to spend relaxing on the beach.

Day 4: Free Day at Playa Conchal

Conchal beach
Lush rainforests meet tropical beaches at Playa Conchal

Relax and unwind at the beach today—swimming, snorkeling, and soaking up the sun on Playa Conchal. If you feel like some adventure in the afternoon, set off on a deep-sea fishing excursion or a hiking trip to the nearby national parks and nature reserves.

Day 5: Depart Costa Rica

Sunset over the Guanacaste coast
Sunset over the Guanacaste coast

This morning you'll bid Costa Rica hasta luego, transferring to the airport for your flight home. Safe travels!