In this post we will give our guide on how to make the most of your stay in one of our favourite destinations. Villa Celeste Katira and the beautiful Tenorio Volcano. To read about Villa Celeste and its history click here.
At Villa Celeste there is no check in or arrival time. However, in our opinion Villa Celeste is best enjoyed by arriving the first day in the afternoon. For coffee or dinner don’t worry, Doña Sara’s restaurant has us covered.
As soon as we arrive it is time to get to know our cabin, make ourselves comfortable. Then we can go out to see the property. Rio Celeste crosses directly in front of the cabins, it is usually the first thing to visit… The garden and the internal path are there if we still have energy left after the trip. If not, the hammocks at the reception allow us to rest and refresh ourselves.
If we are travelling alone, Don Martin, Doña Sara and their children will keep us company and will be happy to help us plan the adventures ahead.
All that remains is to let the night fall and let the singing of the river lull us to sleep until the next morning.
Day 2 Up early.
By 7:00 am the towering almond trees at the front of the property should already be full of toucans in the canopy and perhaps howler monkeys halfway up. Other birds such as Aras, Woodpeckers, Honeycreepers, Cusingas and dozens of Hummingbirds among many others are low in the air searching for fruit, sometimes in the trees, sometimes conveniently placed on feeders.
This morning show lasts until around 10:00 am.
The fresh morning air and the colour of the birds fill us with energy, which we will need for the rest of the day. Soon the smell of morning coffee and the “Pintico” will put our batteries on full charge. (we are going to need it)
Trecking, Adventure, Emotions and Memories for a lifetime. (We are leaving for the Park)
We do not want to leave you with the idea that this place is a museum painting, a work of low decibels, to be appreciated and not touched.
On the contrary, Villa Celeste is an immersive experience.
Only 20 minutes from the Tenorio Volcano, its flora and fauna are just the appetizer before the main course. -On the way to the park we can stop to say hello to the imposing La Paz tree, which is more than 400 years old and one of the oldest inhabitants of Costa Rica.
The Tenorio Volcano National Park is a place you have to see three times to begin to believe. With a comfortable parking area, the park begins with what was once an agricultural and cattle ranch, now reforested, returned to the mother earth of the imposing Costa Rica.
As soon as you enter the park, you cross a bridge, and at this first stage of the route, young trees rise up over the trees from left to right as you walk along the path.
Like a growing drum, the flora begins to thicken little by little. And when the old jungle touches the ground again, the climate and the atmosphere change. It is common that the first butterflies, frogs and the symphony of multicoloured insects begin to be seen and heard. As if excited, greeting the visitor, letting him know that places and memories await him that he will never forget.
The complete tour of the Tenorio Volcano National Park can be done from the entrance to “Los Teñideros” (where Rio Celeste gains its colour) in about 3 hours at a leisurely pace.
To visit the imposing waterfall you have to climb down some 150 steps. But the experience is worth it a thousand times over. After the waterfall you will have to walk through stones, dirt and mud if it has rained recently.
The recommendation is always to wear comfortable clothes, hiking or trekking shoes and good hydration. A camera should never be missing.
The impact of the walk is medium level. You do not need to be in excellent physical condition to enjoy it and people of all ages can do it. However, if the visitor finds it difficult to complete the walk, remember that there is no rush. The visit is a reward not a punishment and life is best enjoyed at a good pace.Author’s Notes.
But we’ll leave this account of the Tenorio Volcano National Park for another post. Now it’s time to go back to Villa Celeste for lunch…
The national park rewards us but also tires us out. We have to recover, it is still early and we have the whole afternoon ahead of us.
Doña Sara – “Sarita” – for those of us who have eaten her food and become inexplicably fond of her, is also the cook at Katira’s school. And with the same affection that she feeds the students, she prepares, together with a small battalion of diligent assistants and helpers (when we are there we help washing dishes), her delicious lunches. His delicious lunches, because yes Villa Celeste has a restaurant. Whether guest, hiker or lucky passer-by, the tables are always ready to serve to order.
The food is delicious, the typical and traditional casado “levanta muertos”. Full of the energy needed to recharge the batteries for the morning hike through the Tenorio and more than enough to go out and conquer the rapids of Rio Celeste…
Beto and Tubing
It’s already 1:30 in the afternoon, nature has embraced our souls and Sarita’s food has settled in our bellies. Around the corner we see Beto and his friends bringing an inflator and a pair and then another pair of circular objects. One of them stays and pulls up a chair, the other two leave with laughter.
And the inflator starts to do its work. Those objects begin to take shape. They are tyres, Beto returns with helmets and life jackets. It’s time for tubing. We have an hour of individual navigation through the rapids and river pools ahead of us. The water is fresh, delicious. It’s almost 3 kilometres of navigation.
The inflatables will inevitably give us a 360-degree view of the artistic capabilities of mother nature. And she will be the one to thrill, relax and marvel at every corner, curve, waterfall and rock face.
All in an experience that sometimes lasts little more than an hour and also lasts a lifetime of memories and stories.
At the end of the tour Beto is waiting for us with his minibus to take us back to the starting point. And everyone fits in the bus, the hard thing to get through the door is the huge smile and the feeling of freshness.
An hour later it is already 3:00pm and we arrive to dry off, or else take a walk or another quick visit to the river and let the sun dry us off.
The ideal moment to return to the restaurant to have our minds read by Sarita or her children and be served a cup of coffee with sweet bread and other homemade sinaditos baked by local hands.
Booking at Villa Celeste
The other half of the day is missing.
In the countryside the day has more hours and if it doesn’t they somehow know how to last longer. We have woken up early, enjoyed impossible birds, had breakfast, travelled to a film location and sailed on a sky-blue river.
Animals and birds have accompanied us. Even those who have never been there before can’t help but feel a sense of belonging. Villa Celeste, its environment, its nature and the familiar treatment of don Martin, doña Sara and their children make us feel that this space is ours and at the same time that we ourselves belong to nature.
We have rested for a while now and meditated over coffee with sweet bread and Turrialba cheese. The river and the sky begin to say goodbye to each other. And its colour slowly and gradually drops in intensity, from light blue to light blue, deep blue, green for a brief moment and now it is just a crystal clear river.
It is clearly the same river as before, its sounds give it away, the stones along its course that we already recognise, that we already feel as our own.
But it is inevitable to doubt for a second if that colour we saw during the day was real… Then we turn our head to the sky to compare tones. But now the sky is not light blue either.
A flock of macaws crosses the sky and catches our gaze, which hopelessly follows them until red, violet and orange tones tell us that evening is falling.
What does it matter at this moment if the river was light blue or not! Now the show is given by the sunset. A daily show every evening. On the horizon it is also unclear whether those are the blossoming almond trees or the sun kissing this hemisphere goodbye.
Enraptured we see new details, more birds flying in search of a perch to spend the night. And stars begin to adorn the sky, it becomes dark, but not that dark. A giant moon crowns the night.
Villa Celeste Katira by Night.
And what can you do at night? Well, the day has been full of events. In the restaurant, the pots start to clatter. It’s time to regroup with friends or family. Planning for tomorrow, getting excited by the smell of dinner and for those looking for a scare, there’s the night walk.
Because, yes, it is night but the forest is more awake than ever. The twittering of birds is now the clicking of swift flying mammals, in search of fruit or insects. Frogs chorus in the lagoon and riverbanks.
And an infinite collection of insects, arachnids and other creatures that seem to have arrived from outer space begin to conquer every corner.
For those curious and those who still have energy for one more hike the Villa Celeste trail is the ideal place to go out with camera and torch in hand to explore and photograph. The activity is definitely full of thrills and exalts the senses.
At first the sounds, clicks and songs of insects and frogs come from everywhere.
What do we recommend to bring?
- Trekking or walking shoes.
- Hydration and snacks.
- Insect repellent.
- At least 2 swimsuits
- Lights or torches for night hikes.
Follow us in our next post. Villa Celeste and Surroundings where we will explore more things to do in neighbouring cantons and districts.