When I planned my first visit to Costa Rica, I knew exploring the Tenorio Volcano National Park would be one of the biggest highlights out of everything I did on the trip. In short, I was right. Getting to see the awe-inspiring, beautiful blue waters of Rio Celeste and the abundance of nature throughout the exotic jungles of the Guanacaste Province was incredible. This is one activity you do not want to miss during your trip to Costa Rica. With that being said, I have a few tips from what I experienced that could benefit future travelers heading to Tenorio.
1) Bring Your Own Hiking Boots
I know it’s hard to pack things like hiking bootsbut bringing my own was totally worth it. It didn’t rain at all while I was there but there was a lot of mud to trek through. If you forget or don’t want to bring your hiking boots, don’t worry! The park has them available for rent. Nothing quite like a pair of multi-used, soggy, gross smelling hiking boots that aren’t your own. Ew. Just bring your own and don’t forget to throw a pair of nice wool socksin your travel bagtoo. Don’t have any? Check out my Costa Rica packing guidefor some ideas.
2) Ditch The Tour, Rent A Car
It’s so easy to fall into the trap of booking a tour. I recommend renting a car and driving yourself. It’s not only the cheaper option, you get to see more and not have to worry about being on someone else’s watch too. You do notneed a guide to hike through Tenorio Volcano National Park.
Please Note: I recommend renting with Adobe (not only were they a cheap rental car option, their customer service was superb) and getting a 4×4 wheel drive car. Not all roads are in bad condition but the last road to get to Tenorio is dirt and filled with potholes.
3) Download An Offline Map
This goes hand in hand with renting a car. Don’t trust your mobile cell service for navigation. Download an offline map. Your carrier might claim there’s good cell service in an area but come on, you’re in a jungle with mountains, volcanos, tall trees, don’t be ridiculous. Be prepared. Some really easy-to-use offline mobile map apps include Google Maps (Android, iPhone) or Maps.Me. Both are relatively user friendly and free. If you’re driving from Liberia, I wrote out some pretty easy instructions on how to get to Tenorio. You can view them here.
4) Get There Early And Take Your Time
70,000 travelers head to Tenorio Volcano National Park annually. The chances you’ll actually see a crowd when you go are pretty slim but I recommend getting to the park early just in case. I arrived just as the park opened at 8am and not very many people were there. That alone made the hike a lot more enjoyable and I didn’t have to worry about dodging other people for pictures of the lagoon, waterfall and anything else I came across.
I can’t stress this enough… take your time hiking through the park. Rio Celeste is the best part about the hike but there are so many other great things to experience and see! Walk slow, quietly and spend time looking through the different plants and trees. There’s so much to see! Cool lizards, spiders, snails, butterflies, exotic flowers, the list goes on!
5) Pack Water & Bring Snacks
There are a few places you can stop for snacks in town at Bijagua before you take the last turn to Tenorio but there isn’t a whole lot at the park. There’s one open air restaurant that had water bottles you could purchase for $1 a piece but they didn’t really have any snacks for the trek. I ended up packing a few water bottles and RX bars.
I hope you found this article helpful as you plan your trip to the Tenorio Volcano National Park in Costa Rica. If you’ve already been there and have tips of your own, share them in the comments! Thanks for reading and please contact me if you have any questions about traveling to Costa Rica or visiting this amazing park!
Tenorio Volcano National Park Info
- Location: 100 miles Northwest of San Jose
- Phone: 2206-5369
- Park Hours: 8am – 2pm
- Park Admission: $12 USD per adult / $5 USD per child (under 12 years old)
- Parking Fee: $2 USD
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links which means we could receive a small fee if you purchase an item using our links. All fees are collected and broken up evenly between local donations and funding our travels.