Neon River In Costa Rica Will Make You Ditch Instagram Filters (Amazing Places)

Imagine water so dazzling blue that when people see pictures of it, they usually accuse the photographers of digitally altering them. That’s exactly the case with the waterfall in Rio Celeste, a river in Costa Rica’s Tenorio Volcano National Park. If you’re wondering why this river is so stunningly neon despite having #NoFilter, the answer may surprise you: it’s a combination of volcanic minerals and bacteria.

Situated deep within the Costa Rican wilderness, Rio Celeste’s name translates to “heavenly river.” Local legend says that the river gets its iconic cerulean hue because after the gods supposedly painted the sky, they dipped their paintbrushes in its waters. Of course, we now know the real reason is a mixture of sulfur and calcium carbonate, which is found in the water due to the nearby Tenorio Volcano. Don’t worry, it’s been dormant for years.

To get there, you’ll have to hike about an hour through a tropical rainforest filled with white-faced monkeys, blue butterflies, poison dart frogs, sloths, and wildcats, among other exotic animals. After enjoying the view of the 300-foot waterfall, you can soak in one of the many nearby hot springs as the volcanic heat keeps you all warm and fuzzy. The best part? You’ll probably have this hidden oasis all to yourself! Because it’s located off the beaten path and takes quite a bit of effort to get there, there aren’t exactly crowds of people there at any given moment.

So if you’re a travel junkie with a bucket list that includes “visit a waterfall with water that’s bluer than a Smurf’s butt,” definitely consider paying a visit to Costa Rica’s Rio Celeste. You’ll especially enjoy it if you like hiking, ecotourism, and secluded serenity. Oh, and be sure to take lots of pictures. At the very least, we won’t accuse you of photoshopping them.

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