Lake Arenal in the Costa Rican highlands is a very big lake. And north of the western edge of the lake is Volcan Tenorio one of six active volcanos in the country. Río Celeste is undeniably one of Costa Rica’s most photogenic sights, and it’s all thanks to the volcano: sulfur emissions from the volcano plus calcium carbonate in the precipitation creates unbelievably blue water. You have to see to believe! It’s all part of a visit to Tenorio Volcano National Park.
On this page: Rio Celeste | Playa Bejuco | Lake Arenal | Sikewa Coffee | Studio Hotel
Costa Rica is a visual feast! Our three favorite Costa Rican destinations listed above are described below. But first…
Part of the “best of…” is our favorite coffee in Costa Rica — Sikewa Coffee.
Our search for the best Costa Rican coffee spanned two separate visits and four months traveling around and sipping gallons of various roasts and blends. There are now over 1,000 craft coffee roasters in Costa Rica. Sikewa Coffee was so good we bought an extra piece of luggage to haul back to Portland 40 pounds of three different roasts — all of the them distinct and excellent!
And also part of the “best of…” is our favorite hotel in Costa Rica — Studio Hotel.
This is our second visit to this stunning destination hotel property in the suburban town of Santa Ana — just outside Costa Rica's capital city of San Jose. Visiting this property (November 2018) begins our three-month, more in-depth exploration of this lovely country in Central America.
In addition to hotel conveniences and amenities, you will be captivated by Costa Rica's largest private art collection on display throughout the property both inside and out. And all the artists are Costa Rican! Be sure to ask for one of the handful of rooms specially prepared with the same quality of art found in the common areas — at no extra cost! Tell them the Hotel Guys sent you.
Note: we did not receive any complimentary goods or services during our two night visit. In fact, the hotel staff did not know we were video reviewing the hotel for hotelguys.com until we met Manuel, the hotel manager, at checkout.
The rack rate for this time of year is US$95; we paid US$82 via booking.com having made our reservation several months earlier for best price. A great value! Check out our video below.
An awesome, expansive and sleepy beach that we coincidentally timed just right so that our low tide walks at sunrise were aligned with the rising sun on the shoreline horizon east. And our low tide walks at sunset were aligned with the opposite shoreline horizon west. Absolutely stunning. If there was not already a reason for reverence, this beach is clean and free of trash. A Costa Rican gem with limited low-rise development! We loved it so much we came back a second time several months later and stayed our last week on the “Good Life” tour.
If you are driving anywhere around Lake Arenal in the Costa Rican highlands you have hit the jackpot for a breathtaking view! We stayed near the tourist town of La Fortuna inland a bit from the eastern edge of the lake. Loved the way the lake and Arenal volcano created clouds and rain. But the photo below was taken from the far southwestern shore, near the town of Tilaran and even closer to the village of Tronadora. If you need to re-create, just visit the lake for a couple of days to gaze out while reading a good book, wind surf or easily hike along the water’s edge. We recommend a drive, bike ride, stroll or hike along the southern edge east of Tronadora as far as you can until you can’t, or won’t, ford a too-big stream. Instant renewal!