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If I were to tell you that we went on an outing and saw practically all the species of butterflies that are native to Guanacaste and over 500 species of plants, from more than 34 different families, you would likely think that this outing spanned multiple days.  Now, if I tell you that in addition to these butterflies and plants we saw some 30 species of birds from 11 different families and 6 native species of frogs, in addition to bats, turtles, iguanas and lizards, you would think that I was talking about a trip that must have taken multiple days throughout multiple different regions of Costa Rica. 

But in reality all this happened in a single day between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. and in a single spot – the newest thermal water center on the northern face of  Rincón de la Vieja Volcano––Blue River Resort.


Beyond indulging ourselves with the incredible biodiversity of the region, we were able to immerse in a revitalizing thermal pool, have a delicious meal, and enjoy an

 “out–of–this–world” massage. In addition we saw an intense light blue river and discovered a beautiful waterfall hidden within the magnificent rain forest.

The 60-minute trip from Liberia is pleasant thanks to the great views of the Guanacastecan savannah.   As one ascends toward the volcano, picture–perfect views appear at the foothills of the mountains.  Shortly after passing a small hill, the view makes a remarkable change and the familiar savannah landscape

disappears to make room for thick rain forest and a very refreshing breeze.

This transition is absolutely delightful. Up until then we did not realize the juxtaposition of the northern face of Rincón de la Vieja’s greener and rainy side compared to that of its southern dry forest.  At Blue River we discovered that this contrast is one of the great defining factors of this resort.  The developer of this project, Daniel Appelboim, proudly explained to us that in contrast with the other tourist centers at Rincón, here everything is green 365 days of the year.


Very special thermal  waters…


Have you ever gone to a thermal pool to recharge your batteries only to come out of the water more tired than when you arrived?

If you have had that experience, this place is for you.  Blue River’s green waters possess the revitalizing effect that we thermo-addicts seek….


Apparently this is due to the origin of the water. 

This is not rainwater filtered through the earth’s crust and then tempered by hot rocks. These are primary waters that come from depths of thousands of feet, heated directly by the deep magma that adds invigorating minerals and gasses directly to the water.  This is in contrast to the majority of the thermal waters in Costa Rica which are frequently of a superficial (filtered) origin.


The attraction of the place, however, goes beyond its thermal pools.  As mentioned, this is an area dense in life.

It has a beautiful butterfly breeding center, a complete botanical garden, a reptilian and amphibian lagoon and a large variety of species that roam freely around the place.

There is also an abundance of very special details, such as small tents in the middle of the forest to be used for reading or practicing yoga, wind chimes hanging from trees, and in general a very harmonious and eco-centered decor.

Although the place does not strive to exhibit its luxuries, it has a gym with cutting–edge equipment and a

5–star spa to delight visitors and complete their experience.


As night fell, we enjoyed an additional hour at the pools followed by a great dinner.  Then we went to rest in the homey and ample 600 sq.ft. room where we dropped happily exhausted, lulled into dreamland by the sounds of the forest…

How to get there:  Go 24 km. north of Liberia, then turn at the crossroads toward the small town of Quebrada Grande and go another 31 km. to reach the resort.  The road is paved until just passed Quebrada Grande and then there is unpaved road in good condition, except for some small stretches. 


What to do upon arrival:  4 thermal pools and one cold water pool with an amusing water-slide, a botanical garden, a butterfly farm, an amphibian pool, a spa, hiking paths to the volcano, horseback riding to the Pénjamo River and to a waterfall, as well as a variety of other possible activities.


Rates:  The $20 day pass includes entrance to the pools and the botanical garden, a wild life tour and lunch.  Cabins cost $98 per night for 2 persons and include breakfast and the use of all the amenities (pools, gym, butterfly farm, botanical garden) and a guide.  There are also spa and tour packages available.

There are special discounts for Costa Rican visitors.


Contacts:  Tel:  2206 5000



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utopia magazine and travel guide

What else would you like to see in Utopia Magazine? 

Things to do in Costa Rica

Golf in Guanacaste 

Tico Glossary Catalinas island 

Barra Honda Caves

Rincón de la Vieja

Diving in Guanacaste


Marina Papagayo Medical tourism

What does Pura Vida means? 

MAPS Ecology   Culture   

Hotels in Costa Rica Birds

watching guide MarineTurtles 

Playas del Coco NationalParks 

Transportation guide 

Humpback Whales 


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