On our treasure hunt for the sun, we also rescheduled the hike to Rio Celeste. After having had a lot of success with our sun-chasing in Rincon de la Vieja, we were still semi-lucky in Rio Celeste. We picked up a friend we got to know in Honduras and the four of us went off to search for yet another supposedly amazingly blue river. The morning didn’t start so great. It was raining heavily, but after a prolonged breakfast it started to clear up a bit, so we decided to try our luck. Still worried about the drive – the road had been described in quite horrific ways – we were pleasantly suprised to find a newly made dirt road with almost no potholes in it. Our next big problem was the supposedly very very VERY muddy trail. Should we opt for rain boots or not? We hoped for the best and went on without rain boots. If you have hiking boots, it should be fine, but you might have more fun with rain boots. We were told, it’s best to walk the longer trail first and do the main attraction, the waterfall, at the end. So that is what we did. On the way you get to smell sulfur gases (yay…) and see bubbling blue water.
You hike along the blue river with really nice view points. For me, the highlight of the longer trail was „El Teñidor“, which means „the dyer“ in English. At this junction, the water from two rivers turns from amazingly clear to a milky blue. There were a lot of theories about one river carrying a certain amount of certain minerals (copper, sulfur and/or calcium carbonate) which would make a lot of sense, since the rivers run through a volcanic area. But researchers couldn’t find any of those minerals in either of the rivers’ water to support this theory. In fact, the water is not actually turning blue. It will look clear, as soon as you take it out of its environment. The colour changing is not due to a chemical process but rather an optical illusion caused by an unusual reflection of light. The rocks in the river bed of Rio Celeste are covered in a layer of aluminum, silicon and oxygen which changes the way the sunlight is reflected/scattered
. If you look closely, you can see a whitish substance on the rocks, shortly before the river turns from clear to blue. After clearing our muddy shoes, miraculously turning a clear little river into an amazing brown colour, we slowly made our way down to the waterfall. Every turn in the staircase offered another view, so it took a while to go down and up again. Happy with our little hike, the amount of sun, water and mud, we were really looking forward to our fancy picnic lunch when we realized something horrible. We had left the most yummy ingredients back at the hostel. Who could cope with a burrito without tuna and/or eggs?
So, we went back to the hostel and it was a good thing, too, since we left back some more valuable things like prescription sunglasses. And this way, we actually had the opportunity to go to the frog garden which is small family-run piece of land near a river, where loads of different animals feel very much at home. We were greeted by a cute four year old girl and an even cuter little hedgehog. We were basically at risk of fainting due to over-cuteness since the next stop was a baby sloth which had been adopted by the family. Its smile can be quite mesmerizing, but those claws hurt like hell.
And off we went to search for more animals, mainly frogs. What was the most amazing thing for me on this little tour, were the forest bees with their unique bee hive. They don’t sting and produce a more liquid, but apparently yummy honey. Apparently, some animals think, the bees are also quite yummy. This lizard has found the most perfect spot for retirement and a bunch of spiders were hanging out near the nest waiting for lunch to fly by.
The bees were followed by a mot-mot, which is a very colourful bird with a pendular tail (which actually also swings like a pendular). We saw an eagle, waiting to pick out the nearest sloth’s eyes, more sloth fur balls and before we knew it, we were back at the entrance and off to Monteverde, trying to flee the rain clouds once more.