Rio Celeste – going off the beaten track

In Monteverde, we struck up a conversation with a fellow hiker who suggested we visit Rio Celeste, a turquoise river and lagoon in Tenorio Volcano National Park. The color is an effect of a chemical reaction between sulfur and calcium sulfate. Pretty hike, but rubber boots are advisable. Lucky for us, there doesn’t seem to be public transport along the dirt road into the park. We set camp in the parking lot, and soon were asked if we were going back into town. Another visitor needed a ride out of the park 7km to the nearest village. That must have been a long walk as dusk was approaching.

Our pictures seem to have disappeared for this park.  Internet to the rescue.

“…the road was worth it – right?”

Semuc Champey was the third stop on our little adventure through Belize and Guatemala with my parents.


It took us literally all day to drive from Tikal to Semuc Champey.  The day started with a lot of gravel road and potholes, the middle was mostly decent highway (with the exception of the cra cra chicken bus drivers), and we ended the day with a steep, rough, narrow road into the Semuc Champey valley.  I admit, I didn’t look at the topography of Semuc Champey before compiling my plan.  The owner of the hotel in El Remate (Tikal) had compared the drive into Semuc Champey to driving into the belly of the earth…you just go down and down.

We never did find the hotel I booked.  Put a sign up would you Utopia.  I felt anxious with no secured accommodations for the night, but we finally checked into a quaint little hotel near the park.  George and I were able to camp and the parents got a Spartan little casita (1 bed, no electricity after 11 or so, and cold showers).  The following day, we visited the turquoise pools of Semuc Champey.  There were truly beautiful and great for a dip.  Our photos don’t do them justice.

We had a little euchre tournament in the afternoon after visiting the pools (dad + g, mom + me).  G and mom were definitely the most passionate players, but G didn’t manage to deliver on his threats.  After a slow start, mom and I took the last two out of 3 games and are consequently reining champions.

That evening, I tried to force dad to admit the drive was worth it for some personal gratification.  He didn’t budge.  I do think the drive was worth it though, no matter what dad Batten says.

The following day we left at first light for the 10+ hour drive to Lago Atitlan.  I had booked some more cush accommodations on the lake to end the visit on a high note.