We booked the Rio Celeste, tubing, wildlife + lunch excursion as a last-minute add-on while we were in Costa Rica. And we are so, so grateful we did! This was hands-down our absolute best day in Costa Rica, and was the absolute best experience we could've had right from the start.
From the moment I received the confirmation of the tour, the tour company's operator Andreas, was extremely communicative and friendly. He was able to work with our tour guide, Juan Carlos, right away when we found out we had a scheduling conflict and needed to be picked up a little later than expected. We were so grateful they were able to be flexible with us on our pick up time.
I can't say enough great things about Juan Carlos and his knowledge and enthusiasm for all things wildlife, plant-life, eco-system-life, and everything environment-related. From the second we met him, he was enthusiastic and incredibly welcoming to us. He used every moment possible to share something interesting about what we were seeing, whether pointing out the monkey bridges on our drive, telling us about the towns we were driving through, even making an awesome last-minute stop on our way home to point out toucans in trees! And that was just the car ride! His knowledge and enthusiasm did not waiver the entire day - he really used every moment possible to share something exciting and interesting with us.
One of our stops included seeing sloths, frogs, and a viper he spotted wrapped around a branch. This was a beautiful experience, to see the animals up close and in their habitat. The other people we met there who helped spot the animals were also incredibly friendly and welcoming.
Our second stop was the Rio Celeste waterfall, a breath-taking waterfall that is an absolute must-see if you're in Costa Rica. The hike there and back is no joke and my legs were still shaking a bit even after lunch! It's a moderate walk to the waterfall that includes some elevation and 247 steps down to the waterfall's base. The 247 steps back up...that took a minute for me, but it was so, so worth it. Our family, each of us, including the 10, 13 and 16 year-old were in awe of the waterfall's beauty.
We ate lunch in a local restaurant with the friendliest people. Their cancer-juice (I'm sorry I completely forgot the actual name) was the best-tasting juice I've ever had - you have to try it. They blend it with ice and it's the most refreshing drink after that hike!
After our lunch we headed to the tubing experience and the weather totally cooperated to keep the river blue during our tubing ride. It was amazing to be tubing down the Rio Celeste's blue water in the middle of a rainforest. Wow! Seeing giant trees canopy above us while we floated - at times - pretty rapidly down the river was beautiful. The tubing itself was a lot of fun. The water was moving and there were some fast rapids at times which made it exciting. Our guy Daniel on the tube experience was there to help get us unstuck from some of the more shallow, rocky parts of the river. Definitely watch your butt on this one - those boulders in the water aren't moving out of your way!
This was an all-day experience and we were tired, but it was the best day we had in Costa Rica, and are so grateful we did it! Huge thanks to Juan Carlos for being amazing and really making this an incredible experience for us!