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Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

Salt Lake City...
6 posts
Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

We are travel to Costa Rica end of Dec - Jan 7 this year (2016/17). I realize this is a busy time of year, so we are looking to find places that will still be great, but without too many crowds (if possible). We're flying into Liberia and want to not spend too much time driving around, so though we'd split the trip between 2 destinations (rainforest/cloud and beach). We are a family of 4--2 kids 8,10 and fairly adventurous. Kids rock climb, hike, camp, as do we.

I haven't been able to find too much information about Tenorio NP. But it seemed like it might be a good alternative to the more crowded Arenal National Park. Has anyone visited there? What can you do there? Are there any fun activities for families? Would Rncon de la Viega NP be a better choice or other suggestions?

Also open to any other suggestions anyone has. We have 10 days to spend, love the outdoors, are open to roughing it a little and even camping and while we want to do some of the touristy things (snorkel, surf, rainforest canopy, or rafting (probably need to stick to Class III and below given age of kids)...we would rather do these things where it's less crowded if possible). Thanks in advance for any input.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
Level Contributor
7,375 posts
149 reviews
1. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

Both parks are something you can do in the morning or afternoon--both are pretty small in terms of what you can explore--1-2 trails of modest length. The actual Arenal Nat'l Park is fairly remote and not all that heavily visited by tourists.

There are adventure activities in both places, but in general there are more adventure activities of the kind you are describing are found in Arenal.

Have you looked at the Arenal Observatory Lodge?

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
10,950 posts
23 reviews
2. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

Rincon de la Vieja has the least rainfall of the 3. Tenorio Volcano and Rio Celeste are much more lush and we saw more wildlife than either Arenal or Rincon. It may also have more rain that time of year. It would be my 1st choice with children that age - too young at 8 for any whitewater trips. Look at Casitas Tenorio or La Carolina Lodge. Frankly you may be too late to book into any of the small lodges around Rio Celeste. Bijagua is a small Tico town in a beautiful setting but limited tourist infrastructure. A couple of fun places to eat, a frog tour and the glorious Rio Celeste.

Arenal has far more lodging options & will have far more tourists. AOL is a great choice to get away from the crowds as would be Leaves & Lizards well outside town.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
Level Contributor
7,375 posts
149 reviews
3. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

Bear in mind that the lushness of Rio Celeste is due to the heavy amount of rain there. We visited during the 'dry' season and the *best* morning weather we had there was overcast and gloomy. Quite frankly by the end of our 5 nights in the area we were happy to leave for a drier location.

Arenal, while still being a rain forest, tends to be drier and warmer than the Rio Celeste/Tenorio area (Bijagua for some reason gets more sun and less rain than the Tenorio area despite being so close--something to due with how the mountains trap clouds/moisture).

Also, if it rains, Tenorio's trails turn into a big mud pit, and the river loses much or all of its famous blue color and ranges from pale green to brown.

Tenorio is better than Arenal for general wildlife, but the AOL is easily the best wildlife option in the area--not just talking about monkeys, but anteaters and wild cats.

Salt Lake City...
6 posts
4. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

Thanks for all the additional information. How far apart are Tenorio and Arenal? Just wondering if it would make sense to split the 4 days between the two (2 nights at each) or if we're better off just picking one and staying there. Arenal was originally my first choice, but I was told by friends that it was very touristy and would be busy that time of year.

If we stay at AOL do we have to go to La Fortuna for all of the tours (ziplining, river rafting (calm), etc.)? If so, how far is it between AOL and La Fortuna--just wondering if it's realistic to make the trek back and forth every day. Also wondering if we need to rent a car or if the lodge/tours will provide the transportation. From Arenal or Tenorio we plan to head on to Samara, so again wondering if we need a car to get there or can take public transportation of some sort. Thanks for any additional insight.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
Level Contributor
7,375 posts
149 reviews
5. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

A lot of people visit Rio Celeste/Tenorio from Arenal as a day trip, haven't done it so I can't provide specifics as to logistics.

There is extra hassle in going from the AOL to La Fortuna where the tour operators are generally located, but we managed it without much difficulty.

But, the real appeal of the AOL is that you don't need to leave the grounds to get the best views, the best wildlife, and the best hiking in the area. If you are planning to be gone all day, every day I would probably consider a different location.

Salt Lake City...
6 posts
6. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

Well, at this point, every place that's nice and not in the middle of downtown La Fortuna (where I know I don't want to stay) is booked. Looking for any alternative suggestions of areas to visit that might not be booked (Dec 28-Jan2).

7. Re: Information on Tenorio Nat'l Park

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