Bijagua and Tenorio Costa Rica's Tourism Frontier

Río Celeste Waterfall
Bijagua Wildlife
Río Celeste Tubing
Jungle Life Sloth Sanctuary
Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting
Río Celeste Waterfall
Bijagua Wildlife
Río Celeste Tubing
Jungle Life Sloth Sanctuary
Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting
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About Bijagua and Tenorio

It is easy to call the Canton of Upala, located in the Northern province of Alajuela, Costa Rica’s new frontier of tourism. With the relatively undiscovered areas of Bijagua and Tenorio, it is an excellent destination for wildlife—we regularly see healthy sloth populations, troops of howlers, and white-faced monkeys, and a wealth of tropical bird species.

This region is also one of the few places where with luck, you can find tapirs in the wild at night in Tapir Valley. Nature lovers and adventure seekers revel in the area’s intense beauty, variety of activities, local culture and food, volcanic activity, pristine blue-hued rivers, and so much more!

We invite you to peruse the following pages to gain a sense of the wonderful experiences to be had. With an inspiring array of accommodations and establishments for wining and dining, we’ll put together the perfect itinerary for you.

Bijagua: Natural Wonders

Río Celeste

Rio Celeste Waterfall

This famous park is located in the northern zone of Costa Rica, just 30 minutes away from the town and hotels of Bijagua. At the foothills of the lush rainforests of Tenorio Volcano National Park, you will discover one of Costa Rica’s best kept secrets. Rio Celeste is a beautiful and striking turquoise-blue river with a blue lagoon and an enchanting waterfall hidden in the lush jungle (you really must see it to believe it!). A rainforest walk leads to the teñideros, a joining of two streams that give birth to the river’s name! Animals and birds are abundant in this magical region!

Length: Half-day, morning departures.
Includes: Local guide, entrance fees.

 

Jungle Life Sloth Sancturary

The Bijagua area is well known for its nature, volcanoes, and wildlife, including the two sloth species living in Costa Rica. During this 2-hour tour, our primary goal is to find as many sloths as possible. Sloths are experts in camouflage amidst the trees! With local guides, you’ll witness them in their natural habitat, sleeping peacefully, moving slowly, or munching on fresh “guarumo” shoots. You will learn a wealth of information about sloths, their habits, and their ecosystem. Our knowledgeable guide will spot more wildlife on the search for these beautiful animals, such as toucans, poison dart frogs, red-eyed frogs, hummingbirds, and iguanas.

Length: Two hours, morning and afternoon departures.
Includes: Local guide, entrance fees.

Bijagua Jungle Life Sloth Sanctuary

Tapir Valley

Bijagua Tapir Valley

Tapir Valley is a private nature reserve in northern Costa Rica, dedicated to protecting the rainforest and its inhabitants. The 220-acre reserve features primary and secondary rainforest, and is home to a variety of wildlife, including Baird’s tapirs, jaguars, collared peccaries, and many bird species. Once a cattle pasture, Tapir Valley was purchased by conservationists in 2007 and restored to its natural state. Today, it is a thriving ecosystem that provides habitat connectivity for wildlife between the Tenorio and Miravalles volcanoes.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities at Tapir Valley, including day hikes, night hikes, photo tours, and birdwatching tours. Two observation platforms offer stunning views of the rainforest and its inhabitants, including toucans, macaws, hummingbirds, and trogons. Tapir Valley is also home to an endemic and rare species of frog: the Tapir Valley tree frog. This tiny frog is only about 2 centimeters long, and its only known habitat is the 8-hectare wetland within the reserve. If you are looking for a place to experience Costa Rica’s natural beauty and wildlife, Tapir Valley is a great option. The reserve is a haven for animals, and it offers a variety of activities that will allow you to learn about and appreciate the rainforest.

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon departures.
Includes: Local guides, entrance fees.

Bijagua: Forest Adventures

Heliconia Hanging Bridges

Just minutes’ drive from Bijagua, the Heliconia Hanging Bridges are comprised of three suspended bridges connected by 4 kms of rainforest trails all set within a 70-hectare private preserve. Here, you observe flora and fauna from ground level to the top of the canopy of the 40-meter-tall trees. A unique experience to learn about the complexity and beauty of the rainforest canopy. The flora and fauna to be enjoyed is stunning!

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon departures.
Includes: Local guides, entrance fees.

Arenal Hanging Bridges

Laguna Danta Hike

Bijagua Laguna Danta Hike

The Tenorio Volcano has three different craters including Laguna Danta Crater—the only one that is possible to hike. This moderate-to-challenging three- kilometer trek leads uphill and you’ll earn your reward with every step along the steep, sometimes muddy and rocky trail. Over the course of the 2,460-foot climb, the change from the rainforest to cloud forest belt is incredible. The Tapir Lagoon awaits at the summit—a quiet and peaceful atmosphere with incredible biodiversity and a chance to see wildlife like morpho butterflies, monkeys, sloths, toucans, white-nose coati, many colorful birds, and with luck, you may even find the footprints of the Tapir or Puma. On the descent, you can hike the hanging bridges adding four more kilometers of adventure!

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon departures.
Includes: Local guides, entrance fees.

Mountain Biking

Explore the natural wonders of Río Celeste, Tenorio Volcano National Park, and Miravalles Volcano while biking along gently rolling and forested country roads and hiking the Blue River trail. This tour offers scenic vistas of forests, mountains, and volcanoes, and opportunities to see rainforest wildlife such as monkeys, sloths, toucans, and many other tropical birds. The mountain bike tour is ideal for intermediate to advanced riders. Your friendly, bilingual, naturalist guides enjoy giving personalized tours based on your physical condition, experience level, and the type of workout you are looking for.

Length: Half day, morning departures.
Includes: Local guides, gear as needed.

Bijagua Mountain Biking

Horseback Riding

Bijagua Horseback Riding

Appreciate the landscape between Tenorio and Miravalles Volcanoes from a different perspective—on horseback! This riding experience starts with a safety briefing by your friendly, bilingual, and naturalist guides. Enjoy a personalized tour based on your physical condition, experience level, and the type of adventure you are looking for through the natural and beautiful rural community. Bijagua offers many different types of terrain, from flat gravel roads along open cattle pastures and patches of rainforest to local plantations and amazing mountain views of both volcanoes!

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon.
Includes: Local guide, gear as needed.

Bijagua: River Fun

Río Celeste Tubing

Enjoy a half-day adventure of white-water class I-II tubing along Rio Celeste. This exciting experience promises a unique ride along the famous Blue River waters. Start with a safety orientation briefing by your friendly local guides before going to the river and learning how to maneuver your tube through the rapids. Your river guide will show you the best routes through the class I and II rapids. Midway, enjoy a break in a gorgeous blue pool for a refreshing dip. Facilities for changing are provided at the end.

Length: Half day, morning or afternoon.
Includes: Local guides and gear as needed.

Río Celeste Tubing

Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting

Tenorio River Whitewater Rafting

The beautiful Tenorio River is known as the best rafting river in Guanacaste and Bijagua. The pure white-water flows from Tenorio Volcano. The rafting route combines nearly 20 kilometers of rapids with magnificent landscapes surrounded by tropical forest. No experience is required but good effort is needed on this world-famous class III and IV river. A delicious lunch will be provided to fuel the energy burned on the way down. Our staff will provide ample instruction and guidance to ensure you feel confident and our modern and certified equipment helps you ride the rapids smoothly.

Length: Full day, morning departures.
Includes: Local guide, gear as needed, lunch.

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

This tour is one of our naturalist guides’ favorites for viewing river and rainforest wildlife! Located two hours away from Bijagua, the Caño Negro National Wildlife Refuge and Río Frío combine wetlands and riparian forest are host to water birds, iguanas, monkeys, sloths, river turtles and many forest bird species. Enjoy a 3-hour covered river boat safari or opt to canoe downriver and boat back up, in the company of a naturalist guide who will point out wildlife and explain the area’s ecology.

A haven for migratory birds makes this a hotspot for ‘twitchers’ but any wildlife lover will delight in spotting a variety of monkeys, fish including garfish, caiman, crocodile, the endangered Jabiru, and if you are lucky – a tapir!

Length: Full day, morning departures.
Includes: Local guide, entrance fees, lunch, gear as needed.

Caño Negro Wildlife Refuge

Bijagua: Cultural Experiences

Cooking Class + Homemade Lunch

Bijagua Cooking Class + Homemade Lunch

This tour will take you on a gastronomic experience of Costa Rican traditional cuisine, prepared with fresh products by local women of Bijagua. Learn, enjoy, and cook! Among many options, you might try your hand at making and tasting empanadas and tortillas, picadillo de papa, fresh cheese by hand, homemade tamales, and, of course, preparing coffee the traditional Tico way. This culinary experience ends as you enjoy a delicious meal while supporting an entrepreneur local woman.

Length: Half day, morning or afternoon.
Includes: Local guide, lunch.

Tree Chocolate Farm

Gerardo and his family will give you a deep history with chocolate at the loved Tree Chocolate Farm. It won’t surprise you that entertaining your guests with a ‘bean to bar’ experience is a must! From picking the cacao pods straight from the tree, using a stone to open them, learning about the fermentation and drying process, trying a hand at using a traditional “metate” or native indigenous grinding table (or perhaps just a modern metal hand grinder), to ultimately tasting the creation! The guides will share the history, origin, and varieties of cacao. Tip: Try them all! Also, be sure to bring along a little cash to purchase some.

Length: Half day, morning and afternoon.
Includes: Local guide, chocolate tasting.

Bijagua Tree Chocolate Farm