A new resort in Costa Rica has opened a breathtaking habitat for visitors. Located along the north side of the volcano, Rincon de la Vieja, in the province of Guanacaste, is a lush tropical rainforest paradise and only here can you experience blue-water rivers created by the volcano, natural mineral “green” hot springs and gorgeous waterfalls. The south side of the volcano is already the most popular place in Costa Rica for one-day visits, but it’s a dry savannah without these characteristics. And until now, there wasn’t good access to north (Caribbean) side. After improvements to the road, the 4-star, Blue River Resort and Hot Springs recently opened and it takes full advantage of the spectacular natural surroundings. Blue River Resort has stunning landscaping with four large natural mineral hot springs pools, a fresh water pool, botanical gardens with over 600 species, a butterfly garden, natural mud baths and a spa. And let’s not forget swimming in the real blue river, the Rio Azul and the waterfall pools. What makes this Costa Rica resort extra special are the many nearby eco adventure tours run by the resort and its close proximity to Liberia, the major gateway for Guanacaste.

After our plane landed at Liberia, Guanacaste’s international airport, the hotel shuttle whisked us to the resort for an exhilarating 70 minute ride. The day was clear and hot as we began a journey of changing landscape. After turning eastward off the main highway, we climbed upward through dry savannah and pasturelands with views of beautiful mountain ranges on either side. Slowly we wound our way into a valley that transformed into lush rainforest and the temperature moderated. Another transformative experience occurred upon seeing people riding horses for transportation and their very basic homes.

After being dropped off at our rooms, which the resort calls cabanas, we really became excited. These modern day cabins are very spacious and fully equipped with all the trimmings. We immediately put on our bathing suits and walking shoes to set out and discover this large property. It actually took a couple days to fully enjoy all the amenities.

For tours, we went zip lining, water tubing, horse back riding and hiking - all through rainforest wilderness discovering blue rivers, waterfalls, plants, birds and animals with friendly informative tour guides. If we had a little more time we would have liked to have taken more tours to different nature reserves, parks and beaches. Other guests returned raving about their experience. I’m also told that a river rafting expedition will be added soon. Lastly, the Blue River Tiki Bar and Restaurant satisfied all our culinary appetites. We were apprehensive about having all meals in one place, but it worked out well. The restaurant ambience is great all the staff extremely friendly. There is a lot of variety on the menu with a full selection of both continental and local specials; from casados or a hamburger to fresh tilapia or a steak.

The north (Caribbean) side of Rincon de la Vieja is a true discovery and Blue River Resort and Hot Springs is a jewel of Costa Rica. Get there soon because this unique natural paradise is getting more popular. Keep in mind that the price includes entrance to the resort, a full American breakfast and up to two kids, under 9, can stay for no extra charge. It is convenient to Liberia, the airport and the beach resorts of Guanacaste. There is so much to do, you can be busy (or not) for over a week. The natural mineral hot springs pools, blue rivers and the nearby rainforest are truly unique finds.