Tucked away in the rainforest-covered foothills of the Tenorio Volcano, near a river flowing with translucent blue water, is one of the most, if not the most, unique rainforest wedding destinations in Costa Rica: Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel – a must include site in our series of articles on the most unique Costa Rica wedding destinations. For the article, we interviewed Oscar Bermúdez, the hotel’s Reservations Manager, who took us on an extensive tour of the property, showing us its sites for wedding ceremonies, receptions, and dinners, and made a Honeymoon Suite and their standard accommodations available for us to photograph.
LOCATION & TRANSPORTATION
The hotel is situated at the northern edge of Tenorio Volcano National Park in Alajuela Province. You can arrive by flying in to either Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR), which is 2.5 hour away, or Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), which is a 4-hour drive from the hotel. The hotel can arrange transportation to and from either airport, as well to and from any site or excursion in Costa Rica.
REPUTATION, HISTORY & DESIGN
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is a boutique, luxury, 4-Star hotel where clients have been having unique destination weddings in Costa Rica since 2010. The hotel was designed to that its main buildings and guest rooms were integrated the natural surroundings and scattered about in the foothills at the base of the Tenorio Volcano, ensuring guests are in constant contact with nature, have excellent views of the rainforest, and enjoy a high level of privacy.
WHY IT’S SO UNIQUE
One of the most notable characteristics giving the hotel its uniqueness is its isolation. The hotel is situated in the remote mountains and rainforest forming part of an obscure small town just north of Tenorio Volcano National park and its guest rooms are thoughtfully spread out and hidden in the botanical garden in the center of the hotel and in the surrounding rainforest. This ensures guests enjoy a palpable tranquility and access to, and views of, pristine rainforest, and many exotic creatures and plants.
Without is superb customer service, the hotel would be nothing more than a beautiful place. When you arrive, you will receive a cool damp towel and tropical drink to sip on while checking in. During your stay, the service only improves. The staff is genuinely polite and wants to make sure you have a memorable stay. It is not a façade. Then there is Kantala, thier gourmet restaurant , whose menu abounds with amazingly flavorful dishes with that are pleasing to the eye and palette. We had quite a few items from their menu and can honestly say the dishes are first rate and some of the best, if not the best, we’ve had in Costa Rica.
BEST TIME FOR RIO CELESTE WEDDING
Planning a destination wedding is a bit different than having one locally where you are familiar with the climate and weather. Familiarizing yourself with the climate and weather where you want to say, “I do” in Costa Rica. It can make or break your big day.
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is in a rainforest, so rain is a possibility any day. January to May are the months with the least rainfall, and are therefore the best times for a wedding. The months with the most precipitation are from May to late December, with August through November receiving the most.
BUSY & SLOW SEASONS
The busy season runs from mid December to the end of April, and the slow season from May to mid December, which is mostly the same throughout Costa Rica. In addition to the influx of tourists, the busy season is also the time when Costa Ricans tend to go on vacation, further swelling the amount of people, causing the cost of air travel and accommodations to increase and availability to decrease.
WEDDING PLANNING SERVICES
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel does not offer in-house wedding planning services. They can connect you with a reputable, independent wedding planning in Costa Rica who will take care of everything for you and ensure you have an amazing wedding. Our 7 Reasons You Should Choose a Wedding Planner and How to Choose a Wedding Planner pages will help you find the the planner that’s best for your wedding.
BRIDAL PREPARATION SERVICES
On your wedding day, the hotel can arrange for you to have your hair styled, nails and pedicure done, and makeup applied in the comfort of your own room or in their spa.
CEREMONIES – TYPES & SIZES
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel accommodates weddings of all types, from secular and civil ceremonies to traditional religious ones from any culture, and can handle elopements and small intimate weddings to medium-sized events of no more than 50-60 guests. The hotel can manage two weddings per day depending on the size and schedule of each event.
The hotel has 26 luxury guest rooms ensconced in its botanical gardens and in the surrounding rainforest that can accommodate up to 65 guests. There are two varieties of guest rooms: Casita Deluxe – Garden View and Casita Deluxe – Forest View, which come with either a king bed or two queen beds. The Casita Deluxe – Garden View comes with a Jacuzzi-type tub and shower whereas the Casita Deluxe – Forest View has a large walk-in stone shower. Both types of casitas have a spacious luxury bathroom with French doors leading to an outside private shower, a high bamboo ceiling, beautiful wood solid wood furniture, wood floors, and doors, additional French doors that lead to a large covered wood deck with wood chairs for you to comfortably enjoy the views.
1. HONEYMOON SUITE
The hotel can transform any of their casitas with a king canopy – and with the amenities you prefer – into your honeymoon suite. The Honeymoon Suite they prepared for us to photographed was a Casita Deluxe – Forest View that had a beautiful, king-sized, solid wood canopy bed and a Jacuzzi-type tub in its ample bathroom with luxury amenities, as well as an outside shower.
2. CASITA DELUXE – GARDEN VIEW + KING BED
Your friends and family attending your wedding can stay in luxury in Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel’s Casita Deluxe with a view of their lush botanical garden, a whirlpool tub in an ample bathroom, and a choice of either two queen-sized beds or a king bed.
3. CASITA DELUXE – GARDEN VIEW + 2 QUEEN BEDS
Your wedding guests will enjoy the same luxurious and elegant finishings and furnishings as in the Casita Deluxe – Garden View, but with a view of the rainforest, a spacious walk-in stone shower, and a choice of either a king-sized bed or two queen beds.
WEDING DAY SITES – CEREMONIES & RECEPTIONS
Río Celeste Hideaway Hotel has a variety of great locations where you can have your ceremony, reception, or dinner that have amazing views of nature at the hotel and nearby.
1. RAINFOREST PAVILION – CEREMONIES
For wedding ceremonies with 50 or fewer guests, their pavilion is ideal. It sits atop a hill located at one extreme of the property overlooking the mountains and the river below, whose rushing water can be faintly heard. The pavilion is a wood structure with wood floors and columns supporting its roof, and is surrounding by rainforest and exotic plants.
2. SENDERO ARMADILLO – CEREMONIES
There are two locations at then end of Sendero Armadillo (Armadillo Trail) that are ideal places for intimate wedding ceremonies and elopements. Both venues are about a 15-20 walk through rainforest and over a hanging bridge from the Rainforest Pavilion.
Just above the river at the end of the trail, there is a small wood structure that can accommodate ceremonies of up to 12 people. It is surrounded by rainforest and has a bird’s-eye view of the sky blue river below. On the river shore below, there is a small clearing that is a great location for elopements and wedding ceremonies of 5 or fewer people, including the officiant. It has great views of the river and of the surrounding rainforest.
3. RIO CELESTE WATERFALL – CEREMONIES
Note: This wedding venue is located in a national park 1.5 kilometers from the hotel. It is not on the hotel’s property and is not part of the hotel. There is an admission fee to enter the park and we highly recommend renting boots (available at entrance). From the park’s entrance, reaching the waterfall entails a 30-40 minute walk on a partially paved trail and down several flights of steep stairs. We also recommend coordinating with the park and the hotel to avoid scheduling and permission issues.
If you want to have an idyllic waterfall-themed destination wedding, the Rio Celeste Waterfall is a sublime venue for elopements small wedding ceremonies of 12-15 guests. There is a cement platform about 100 meters from the base of the waterfall allowing for amazing view of the waterfall, river that flows from it, and the rainforest during your ceremony.
* While taking the photos, there was a tremor that caused a rockslide in the lake feeding the waterfall, causing the water to loose its sky blue color.
4. GARDEN & FOREST DECK – CEREMONY & DINNER
If it’s just you and your love, and you want a private wedding or are eloping, you can have your ceremony and dinner on the private covered wood deck of your casita with garden or forest view. The first four pictures are of a garden view deck; the last four pictures are of a forest view deck.
5. KANTALA RESTAURANT – RECEPTIONS
The primary location for wedding receptions at Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is Kantala Restaurant, which can accommodate up to 100 guests. Located in the hotel’s main building, the restaurant is in a pavilion-type building with open walls permitting views of the botanical garden, has a thatched roof supported by columns made from trees, and has a cantina and a coy pool. Its wide variety of internationally inspired and fusion dishes are simply fabulous, and you and your wedding guests can enjoy them at their beautiful solid wood tables and chairs.
6. BLUE MOON BAR & POOL – RECEPTIONS
For outdoor receptions that have some covered areas, the Blue Moon Bar & Pool is an excellent option that can accommodate 40-50 guests. The bar & pool, located behind Kantana Restaurant on an elevated level, features a sunken bar and various hot tubs, in addition to a large pool bordered by a terrace surrounded by botanical garden and rainforest.
7. PRIVATE SALON – RECEPTIONS & DINNER
For a more private wedding reception indoors, the hotel’s billiards room is an ideal site for wedding parties of 30-40 guests. The enclosed indoor rectangular room is located near the hotel’s entrance and has a fireplace and large windows on three sides allowing for views of the botanical garden and rainforest on two sides. For receptions, the hotel can remove the furniture and pool table to make room for dining tables, a buffet service, and a dance area.
Enjoy the numerous and varied activities, adventures, and natural sites in the mountains, rainforest, waterfalls, and rivers – and all the creatures that call them home – at the hotel, in Tenorio, and in Costa Rica, that are some of the worlds most beautiful and exciting locations.
1. AT THE HOTEL
At the hotel, you can take a short walk to the beautiful sky-blue river that passes through the property or start a hike of Rio Celeste and Tenorio Volcano National Park during which you will see natural wonders, dense rainforest, and many exotic animals and plants.
2. BEYOND THE HOTEL
Since the hotel is located on the northern border of Tenorio Volcano National Park, you can go on a birdwatching tour or white water river rafting in the Tenorio River. Not far from the hotel, you can go on a kayak safari on the Rio Frio (Cold River) and see spider, white-face, and howler monkeys, as well as caimans, iguanas, birds, and other creatures, as well as impressive natural scenes as you paddle along the river in a kayak. Further from the hotel, you can enjoy thermal springs in Arenal or in Rincon de la Vieja, other amazing waterfalls in Bajos del Toro, visit coffee and cocoa plantations, or the gorgeous beaches in Guanacaste and Puntarenas.
Relax at Rio Celeste’s spa after hours of travel or before or after your wedding day, where you will drift into oblivion as a masseuse relaxes your body and mind, and where you can have a number of spa treatments.
Rio Celeste Hideaway Hotel is a magical place and experience. Its isolated location in the mountainous rainforest next to a national park and near a sky-blue waterfall, whose river courses through the hotel’s property, make it a serene and visually stunning place for a Costa Rica destination wedding. The dark hardwood floors, solid wood furniture, and bamboo ceilings in its casitas and restaurant give the hotel a warm and seductive feel. That its guest rooms are secluded in its botanical garden and in the rainforest, will make your stay feel as if you at a home away from home.