It's the blue water, mum - honestly it's really blue!
When I was a little girl we used to take day trips to a place called Sutton on Sea. It's a sleepy seaside town on the Lincolnshire coast. It wasn't the sea or the beach that I was interested in though. No, for me the most exciting part of the trip was to get to go to the 'blue water'. What this actually was, was a paddling pool, about 15m long, 30cm deep with curvy edges, mini fountains and the floor painted blue, so the water looked blue. To a 5 year old it WAS blue. And I even remember arguing with my mum to say that it was, indeed, blue water. It was also, to me, a magical place. To this day we still refer to it as the blue water, and I still have very fond memories of it.
Well, mum, I can say now that I have actually been to the blue water. And, no, it wasn't painted on the bottom.
To prove it...
It's a place called Rio Celeste, a couple of hours out of La Fortuna. And it is beautiful.
It's also blooming hard to get to. As it was quite far out of town (and because I refuse to hire a car at the exorbitant prices they charge here) we did it as a trip. Yes, I went for the guided tour, which I hate.
Usually I'll admit if a guided tour was indeed the right choice. For the last river we navigated on the river safari for instance, it was essential. This time, not so much. It's one of the few places here that is very clearly marked on Google maps and easy to drive to (so many places really aren't - they're down a dirt track you think goes nowhere or require a 4x4 to navigate a 'road' that is actually gravel with massive holes).
The trail is, well, let's just say you won't get lost. You walk down it then get to the end and walk back it again. Maybe I'd feel a touch more accommodating if our guide wasn't super fit (and the rest of the group) and left us behind so we had missed any spiel or info by the time we caught them up. (or maybe we should just get fitter?)
Saying that, it's not the easiest walk though. LOTS of steps, rocks, tricky bits to navigate including two mini rivers. DO wear good shoes, DON'T take a guide if you'd prefer to go at your own pace and actually soak it in.
It meant also that we saw zero wildlife on the 2 hours it took to trek to the start of the blue water. All of our focus had to be on where we were putting our feet on the trail, and on catching up the group.
Note - as it turns out, that wasn't that big of a problem because, when I did get a chance to take a photo with my lovely camera, I discovered that, while I'd charged the battery this time, I'd neglected to actually put it back into the camera :-( Thank goodness for iPhones.
I have to say that we were very happy we'd 'warmed up' to this trek by doing the lava fields earlier that week. Otherwise we'd have not managed it!
It was worth it though. For two reasons.
One, when you get to the end of the trail, you reach the start of the blue water. This is where you can see two rivers joining together and, from that point on, the water is blue.
Note - if you want to know why then it's to do with the acidity of the water, the molecules being bigger (so they float rather than sink) and light refractions. In other words a load of chemistry stuff that they tried to explain but still went over my head.
Because our guide wasn't telling us much I decided to lug into other guides who were talking to their groups in the area too. (One thing you learn quickly here is that, if a group of people are stopped and looking at something, it's likely to be interesting, so wander over)
One of the groups were being led by a French guide and I heard the word 'tarantule'. My French is not that good but even I could work out that this could mean 'tarantula' and, sure enough, there was another orange kneed tarantula sitting happily in a tree. So I got my group to come over and see. (no pics, as iPhone not that good, you'll be pleased to hear)
Walking back along the trail, we got to a section where you could head off on a little offshoot, which leads me to the second reason why this trip was worth it - the Rio Celeste waterfall.
Unfortunately we couldn't actually go into this one but what we could do is walk 250 steep steps down, and laugh at all the people struggling back up (until we realised that we would be one of those people in a short while too). And this is after our long hike already. Not one to give up on a challenge though I set off, and very glad I did.
Here's the view from half way down - can you see all the people??
And when you get to the bottom you get this...
It was impossible to get a bad picture!
Which may be why, when we did get to the bottom, we found a photography crew down there too. Taking photos of the waterfall perhaps? Er no. One was a local politician who'd opted to have his headshots taken with the waterfall behind him. Nice choice. Certainly better than the mugshots our local politicians seem to push out. Must have been difficult getting there in a suit and still looking all cool and chill too!
The other ones having professional photos taken were a couple. It looked like they were getting professional holiday snaps. Seriously. They were dressed to the nines and posing as if they had just naturally found each other in this beautiful 'secluded' place. I'm sure their friends at home will just gape at how stunning their trip was.
Note - I just don't get why people do that. It's not a real reflection of your holiday, it's a fake version of your life! The funniest bit was watching them change their shoes when they got back up into something more 'suitable'. Now that's what a real holiday is about!
Or maybe they should just stick to a selfie. Like this rare one of me, looking rather chuffed that I'd not only survived the trek but also seen, finally, the true Blue Water.
Pura Vida everybody!