A trip to Costa Rica comes with everything: breathtaking scenery, luxury spa services, adrenaline-fueled excursions, and world class meals. This may be why everyone from world diplomats to young college backpackers pick Costa Rica as their annual vacation destination. While some people hit the tropical beaches and nearby resort spas, others throw on their muddiest clothing and make their way through the dense rainforest hiking trails. Whatever your vacation preferences may be, the perfect spot is waiting for you in Costa Rica.
There is no lack of diversity among visitors to Costa Rica, but they can all agree on one thing: you’ll need to hit a hot spring or two during your time in this small, Central American country.
What is a Hot Spring
Costa Rica has over 200 volcanic formations, many of which are still active, just in a resting phase. Among these volcanoes, a number have formed small pools of water naturally occurring near their bases. When the water is warmed by thermal energy, they become natural hot tubs of warm, soothing water. While you can find some of these hot springs on remote hikes, the largest and most soothing of hot springs are often owned by resort companies and made into huge volcanic spas.
Going to a Hot Springs Resort means you’ll be relaxing and rejuvenating at the base of a large volcano. You have warm water springs, access to resort amenities, and the views of a lifetime. Regardless of whether you came to Costa Rica for spa relaxation or if you’re just looking for a recovery day after a long jungle excursion, an afternoon in some hot springs can’t be beat.
1: The Springs
The Springs Resort sits at the base of the Arenal Volcano, one of the most popular geographical attractions in the whole country. Arenal is currently in a resting phase, but its magma is still bubbling strong enough to heat hot springs all around the base. A trip to Arenal is for the whole family. You’ll get the view of a lifetime, a strenuous morning hike, and an afternoon of pure relaxation at The Springs Resort.
You’ll have natural pools, small waterfalls, restaurants, and spa services. Your kids can splash in the larger pools while the adults take off for some of the more intimate heated pools. It will be the perfect way to see nature, relax, and take pictures that will be the envy of all your at-home supporters.
#2: EcoThermales Hot Springs
If you plan on being in the La Fortuna area during your stay, this is a trip that can’t be missed. This family-owned hot springs and natural spa isn’t part of a larger resort or hotel chain, it’s owned and managed by locals to the La Fortuna area. Although daily entry is limited, those who get a chance to visit find themselves in pure rejuvenation heaven surrounded by the wild of the rainforest.
Eco Thermales has heated, relaxation pools, but it also has long hiking trails exploring the nearby rainforest, an elegant lounge for sipping cocktails overlooking a volcanic view, and a home-style traditional restaurant. You can expect the pools to stay around 99 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit, but don’t let the perfect jacuzzi temperatures keep you in the water all day. Make sure you take at least one lap around the campus, looking out for the huge assortment of nearby jungle wildlife.
#3: Baldi Hot Springs
This crowd pleaser has 25 natural pools of differing temperatures, shapes, and sizes. With something for everyone, the hot springs resort/hotel has extremely reasonable prices even for non-hotel guests. You’ll explore the area, try out multiple pools, and have the best meal of your lifetime. Nature will be in no short supply at Baldi Hot Springs, so make sure you wander the campus and get some great shots of exotic flowers and volcanic views. This particular resort can be in high demand during tourist season, so if you want an entry, make sure you call in advance for a reservation.
#4: Tabacon Thermal Resort
This intimate resort is one of the very first hot spring companies, and is the absolute perfect spot for an adult’s outing. Either with your romantic partner or best friends, this resort will cater to a more adult crowd, rather than some of the family-friendly options mentioned above. Here, there is no use of pumps, mechanical systems, or re-circulating of warm water. You’ll be in complete, un-touched nature. The Tabacon River breaks through the ground at multiple points in this resort, keeping the water fresh and running, and, as always, warmed by the underground thermal energy. You’ll have walking trails, tropical gardens, and no-kids allowed sections for the romantic retreaters. You’ll find springs from 77 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit, so there will be a pool for all preferences.
In the Arenal area, this resort has a capacity of only 80 people, so it’s absolutely perfect for those who want to escape the crowds. This resort is small, surrounded by dense nature, and offers the perfect quiet serenity for a more complete escape. If your trip to the hot springs is part of a larger wellness journey, this is the perfect destination for you. You’ll have time to meditate, be alone in nature, and rejuvenate in the natural springs.