What is the best Hot Springs in Costa Rica?
We break it down a bit so you can decide which Arenal hot spring is best for you based on our personal experience and the reviews of hundreds of visitors who seek the respite of Costa Rica's healing waters.
Few things are more natural and good for you than a good long soak in warm natural spring water, and thanks to a helping hand from the five active volcanoes it boasts, Costa Rica is blessed with numerous hot springs of which you can take advantage. Ranging from opulent, all-inclusive spa like settings, to waterslides, families and jungle gyms; there is something for every taste, and we’re here to make sure you find what you’re looking for!
But first, some science! Hot springs occur naturally as a result of cracks and fissures in the Earth’s crust which are in close proximity to a volcano. Rain water collects in these cracks (which act a bit like storm gutters) and it then passes near to magma (volcanic lava that has not cracked Earth’s surface), which heats it up, making it an ever so lovely place for you to relax your cares away. The high mineral content and biologically restorative qualities are ours thanks to the leaching process which takes place during the rainwater’s travels. It passes over rocks and minerals during its long journey, and by the time it’s warm and it our pool, it’s also mineral-packed and armed to the teeth with anti-aging properties.
Now, on to the fun! Since we’ve already had our science lesson, it is clear that the water in which you are soaking is not different from place to place. It is the same whether you pay a lot or pay nothing at all. So it is definitely important that you take into account exactly what you want out of your experience. Do you want to play? Do you want waterslides? Just to relax? Massage? Dinner? We’ve rounded up our top favorites, provided a small description of each, and even prepared a table for you to compare each offering yourself. We are so helpful, right?!
First up: Tabacon. Ah, Tabacon, it is beautiful. It is expensive. It is beautiful. Ride the superfast and short waterslide, and then just dog paddle over to the bar for a margarita in the swim-up palapa bar. Lay around. Have another drink. Explore many pools and the numerous zen hideaways among the garden trails. They are all beautiful. Relax, you paid good money for this and you won’t be disappointed. Reviewers have rated this among the top hot springs in Arenal for years.
Tabacon is an experience and worth the money if you have it, but you should also know that you can access the very same hot springs for free by simply continuing down the road just a little further instead of stopping at the front entrance to the Tabacon resort. No waterslides there though and you will have to pack in any cocktails you want since no poolside bars. :(
Next we visit the beautiful Ecotermales. With its blessedly uncrowded space and paved, lit forest trails, it is a nature buff’s dream! One interesting thing about Ecotermales is that it’s the only hot springs where the water bubbles up right on site. They drain the pools and scrub them daily, then allow them to fill back up naturally by 10am when the park opens. It’s quiet, it’s beautiful, and it’s super hygienic… what’s not to love about Ecotermales? Based on reviews, guests appreciate Ecothermales Hot Springs natural environment and smaller crowds than some of the more swanky resorts.
Baldi hot springs has earned a reputation for being something of a “party place”; the music can sometimes be a little loud and maybe the bathers can too from time to time. But it is also worth noting that Baldi has its very own children and families area to keep the splashers and shriekers at bay while the couples are able to sneak off for some privacy into some of the smaller coves and pools hidden in the landscaping. At Baldi, everyone can enjoy the hot springs at their own pace, and that inclusive attitude wins big bonus points for Baldi Hot Springs Resort in our humble opinion and that of many travel reviews by families.
If The Springs looks beautiful enough to film a television show, that’s because it most certainly is! With its perfectly manicured grounds and stunning water features, it was an obvious choice for filming a season of The Bachelor a few years back. But The Springs isn’t just about Hollywood glamour, they also operate a preserve for animals which have been donated and also confiscated from poachers. Animals like ocelots, monkeys, macaws, and even a puma can be found here! How neat is that? This puts The Springs Resort Hot Springs at the top of our personal list, and with the many upgrades they continue to add, probably one of the best hot spring resort values in Arenal for families and for couples alike.
Titoku hot springs is a smaller less visited and lesser known hot springs destination in Arenal. This is one of the smallest hot springs resorts with only 8 pools scattered throughout beautifully landscaped grounds and a mellow atmosphere. It is almost always guaranteed to be mellow since the maximum capacity is only 80 people. The property is set into a hill and the pools cascade from top to bottom, warmest to coolest. Pick the temp you love, and settle in for some extreme relaxation. As the Titoku Hot Springs is one of the lesser known, there are not a whole lot of reviews, but all of the hot springs reviews have been positive so that is an excellent sign.
Paradise Hot Springs, really, who doesn’t love Paradise? With a name like that, how can you not want to tell your friends you went to Costa Rica and found yourself in Hot Springs in Paradise? This hot springs is where you’ll find a somewhat upscale, resort kind of feel, with chaise lounges and umbrella-ed tables placed strategically about, and rich, lush landscaping to look at while your mind drifts and your body relaxes into the delicious warmth. Yup, we thought you would think so too...simply paradise! Paradise Hot Springs exceeded our expectations and that of several reviewers as well.
The newest Hot Springs Park to hit Arenal is Kalambu. We think it is only fair to advise you that this should not be grouped into the rest of the relaxing hot springs in Arenal. Kalambu is where you go if you want that big waterpark sort of feel, where kids of all ages can take an inner-tube down a giant slide, or play on some monkey bars in between pool dips. If you’ve got a child having a birthday while in Costa Rica, this is THE place to celebrate it! They will never forget the birthday they spent at Kalambu, and you won’t forget the sheer joy on their face as they play. There is still one hot spring where mom and dad can sneak off and enjoy a cocktail or two, but Kalambu is definitely more of a fun park than your typical Costa Rica hot springs resort.
Please note, we are the Activities Specialists, our reviews are strictly based on the Hot Springs themselves, not the rooms or food service at the resorts as we have skipped over several resorts that have their own private hot springs. As you now know, even though the water is exactly the same from hot springs to hot springs in Arenal, the environment itself is so very different in each place! It is a good idea to take into account exactly how you want that warm and inviting water experience, so we hope this handy guide to point out some key differences and helps you make the right hot springs choice in Costa Rica! Once you have made your choice, you can book your space ahead of time and save some cash! Happy bathing and Pura Vida!!!
Hotsprings Comparasion Table:
|Number of Pools||Water Temp Range||Spa Services||Hours||Best For||Price Range|
|Tabacon||5||77-122F||Yes||10am-10pm Daily||Secret Hideaway for Couples||$$$|
|Ecotermales||6||98-105F||No||10am-9pm Daily||Nature Lovers||$$|
|Baldi||25||90-152F||Yes||10am-10pm Daily||Swim up Bars and Good Times For All||$$|
|The Springs||18||83-103F||Yes||8am-11pm Daily||Romantic Couples and Families Alike||$$|
|Paradise||6||90-153F||No||11am-9pm Daily||Simple Relaxation||$|
|Kalambu||1 + Waterpark||N/A||No||9am-10pm Daily||Kids and Groups||$|
|Titoku||8||83-103F||No||10am-8pm Daily||The Road Less Traveled||$|