10 Best Natural Hot Springs in Costa Rica

Hot springs | ©Miles Tuttle/Flickr
Hot springs | ©Miles Tuttle/Flickr
Costa Rica has nearly 200 volcanic formations, 100 or so of which show signs of volcanic activity, and five that are classified as active volcanoes: Arenal, Poás, Rincón de la Vieja, Irazú, and Turrialba. As a result there are multiple natural hot springs located around the country which are safe enough to bath in. Here is a list of Culture Trip favourites, some located at luxury resorts and others that are a bit off the beaten path.

An all-natural escape

Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort is home to one of the only completely natural hot springs that is present within a resort in the Arenal/La Fortuna area. The hot springs of Tabacon do not use any pumps or re-heating systems. The springs range in temperature from 25-50 Celcius/77-122 Fahrenheit. There are multiple different pools to choose from and even an adult-only area called Shangri La Gardens. Guests can enjoy a warm and relaxing bath in mineral rich waters while being surrounded by lush native vegetation at Tabacon.

Outdoor hot springs just waiting to be enjoyed © The LEAF Project/Flickr

The ultimate in luxury

The Springs Resort and Spa is one of the top luxury resorts in La Fortuna, with quite a few natural hot springs on the property for guests to enjoy. The resort is split up into two sections, La Lagunas and Perdido Springs. La Lagunas has eight hot spring pools that have varying temperatures between 28.3-40 Celcius/83-104 Fahrenheit. Perdido Springs is a beautiful maze of garden trails and hot spring pools. This part of the resort is usually a bit more tranquil.

The Springs Resort and Spa, 9 Km West and 4 Km North of La Fortuna Central, La Fortuna, Costa Rica +506 2401 3300

View of Arenal Volcano/John Menard/Flickr

View of Arenal Volcano | © John Menard/Flickr

The crowd favourite

Baldi Hot Springs offers non-hotel guests reasonably priced day passes to its more than 25 natural spring-fed pools that vary in temperature, size and shape. Thus guests have a lot of choice when it comes to picking that perfect hot spring spot for a quick dip in nature. Given its open access, however, be aware that Baldi is one of the most popular hot springs in the area and during the high season it can get very busy.

Baldi Hot Springs, 142, Province of Alajuela, San Carlos, Costa Rica +506 2479 2190

Baldi Hot Springs/Ivagueba/Flickr

Baldi Hot Springs| © Ivagueba/Flickr

A family operation

EcoTermales hot springs is located on a privately owned and family operated property; it is one of the few in the La Fortuna area that is not part of a large resort. A limited number of guests are admitted to the springs at any given time, so those who visit here can expect a more peaceful and even romantic atmosphere. The springs offer total thermal and mineral rejuvenation in a beautiful rainforest setting.

EcoTermales. 3.5 Km East of Catholic Church, La Fortuna, San Carlos, Costa Rica +506 2479 8787

Beautiful vegetation/Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose/Flickr

Beautiful vegetation | ©Sandra Cohen-Rose and Colin Rose/Flickr

For an intimate dip in nature

Titoku hot springs is one of the smaller locations in the Arenal area, thus making it an ideal option for those looking to get away from the crowd and unwind in a more serene setting. Non-hotel guests can purchase a day pass at Arenal Kioro to the eight pools which vary in size and temperature. Maximum capacity of the hotel and hot springs is 80 people, so it’s rare that you’ll find the pools to be over-crowded.

Titoku springs at Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites and Spa, 11 Km NW of downtown La Fortuna. Alajuela, La Fortuna, Costa Rica +506 2479 1700

Courtesy of Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa

Courtesy of Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa

Off the beaten path

Rio Agua Caliente is located near the Arenal Observatory Lodge and is free to those who want to take a warm soak. There is an area a bit upstream from the bridge, before the lodge that is ideal for bathing in the mineral-rich thermal waters. This hot spring has a more local and natural feel to it due to its open access, as it’s not part of any hotel or resort and is completely free to enjoy.

Arenal Observatory Lodge & spa, La Fortuna – El Castillo, Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, Costa Rica +506 2290 7011

Local feel/Jason Faulkner/Flickr

A local feel | © Jason Faulkner/Flickr

An all-day adventure

Vandara hot springs, also called Tizate hot springs, are part of the Rincon de la Vieja National Park and fed from the thermal energy of the active volcano. The actual pool that the thermal spring bubbles into is man-made, but visitors can also take part in mud baths, mineral treatments, and even several different tours (horseback riding or zip lining) as part of this all-day adventure.

Vandara Hot Springs, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica +506 8708 7031

Rincon de la Vieja/Patrick Nouhailler/Flickr

Rincon de la Vieja | ©Patrick Nouhailler/Flickr

Springs on the slope

The Borinquen Mountain Resort is located on the slopes of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. The resort offers guests and visitors a wide variety of adventure tours, such as canopy zip-lining, horseback riding, white water rafting, and waterfall tours. There are hot springs located on the property for guests to enjoy after a fun and adventurous day on the ranch. This is an excellent choice for travellers looking for a lot of activity options.

Boringuen Mountain Resort, Guanacaste Province, Costa Rica +506 2690 1900

Crater of Rincon de la Vieja/Noe Alfaro/Flickr

Crater of Rincon de la Vieja | © Noe Alfaro/Flickr

Free hot springs

The thermal heated Tabacon river, which heats the springs at the famous Tabacon Resort, continues to flow past the hotel property, making this pleasantly steamy river accessible and free. Bathers will be treated to warm waters and stunning rainforest surroundings. This is a great option for those on a budget or who don’t want to be bothered with large crowds and pricey entrance fees.

Tabacon Hot Springs, Provincia de Alajuela, La Fortuna, Costa Rica +506 2479 2099

Jungle Scene | ©Matthijs Strietman/Flickr

Jungle Scene | © Matthijs Strietman/Flickr

Dip in a National Park

Magical waters
Magical waters | © Justin Knabb/Flickr
The Tenorio National Park is home to Rio Celeste; visitors can hike a little ways down from the famous waterfall and find the natural hot springs. At this point in time, swimming is not permitted, however visitors can place their feet in the water. The surreal color and beauty of the river is worth the trip, even if you can’t get fully submerged in the water. Visitors won’t be disappointed by this incredible national park and the dreamy cold and hot springs.
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