Have you ever bathed in a hot spring? Do you travel in search of luxurious thermal baths?
Costa Rica has some of the best hot springs in the world. Many of these natural wonders are maintained by thermal resorts and hot springs spas.
In this article, we have broken down essential things you need to know about Costa Rica hot springs.
What are Hot Springs?
A hot spring is a thermal pool – natural or heated – with waters containing minerals which when set in a temperature higher than average allows a bather’s body to open up and absorb the minerals that promote relaxation and relief from numerous ailments.
Arenal Volcano Hot Springs
1. Tabacon Hot Springs
Tabacon Hot Springs are thermal pools located inside the Tabacon Hot Springs Resort and Spa, a luxury resort located at the foot of the Arenal Volcano and just beside the Arenal Volcano National Park.
The pools in this area are undeniably some of the best hot springs in Arenal. There are 5 naturally heated pools within the resort and they reach a temperature of 40 degrees centigrade.
Alongside them are regular swimming areas and a cold pool, perfect for a refreshing dunk in between hot bathing sessions.
To enjoy the hot springs of Tabacon, you must purchase a day pass at the resort. Access and lunch or dinner cost 85 USD for adults and 38 USD for children.
Alternatively, you can book a room at the resort and enjoy complimentary access to all its hot springs and pools.
2. The Springs Resort and Spa
The natural hot mineral springs at The Springs Resort and Spa are distributed into two sections: Las Lagunas and Perdido Springs.
They comprise of pools with temperatures ranging from 32 to 40 degrees Centigrade. The pools in both areas are a mix of natural and heated hot springs. The natural mineral-rich waters are tested as safe and beneficial to bathers, with their low sulfur content combined with high bicarbonate and chloride levels.
A Hot Springs Day Pass package in this resort costs 68 USD for two days. Within these days, you have access to all pool amenities, bars and restaurants.
For an additional charge, you can partake in their Wildlife Sanctuary tour which offers you on an adventure inside a reserve that cares for rescued animals and other wildlife.
3. Baldi Hot Springs and Spa
With 25 thermal pools to choose from all within one area, no wonder Baldi Hot Springs is highly regarded as the ultimate Arenal hot spring to visit.
The resort is located in La Fortuna and is said to be the largest of its kind in the world. Not only does it boast of its massiveness, Baldi also takes pride in its numerous natural and heated hot springs that provide relaxation and recreation to visitors. The hottest spring in the property reaches about 65 degrees Centigrade.
A trip to the Baldi Hot Springs cost a little more than 60 USD. Huge discounts are given to children and to nationals. With this rate, you also get access to Costa Rica’s largest sauna, a jacuzzi and water slides.
4. Ecotermales in La Fortuna
Nature meets comfort in the heart of La Fortuna, Costa Rica. With breathtaking views of the Arenal volcano, a lush rainforest backdrop and the purest of mineral-rich waters, Ecothermales sets itself as one of the best hot springs in Costa Rica.
Its pools are packed with calcium carbonates and magnesium, orchestrating a natural system of healing and restoration of the body.
The temperature of the thermal pools in Ecotermales range from 37 to 41 degrees Centigrade. There are also cool water pools and a waterfall. To facilitate a better experience for all guests, the property reserves the right to restrict the number of visitors coming in at a given time.
13 hot springs comprise Ecotermales in La Fortuna. Other amenities include bars, one of which is situated right next to a hot spring. Access to the thermal pools with lunch or dinner costs 62 USD.
Rincon de la Vieja Hot Springs
1. Vandara Hot Springs / Tizate Wellness Gardens Hot Springs and Spa
The Vandara hot springs are located within the Rincon de la Vieja National Park and offer guests tranquility amidst the dry tropical rainforest. The five thermal outdoor pools give you the utmost feeling of being one with nature.
The pools are heated at about 38 degrees Centigrade by subterranean volcanic heat. At Vandara you can combine hot spring bathing with stimulating activities such as horseback riding, ziplining and water sliding.
A full day pass which includes lunch is priced at 67 USD for adults and 57 USD for children, students and nationals.
2. The Borinquen Mountain Resort
One of Costa Rica’s luxury boutique hotels is home to spring-fed thermal pools that welcome stay-in guests and visitors to a relaxing day in the countryside.
The Borinquen Mountain Resort is situated in the highlands of Rincon de la Vieja. The province offers a unique setting to the natural hot springs, with mud pools and natural steam rooms completing the wellness package.
For 80 USD, you get to experience not only the natural hot springs in Borinquen but also the many activities that make it a popular Costa Rican destination. This includes lunch, horseback riding and canopy touring.
3. Rio Negro Hot Springs
The hot springs of Rio Negro are heated by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Ten pools are created by nature in the midst of Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin.
Two suspension bridges allow visitors to access both parts of the riverbank. To access the naturally heated pools, you must either go on a horseback ride or a vehicle and then hike your way to the thermal spot. After relaxing in the hot water you can take a volcanic clay mud bath.
To enjoy the Rio Negro Hot Springs, you must pay 20 USD for adults and 15 USD for kids ages four to twelve. Test the waters before you dive in, as some pools reach up to 53 degrees Centigrade.
4. Blue River Resort & Hot Springs
Let the emerald green waters enthral you at the Blue River Resort and Hot Springs. The temperature of the Blue River hot springs reaches up to 60 degrees Centigrade and cools down when rainwater seeps in or when regular water is added for temperature control.
Guests can enjoy four hot springs together with fresh water pools, mud baths and saunas for a day pass worth 120 USD for adults and 102 USD for children. There are also other amenities to keep the young ones entertained such as water slides, gardens and ponds.
5. Buena Vista in Rincon de la Vieja
One of the nicest places to experience natural thermal pools in Guanacaste is in Rincon de la Vieja. Inside the Buena Vista del Rincon Eco-Adventure Park is the Pacaya Waterfalls Hot Spring and Spa.
Its natural thermal pools are fed by two rivers flowing from the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
Aside from its five hot springs with different temperatures, there is also a fresh water pool for guests to use. A sauna and a mud bath complete the whole rejuvenating experience.
Other wellness amenities include a jungle healing spa and a restaurant specializing in organic food.
The natural hot springs of Buena Vista is free of charge to any stay-in guests. For a day pass, they charge 35 USD.
6. Sensoria Land of Senses
A luxurious destination is in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, and it is home to crystal-clear thermal pools open for visitors to enjoy.
Sensoria is a private natural reserve that boasts of its Magical Rainforest of the Land of Senses, a jungle of sky blue waters, enchanting waterfalls and diverse wildlife.
In Dantas, one of the waterfalls in the area, thermal springs arise. Further into the forest there is the beautiful warm Pilon pool. These hot springs are naturally heated by the geothermal energy provided by the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.
Sensoria has a unique wellness package called Forest Therapy Tour. This tour costs 105 USD for adults and 75 for kids. It lets you immerse yourself in nature slowly and intentionally.
The therapy includes hiking in the jungle, chasing waterfalls and bathing in natural hot springs. A Costa Rican meal awaits you back at Sensoria Restaurant.
Miravelles Volcano Hot Springs
1. Rio Perdido Hotel & Thermal River
Just an hour away from Liberia is a 600-acre private reserve called the Rio Perdido. Translating to ‘lost river,’ this property’s highlight is the thermal river that gives life to 8 hot springs and many other pools that have varying temperatures.
The 8 main springs are too hot for swimming, but down the riverbend are 27 to 32-degree-Centigrade soothing pools that are just perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation.
You can get a day pass to access Rio Perdido – 40 USD for adults and 30 USD for children. Additionally, hike your way from the Miravelles forest to the medicinal spring and taste the water that is believed to have healing powers when consumed. The mineral water has a distinct taste because of its high diluted magnesium levels.
2. Colinas de Miravalles
Colinas del Miravalles is a 3-star hotel run by a family with high regard to quiet relaxation and customer satisfaction. Its rustic cabins complement the green ambiance of Bagaces. On the list of its amenities are 4 thermal pools with breathtaking views of the Miravalles Volcano.
For 100 USD a night, this place is recommended to tourists for its reasonable price and high reputation for cleanliness.
More Hot Springs in Costa Rica
1. Tenorio National Park
One of the youngest national parks in the country is the Tenorio Volcano National Park. Located in the northern region, this park is established in order to protect the Tenorio Volcano.
Inside the park you can see the most intriguing hot springs in Costa Rica. These thermal pools are a product of the Rio Celeste, a stunning river with turquoise blue waters.
Legends say that God, while painting the skies, dipped his blue-coated paintbrush in this river. Scientifically speaking, it is so because of the presence of volcanic minerals in the waters of two rivers converging.
You can enter the Tenorio Volcano National Park for 12 USD (5 USD for kids) if you wish to trek to Rio Celeste. Borbollones is where the bubbling pools are located; however, swimming is prohibited in the area. Be very careful of the hot water temperatures and boiling mud pools.
2. Orosi Valley Hot Springs
Another must-visit hot springs resort in Costa Rica is the Hacienda Orosi. It is a relatively new resort situated in the mountains along the province of Cartago.
Hacienda Orosi has two large natural thermal pools with temperatures that range from 35 to 39 degrees Fahrenheit. They are in the process of building more. A victorian house is located nearby and is said to have housed a couple of Hollywood actors in the past.
For 65 USD you can enjoy the warm waters at Orosi Valley – complete with snacks as well as lunch or dinner. Other options include a full day pass with two full meals and a snack for 75 USD or a pass with only snacks for 40 USD.
3. Ecotermales in San Vito de Coto Brus
Located in the Puntarenas Province is the town of San Vito de Coto Brus where natural hot springs can be enjoyed. The thermal carbonated pools are next to the Coton River and are fed by waters enriched by the Baru Volcano of Panama.
For 50 USD you get access and transportation to the thermal pools via Hotel Cuenca de Oro. The hotel also conducts other nature tours such as hiking, fishing and mountain biking.
4. Ecotermales in Quepos
There is a spot in Quepos so secluded it can be tagged as a secret hot spring destination. It is Aguas Termales, a group of small natural thermal pools managed by a family who did not want to draw the attention of enjoying a hot spring bath away from nature. Because the place is not known to many, there is a high chance of having the pools all to yourself.
The temperatures of the four thermal pools vary; their structures are as close to natural pools as they can get. A river sits nearby, offering a cool dip in between hot baths. There is a restaurant serving Costa Rican specialties.
Entrance to the hot springs costs about six USD. The roads going to the place may be a bit challenging, but the serenity and exclusivity it offers is worth the drive.
1. What are the health benefits of hot springs?
A lot of studies have supported the health benefits you can get from bathing in hot springs. The chemical composition of the water in a hot spring determines the treatment you can get from soaking in one. Some general benefits include:
- Relief from fatigue, anxiety and stress
- Supplementary treatment for skin problems such as acne
- Restrengthening of immune system after a medical operation
- Relief from joint and muscle pains and other orthopedic problems
- Cure for minor respiratory, digestive and circulatory difficulties
2. Are hot springs dangerous?
Hot springs are generally safe. There are instances wherein hot springs are recorded to have reached past the boiling point, but the chances of this happening is rare and proper dissemination of information will be made even before people can go in. What makes it usually unsafe are results of human activities.
Drinking alcohol and diving into a hot spring must never be done. You need to hydrate to recover from a hangover; hot springs dehydrate your body from all the sweating it facilitates.
With this being said, even while you are sober you must gear up for a dehydrating day at the thermal pools. Bring a hat, drinking water or an electrolyte drink, and other forms of sun protection while bathing.
3. How are hot springs formed?
Natural hot springs are mostly formed and heated by the earth’s magma. In other instances unrelated to volcanic activity, the water goes down through the earth’s core and makes its way back, taking up minerals from the ground. The result is a hot pool packed with chemical components that aid in healing once absorbed by the body.
Heated thermal springs, on the other hand, are hyperthermal bodies of water that are rich in minerals but are not heated by magma or by the earth’s core. Therefore, to facilitate similar benefits of a natural one, resorts, hotels and spas technologically control the mineral waters’ temperatures.
4. Should you shower after taking a bath in a hot spring?
You should not shower after soaking in a hot spring. The minerals from the water that are yet to get absorbed by your body will just be washed off. Benefits will, in turn, get reduced. However, if you are prone to skin irritation, do take a shower.
5. How hot are natural hot springs?
To be considered a natural hot spring, the pool water’s temperature must reach at least an average of 37 degrees Centigrade. A typical hot spring is 42 degrees Centigrade hot.
6. How long should you soak in a hot spring?
It is recommended that you soak for at least 15 minutes in a hot spring. For added benefits, soak for 15 minutes in a hot spring and then transfer to another cold or hypothermal spring for 15 minutes. Doing this for a couple of rounds will condition your body.
7. What should I bring to hot springs?
Bring drinking water or an electrolyte drink. Wear ample sunscreen and a hat that provides good shade. Do not bring soap or any form of bathing chemical.
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I have lived and worked in Costa Rica for one year. While working for a local tour company in the capital city San José I travelled to all the BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN COSTA RICA.