La Fortuna, Costa Rica is the prime hot spring destination to visit during your travels. This town is located in the northern central part of the country and is often considered an adventure-lovers paradise.
However, sometimes you need to balance all that action with some hot spring soaking with views of Arenal Volcano.
From places with waterslides and grills for families, to adult-only spots with a romantic vibe; the Arenal hot springs have something for everyone!
In this area, the Arenal Volcano National Park is home to a huge aquifer (about half a mile wide and .6 miles deep). The warm water from the aquifer is then pumped or flows naturally to the various hot springs in the area.
Alright, let’s plan your visit!
High End Hot Springs
Tabacon is probably the most famous of the Arenal hot springs. It is located on a beautiful property near Lake Arenal which is the pinnacle of well maintained luxury.
There are a wide variety of day packages at different prices. It is best to check the Tabacon website to see which works best for you.
Currently, day pass packages range in price from $70 to $105 per adult and $28 to $40 for children. All packages include lunch or dinner.
10am – 10pm
– Tabacon suggests that you make your day pass reservation in advance because they do cap the number of visitors and it is a popular place.
– Tabacon hot spring pools range in temperature from 72 degrees to 105 degrees fahrenheit.
– This is also a resort. There are a wide variety of luxurious room options which guests can choose from.
– Resort guests get free access to the hot springs as well as exclusive access to the “Shangri- La Gardens”. This is an adults only hot spring section.
– There are two restaurants and four bars located on-site.
– If you are interested in planning your destination wedding in Costa Rica, it is possible to host it here.
– There is a spa on the property which offers body wraps, massages, facials, body exfoliations, and more!
– Before you book a stay here, definitely check out their current deals. Sometimes they have great discounts such as “Stay Two Nights and Get Your Third Night Free”
The Springs Resort is one of the nicest accommodation options in the Arenal area. It also has a beautiful hot spring facility which is open to resort guests and day pass visitors.
For $77 per person, you can get unlimited access to the hot springs for two consecutive days. This rate does not include food.
Another option that they have is their multi-adventure package. This is done through their Club Rio tour company and includes two activities, lunch, and access for that day to the Springs Resort hot springs.
The activity choices are: river tubing, wildlife sanctuary tour, and horseback riding.
This seems like a really great option for enjoying many activities in one day at $119 for adults and $99 for children.
You can check out your options on the Spring Resort Day Pass page.
10:00am – 10:00pm
– There are nine restaurant and bar options on the property.
– The hot springs include large pools with swim up bars and volcano views, seven smaller pools that are connected by a system of forest walking trails, and hot spring pools at the Club Rio center with views of the river.
– There is a spa on the property which offers body wraps, facials, couples massages, etc.
Baldi is one of the most famous and popular hot spring options in the La Fortuna area.
Their prices range from $36 to $76 for adults and $24 to $52 for children, depending on if you choose to have meals included. You can check out all options on their day pass page.
10:00 am – 9:00 pm during the week
9:00 am – 9:00 pm on the weekend
– Baldi has 25 fresh thermal water pools.
– All hot spring pools are tested to ensure cleanliness daily. They care a lot about maintaining a great image of extreme cleanliness.
– Baldi has a kid’s park section with waterslide and splash pools.
– There are two restaurants located on-site.
– Baldi also offers a wide variety of hotel rooms.
– Hotel guests are allowed free and unlimited entry into the hot spring area.
Mid- Range Hot Springs
Eco Termales is a nice hot spring option with a jungle feel. They are very committed to sustainability and ultimate relaxation. In our opinion, this is a great spot for adults. There are not any kid’s parks or slides, which makes it have a more relaxed atmosphere.
Entrance to the hot springs costs $44 for adults.
Entrance with lunch or dinner costs $72.
Eco Termales is open from 9am until 9:30pm, but the operate in two shifts. In other words, you can either visit from 9am – 4 pm or you can visit as part of the second shift from 4pm – 9:30pm.
– There area two bars on the property and you are welcome to enjoy your drinks in the pools.
– They do serve lunch and dinner. These dishes are typically Costa Rican fare and include dessert and coffee.
– If you are looking to host an event, such as a destination wedding, they do offer this service here.
Paradise Hot Springs offers a variety of pool options that are geared more to adults (no waterslides or kid’s pools). They also have a hotel on the property.
They offer three day pass packages with different prices.
Basic Day Pass: Access to all hot spring facilities
Day Pass & Meal: Access to all hot spring facilities and either lunch or dinner at their restaurant.
Premium Day Pass: Access to all hot spring facilities, lunch or dinner at their restaurant, plus spa treatment. You can choose between a Swedish massage, reflexology massage, coconut exfoliation, or volcanic mud wrap.
….that last option sounds super appealing.
11:00am – 9:00pm
– They offer locker and towel rental.
– There is a spa on the property.
– It is possible to get a hotel room here with hot spring access included.
– There is a restaurant and bar on site.
Kalambu is the perfect family friendly hot spring with an affordable price tag.
Their booking site seems to be down at the moment, but from what I remember their entry fee is about $35 for adults and $20 for children. This rate also includes lunch.
9:00am – 8:00pm during the week
9:00am – 9:00pm on the weekend
– There is a restaurant on site which serves basic fare such as pizza, burgers, and Casados (a Costa Rican speciality).
– It is possible to rent a towel and lockers here.
– This spot has some really fun slide options including one called The Mammoth that is 374 feet high and you go down it on an inner tube. There is a triple side, which has one platform for three twisty slides.
– If waterslides aren’t your thing, there is a relaxing thermal pool as well.
– Kalambu has a great interactive play area for kids. This has playground equipment, water cannons, slides, and more!
– Have no fear, there is a swim up bar.
Budget Friendly Hot Springs
This spot is great for views of Arenal Volcano, fewer crowds, and a lot of open space.
Children under the age of 3 have free entry, children from ages 3 to 10 years old pay ¢4,000 (about $8), adults from 10 to 65 years old pay ¢6,000 (about $12), adults over 65 years old pay ¢4,000.
9am to 9pm
– There is a really nice picnic area with tables and covering overhead. There are several grills if you want to grill (but they are not at every picnic table, only some).
– There are multiple bathrooms and changing rooms for visitors.
– The hot spring consists of various hot and cold pools at different sizes. There is also one pool with a big water slide. In total there are seven pools.
– They do have a campground and small cabins for rent. If you’d like more info you can contact them through their website.
– There is a small place where you can buy food. It is pretty basic (fries, burgers etc.)
– There are lockers but you have to pay a few dollars for a key.
This hot spring is super popular with locals in the area. It is a great spot to spend a full day or evening of fun.
I can not find an exact price online, but I know that adults are about $9 per person.
– There are TONS of picnic areas here. They don’t all have grills, but most do.
– There are changing rooms and bathrooms for customers
– If you come here on a weekend it can be ridiculously crowded with large families. We suggest visiting during the week if you want a more relaxed experience. Thomas and I were here on a Tuesday night once and there was nobody around.
– Each picnic areas has an outlet so you can plug whatever you need to in.
– There are public trash barrels, no need to carry all of your trash out.
– There is a small place where you can buy food, but as with Termales Los Laureles it is pretty standard (fries, burgers etc).
– There are various hot and cold pools and one large pool with a waterslide.
– Apparently, they now have a few rooms for rent. If you are looking for an affordable place to stay at a hot spring you can contact Termalitas de Arenal over their Facebook page.
Free Hot Spring
If you want a completely free natural hot spring experience, just head to the free hot spring!
It’s really neat because the water is naturally heated or cool depending on where you sit in the stream. There are also lots of rocks which make little pools and great sitting spots.
The water from this stream is used at Tabacon Resort’s hot spring, so basically your getting a high-class water experience for free!
The free hot spring is located just next to Tabacon Resort. You will see a bunch of cars lined up along the side of the road right before a bridge.
There is usually someone working who will direct you to park and ask for a few dollars in exchange for watching your car. Even though someone is watching your car it is best not to leave anything of value in it.
After you pay them (sometimes they ask for money before and sometimes after) walk on to the bridge. You will see a trail through the woods which leads down to the hot spring.
Do not attempt to go down to the hot springs on the path before the bridge. It is much better to enter the hot springs from the path on the bridge. If you go down before the bridge you will have to walk through the entire stream to get to a spot you like.
We entered before the bridge once and it didn’t take long before I completely wiped out on the slippery rocks in the stream.
The trail down to the stream from the middle of the bridge is still steep, but I have done it with flip flops on and have been fine.
Just make sure to get back up to your car before it gets dark outside. It’s not fun to try to walk up the path in the dark.
Free Swimming Hole
Here’s a little bonus swimming spot for you all. This is not a hot spring, but just a cool swimming place.
This spot is called El Salto and is a popular hangout spot with locals.
There is a rope swing here that you can use to leap into the water.
El Salto is only about a 5 minute drive from downtown La Fortuna. Drive from the center of town like you are going to the La Fortuna waterfall but instead of turning onto the road to the waterfall continue straight. You will immediately cross a bridge. This is El Salto.
There are usually some other cars there, so just pull over on the side of the road safely and walk down to the water.
If you put “Salto” into Waze it will direct you to the spot.
This is not the safest activity so if you have bad balance or just, in general, do not feel comfortable with possibly slippery rocks we suggest avoiding this.
You will have to walk a small but steep hill to get to the water. We suggest wearing something on your feet like Keens to help with stability.
Also, you don’t have to try the rope swing. You can just cool off in the water instead. That’s what I do (because I’m wimpy and a disaster)!
The water can be really cold, so prepare to be shocked. It feels really nice on hot days or after a long hike though!
Staying at a Hot Spring
If you are looking for a really unique experience you can opt to stay at a hot spring resort.
This is a popular choice for people on their honeymoon or just looking for some total jungle relaxation.
It is definitely worth checking out this option because when you factor in the cost of a day pass to some of the hot springs it can be a decent value to actually stay on site.
Our Hot Spring Tips
– Both Termales Los Laureles and Termalitas del Arenal have grills (as I mentioned above). We always take advantage of this and have a little barbecue. It is a fun way to make use of the space and enjoy a full day at the hot spring.
However, if you are trying to keep a tight budget it may actually be cheaper for you to bring a simple picnic or bring food from a nearby restaurant instead. If you opt to grill you will have to buy charcoal, any condiments you need, something to eat off of (plates, forks), cooking ingredients etc. We have the luxury of bringing these items from home, but you will not.
If you do opt to grill, there is a small grocery store called Super Christian #4 which will be on the left side of the road as you head from downtown La Fortuna to the hot springs.
– As always, don’t leave anything of value in your car while at the La Fortuna hot springs. This especially applies to both free options. Having a dry bag to put all your valuables in to keep with you is really helpful.
– Don’t forget suntan lotion and bug spray! The second the sun goes down here the mosquitos come out in full force.
– Hot spring are great during the day, but most of these places are also open until 9 or 10pm. It can also be super fun to go in the evening because most of the places light up all the pools in different color lights.
– We listed a lot of hot springs, but this actually isn’t all of them. We just listed the favorites which we know about. However, that doesn’t mean you should discredit another spot. We have actually never heard any majorly negative things about any of the hot springs in La Fortuna.
– This may be an obvious warning, but please don’t run or even walk too quickly around the hot spring parks. Last time we were at a hot spring a guy ran past where we were standing and wiped out. He had a huge bruise on his head and definitely got a concussion. The ground can get super wet and slippery!
– We highly recommend packing a microfiber towel for your travels in Costa Rica. We swear by our microfiber towels because they dry fast and in the jungle or on the beaches, nothing ever dries. The humidity here is hardcore!
– It is worth asking at your hotel is they have any special deals with any of the hot springs. It seems that a lot of the hotels in the area partner with Baldi Hot Springs to give you a cheaper rate which includes dinner or lunch.
– If you would like some other fun ideas for things to do in La Fortuna, check out our La Fortuna Visitors Guide. We love visiting the La Fortuna waterfall, taking a chocolate tour, and white water rafting.
If you have any questions about the Arenal hot springs please leave them in the comment section below. We are always happy to help you out!
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