If you have an interest in relaxation and wellness on your trip to Costa Rica, you’ll want to visit one of the famous hot springs Costa Rica proudly boasts. The hot springs are perfect for embracing a calm ambiance and rejuvenating yourself during your trip.
What are Hot Springs?
Hot springs are like all-natural jacuzzis. They are fed by underwater streams that receive their heat from geothermal activity. This infuses the water with rich minerals. Costa Rica has lots of volcanic activity, so it makes sense there are so many hot springs scattered across the country. Hot springs in Costa Rica can be found in a few different parts of the country including north Guanacaste, the northern plains, the South Pacific, and the central valley.
Costa Rica natives and tourists alike flock to these invigorating hot springs to enjoy all the healing benefits, as well as the simple pleasures they provide. Just use caution – while most hot springs are great for bathing, some can be so hot they’ll burn your skin.
The Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Hot Springs in Arenal (La Fortuna), Costa Rica
The hot springs in Arenal Costa Rica are the most popular in the country, drawing tourists year-round to enjoy the soothing waters in the shadow of the Arenal Volcano. They are some of the best hot springs in Costa Rica with multiple, diverse options for resorts. Here, you can find everything from a small water park to a luxury five-star resort, and everything in between.
In La Fortuna, hot springs are easy to find. This town is considered the gateway to Arenal Volcano National Park and most Arenal hot springs can be found in or nearby in town. There is no shortage of great hot springs in La Fortuna, but here are some standout ones that we recommend.
Tabacón Hot Springs, Arenal Region
One of the very first resorts with hot springs, Tabacón is a must-visit in the Arenal area. The resort itself is gorgeous but, more importantly, it has a strong commitment to sustainability at the backbone of their business. Their seven-step sustainability plan has earned them a 5-star Certificate for Sustainable Tourism from the Costa Rican Board of Tourism.
While all of the hot springs mentioned in this article are natural, the Tabacón hot springs are unique because it does not use any mechanical assistance to move the water. All of their water systems are gravity fed, completely eliminating the need for pumps and therefore reducing the energy consumption of the resort.
The Tabacón hot springs have multiple specially designated areas such as the Grand Spa and the Shangri-La Gardens (which is reserved for adults only.) There are also lovely massage stations nestled into outdoor nooks around the property.
One great thing about the Tabacón hot springs resort is that it limits the number of guests allowed at the hot springs each day. This helps to keep both the energy consumption low, the carbon footprint light, and the ambiance peaceful. Due to this guest limit, it is highly recommended that you book your tickets ahead of time.
In our personal opinion, the Tabacón Resort hot springs are the best hot springs in Costa Rica and our favourite Costa Rica hot springs resort overall. A day pass with one included meal is priced at $85 (and $94 in the peak season.)
Baldi Hot Springs, Arenal Region
Located in La Fortuna de San Carlos, the Baldi Hot Springs are some of the best Arenal hot springs in Costa Rica. With the backdrop of the Arenal Volcano, the scenery is quite hard to beat. The Baldi hot springs are made up of 25 separate thermal pools, some featuring their own waterfalls. The atmosphere here is very lively, including lights, music, and a theme park-like feel. A standard day pass will cost you $35 excluding meals.
In addition, you can use the Baldi sauna, the largest in Costa Rica. There are also a couple of water slides on the property if you need a little more excitement in your day.
In order to visit the Baldi hot springs, you’ll need to head to the Baldi Hot Springs Resort and Spa. Aside from their famous hot springs, this hotel is well known for its luxurious rooms and earthy design. While on the property, you can indulge in a spa treatment from their extensive menu of wellness services.
EcoTermales, Arenal Region
Unlike many of the other hot springs on this list, EcoTermales is exclusively a day spa with no hotel attached to it. Despite having no rooms, they do have a restaurant and bar. The tastefully rustic design is an easy-going switch from some of the region’s five-star hot springs resorts.
EcoTermales was designed to be in harmony with the 13 natural springs that are found naturally on the property. The water flows directly from the Arenal volcano with no pumps needed and completely refreshes the pools every 45 minutes.
EcoThemales was first opened to the public in 2002 and has become an example of ecotourism for the region through their waste management and wildlife conservation programs. These hot springs also boast a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence and are one of the best hot springs in La Fortuna.
Visitors are welcomed here in two batches, between 10 am and 4 pm and between 5 pm and 10 pm. A pass for one of these time slots will cost you around $40.
The Springs Resort and Spa, Arenal Region
Springs Resort and Spa, a luxury five-star Costa Rica hot springs resort, has one of the most spectacular views in the world and is hands down one of the best hot springs in Costa Rica. The establishment opened in 2008 and features 28 different hot springs on 165 acres of land.
With its own outdoor center, 10 bars and restaurants, 74 total rooms, there is enough to keep you busy here for days.
The resort features two main hot springs systems called Las Lagunas and Perdido Springs. Here, guests can enjoy waters up to 104°F and with superior chemical composition as shown by scientific testing performed at the resort.
If you’re interested in staying the night at The Springs, room rates start at $500/ night in the low season and can stretch up to $5,000/ night for a luxury suite in the high season. If you’re interested in simply visiting the hot springs without being a hotel guest, they offer a two-day ticket for $68 with the option to include lunch, dinner, guided tours, and a visit to their outdoor center.
Nayara Hot Springs, Arenal Region
The Nayara Springs Costa Rica is a boutique luxury destination. The location in Arenal is very secluded, creating a peaceful and intimate atmosphere at this adults-only resort. The five-star hotel not only has their stunning hot springs but also an award-winning spa and two giant infinity pools overlooking the jungle. The Nayara Springs Costa Rica has won numerous awards including the highest rated luxury hotel in the world from Trip Advisor in 2018.
This property is a little unique as it does not have natural hot springs on the resort property, but rather plunge pools and natural jacuzzis that are fed by thermal spring water. While lower tiered rooms don’t have access to them, rooms in the “Springs Villa” category have these plunge pools attached to their rooms. As a result, the only way to visit these hot springs is by staying in one of these luxury rooms. Rates start at $750/ night.
The Nayara Springs Costa Rica resort has a strong commitment to sustainability that is evident in everything they do. Not only do they support local community endeavours, but their entire resort is engineered to reduce energy consumption and limit waste. In particular, they use energy efficient light bulbs when natural light is not available and have multiple water systems in place to reduce wastewater.
The hotel also tends multiple gardens on the property designed to create the perfect habitat for native flora and fauna. This Costa Rica hot springs resort is truly as fancy as they come. It is certainly one of the best hot springs in Costa Rica if you are looking for a unique eco-lux experience.
Hot Springs in Northern Guanacaste, Costa Rica
The hot springs in Guanacaste are much more off the beaten path than the Arenal hot springs, but that doesn’t make them any less appealing! Hot springs tourism in Guanacaste is still quite new and there is little infrastructure to support it. This makes for a lot more intimate and local hot springs experience.
Although the Arenal hot springs are much more famous, the undiscovered nature of those in Guanacaste makes them some of the best hot springs in Costa Rica.
Miravalles Hot Springs
The striking Miravalles Volcano in Guanacaste serves as a lovely backdrop for a hot springs visit in Miravelles, located about an hour northeast of Liberia.
The volcano is inactive, but still provides an abundance of heat for the underground hot springs. You can find a number of low-key hot springs in the area as well as a luxury hot springs hotel.
For a more casual option, try going to the Las Hornillas Volcanic Activity Center. This private property allows you to take a walk through the most thermally active terrain around the Miravalles Volcano. Here, you can see mud bubbling in the ground and sulphuring vents dotting the landscape. You’ll also have a chance to use the mud for a do-it-yourself spa treatment and relax in the hot springs afterward.
If you want to visit the Miravalles hot springs with a trip to a resort, head to the Rio Perdido Resort and Spa. This hotel is located in a very remote corner of Miravalles, but that adds to the feeling of peace and serenity. There are eight hot springs on the property as well as a warm river you can swim in.
Rincon de la Vieja Hot Springs
Rincon de la Vieja National Park is located in the northwest corner of Costa Rica and is home to three volcanoes, two of which are active and one that is dormant. There are many hot springs inside the park as well as volcanic vents and geysers.
Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin is located inside Rincon de la Vieja National Park and is a great option if you are visiting the Costa Rica hot springs a budget. This cheerful resort also holds a third level Certification for Sustainable Tourism issued by the Costa Rican government. The majority of the food at the hotel is grown or raised either on the property itself or sustainably nearby. Their energy reduction efforts are impressive and include composting, heating tap water through solar power, and a high tech recycling system. They’re also involved in a reforestation project and hire only locals to work there.
There are 10 man-made hot springs on the property which were built to hold the waters of the Rio Negro. The springs are on either side of the river itself which you can cross using one of their hanging bridges.
Guachipelin offers a number of adventure activities such as rafting and zip lining as well as the hot springs. After a day of fun activities, come back to the hot springs to relax and rejuvenate. You can also try a volcano mud bath or other spa treatments. Entrance to the hot springs is free for guests and costs $20 for a day pass.
Hot Springs in Southern Costa Rica
Orosi Valley Hot Springs
The Orosi Valley is perhaps the most under-the-radar Costa Rica hot springs destination. There is very little tourist infrastructure here and it is comparatively undiscovered. Located about an hour’s drive southeast of San José this valley is home to the Irazu volcano.
Hacienda Orosi Termales is the best estate to visit in the area that has its own hot springs. There are two large ones on the property from which you can take in stunning views overlooking the valley.
The property is quite a new establishment and is the process of building even more pools for guests to enjoy. They offer three different packages, the first including a visit to the hot springs plus snacks, the second adding dinner or lunch, and the third adding breakfast. They cost $40, $65, and $75 respectively.
Visiting the hot springs in Costa Rica is an essential activity for first-time and returning visitors alike, and is the perfect way to relax and enjoy the “Pura Vida” that Costa Rica is known for.