Hot Springs Lodgings: Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa in Alajuela, Costa Rica
A luxury hotel in the shadow of Arenal Volcano features a series of pools—one equipped with slides—and waterfalls set amid tropical gardens. Lava streaming from the volcano may provide an after-dark show. Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, (877) 277-8291, from $245. This appeared in the December/January 2010 issue.
By Lisa Katayama, AFAR Contributor
Tabacón Grand Thermal Resort & Spa
The ground underneath this 900-acre tropical reserve, on the west side of Arenal Volcano, was once a marshland, its stream of thermal springs trampled under by decades of grazing cattle. Owner/architect Jaime Mikowski spent several years planting acres of native plants and coaxing the natural mineral springs into a river that now flows through the resort, spilling over dozens of waterfalls and into riverbed pools that range from 72 to 105 degrees. Rooms are spacious, especially the suites, which include Jacuzzi tubs (a little superfluous considering all the other options for soaking in warm water here, but who’s complaining?). There are also five swimming pools, including one with a swim-up bar and waterslide, and a spa comprising 12 bungalows with treatments that all include, you guessed it, a thermal spring-fed tub. While the property is also open to day visits, adult guests of the resort have exclusive access to Shangri-La Gardens and its pools and garden bar.
By Deb Hopewell, AFAR Contributor
Heavenly Hot Springs
Driving from Arenal Volcano to La Fortuna, we passed a lot of fancy, built-up hot spring resorts, but we were on the lookout for the stream that fed those resorts. Near the huge Tabacon resort, we saw cars parked along the road over a small bridge. We parked, hiked down under the bridge, and came upon this AMAZING hot spring river. It felt like sitting in a hot tub in a remote jungle, with the current acting like natural hot-tub jets. There were only a few others there, we happily would have spent the rest of our trip lounging in this hot river!
Hot Springs Cocktail Hour in Arenal, Costa Rica
The rainforest in Arenal, Costa Rica is already a mystical place with a looming Volcano as its backdrop; but when you can swim in a pool fed by the renowned hot springs of the area and can belly-up to its delightful pool bar for a cold Imperial beer, all while in a rainstorm, you know you are in a special place. This is the hot springs pool at The Tabacon Resort - A Leading Hotels of the World property. If you are staying at the hotel your access to this pool and its surrounding hot springs at no additional cost and can walk to it right from your room! Come and go as you please. If you are not staying at the hotel you can still visit for a small fee, but having the hot springs and its attractions at your fingertips throughout your stay in Arenal is the way to go!
Honeymoon Suite in the Rainforest of Costa Rica
Whether traveling to Costa Rica for your honeymoon or if you just want to experience sleeping in the rainforest surrounded by all the sights and sounds of its creatures (and rainfall!) you should consider booking the Honeymoon Suite at The Tabacon Resort (a Leading Hotels of the World property). This room was HUGE. It has a soaking bathtub, rainfall shower, separate changing room and top of the line entertainment system. Two walls of windows and sliding door allows the rainforest to almost come into the room. This room makes Arenal all that more magical. Oh - and on a clear day you have a full, unobstructed view of the Arenal Volcano from the room!
Hot Springs in Arenal
There are several hot springs in Arenal, but the hot springs accessible via The Tabacon Resort are the most rewarding! Visit the hot springs at The Tabacon and you can walk a maze of paths all along the streams and pools of hot springs, and hop in whenever and wherever you please. For adults, there is a private bar area, called Shangri-La, tucked high up into the meandering hot springs' paths that you may stumble upon. Go there to jump into the springs, be surrounded by rainforest and mist, and be brought a glass of vino by a delightful bartender while at it. Not too shabby!
Breakfast in Arenal at The Tabacon
There are two main restaurants at The Tabacon Resort, but for breakfast and dinner the Los Tucanes restaurant is the best all around. Overlooking one of Tabacon's hot springs-fed pools and offering a buffet breakfast or a-la-cart formal dinner you'll be able to indulge in both international dishes or traditional Costa Rican fare. I am not kidding when I say that the kiwi fruit served here is for some reason the best darn kiwi I have ever had! My husband concurs.
The most romantic place in Costa Rica
This is a real photo from an out of this world place. The Tabacon Resort in Arenal boasts by far the most expansive and beautiful hot springs in the area. There are many people coming to these springs so take some time to wander through the paths surrounding them to find your own private place to sit and take in the rainforest that surrounds you. If you are looking to get away from it all this is the place to do just that. Tabacon Resort guests have unlimited access the hot springs, but non hotel guests must buy a day pass. My suggestion is to stay at the fabulous Tabacon (A Leading Hotel of the World property) and hop in and out as you please.
Soak in Hot Springs Near Arenal
Visitors making a day trip to the Arenal Volcano National Park have plenty of options for activities beyond seeing the volcano itself. Hot springs and mud baths are other popular natural attractions, and they are particularly welcome experiences after a day of strenuous hiking in the national park. Several tour operators and sites offer access to the hot springs and mud pools; one of the most popular is Tabacón. Day passes or visits with a tour outfitter allow visitors access to the property's three thermal springs.
By Julie Schwietert Collazo, AFAR Local Expert
Noreste de Centro de la Fortuna de San Carlos 13 Km, Provincia de Alajuela, Arenal, Costa Rica