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The below post is the first part of a two-part series about the Springs Resort.
For the purpose of our series, the Springs Resort property has been divided into two sections:
#1. The Club Rio Outdoor Center (i.e. everything below the “Club Rio” logo noted on the below property map)
#2. The Springs Resort Hot Springs, including the hotel, facilities, and hot spring pools (i.e., everything above the “Club Rio” logo noted on the below property map)
[CONTINUE READING BELOW FOR] COSTA RICA’S SPRINGS RESORT SERIES – PART 1: THE CLUB RIO OUTDOOR CENTER
If you have read our blog post The Best Hot Springs In La Fortuna/Arenal, Costa Rica: Baldi, Ecotermales, Tabacon, or the Springs Resort? it may not come as a surprise that we think highly of the Springs Resort. What did surprise us, however, is how much we fell head over heels for the “resort” experience upon our most recent visit. As we have touched on in past posts, Ricky and I are hardly fancy travellers; we feel like fish out of water every time we need to trade in our chillax characters and comfort zone for luxury and all things sophisticated, so you can imagine how shocked we were to find ourselves with looks of elation on our faces while we basked like ballers at one of La Fortuna’s highest quality accommodations.
“Like the perfectly matched and enduring duo of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Club Rio is part calm, svelte, and high class, and part giddy, fun, and class clown. In other words, the outdoor center is a well-crafted example of how opposites can attract and create one heck of a staple power couple.”
~ Nikki & Ricky,
Costa Rica Travel Blog
Although we touch on many of the finer and more relaxing perks of visiting the Springs Resort’s hot springs in part two of our blog series (for information about our time at the Springs Resort hot springs see our related blog post Costa Rica’s Springs Resort Series – Part 2: The Springs Resort Hot Springs), the property’s newest onsite adventure park (titled the “Club Rio Outdoor Center”, or “Club Rio” for short) is in a league of its own. Like the perfectly matched and enduring duo of Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Club Rio is part calm, svelte, and high class, and part giddy, fun, and class clown. In other words, the outdoor center is a well-crafted example of how opposites can attract and create one heck of a staple power couple.
Built as a stand alone adventure park within the confines of the Springs Resort’s property, Club Rio provides an opportunity for visitors/residents of the La Fortuna region AND Springs Resort hotel guests/hot spring day pass visitors to participate in a variety of adventure tours. Fortunately for travellers, since Club Rio is open to the public and its use is not limited to hotel guests or day pass visitors, this means that the Springs Resort’s tour offerings are as widely available and easily accessible as other La Fortuna tours. Unfortunately for travellers, the same means that tourism in La Fortuna is now more competitive than ever before, and the decision to select a few tours and activities over others to participate in while in the region is proving more and more difficult to make.
CLUB RIO MULTI-ADVENTURE PACKAGES AND TOUR LOGISTICS
Visits to Club Rio are sold as multi-adventure packages which allow travellers to choose two of the resort’s five onsite activity offerings:
- River Tubing
- River Kayaking
- Horseback Riding
- Rock Climbing
In addition to selecting two of the above five activities, the package includes transportation to/from the Springs Resort’s lobby/reception to Club Rio, lunch (served at Club Rio’s “Rancho Club Rio” restaurant), access to the river and hot springs surrounding Club Rio, and entry to the Springs Resort’s main building for the entire day where additional hot springs, pools, restaurants, and bars may be enjoyed. Transportation to/from La Fortuna and area hotels is not automatically included with the package but it can be provided by the Springs Resort at an extra cost.
- Travellers who purchase a Springs Resort hot springs day pass do not automatically receive the Club Rio Multi-Adventure package with their purchase. However, travellers who purchase the Club Rio Multi-Adventure package automatically receive a Springs Resort hot springs day pass with their purchase. If you have no interest in visiting Club Rio and participating in the adventure center’s onsite tours and activities, and if your interest is to relax at the Springs Resort’s hot spring pools only, then the Springs Resort day pass would be the best choice for you. Alternatively, if two of Club Rio’s onsite tours and activities interest you, and you plan to visit a hot springs attraction during your time in La Fortuna, consider purchasing the Club Rio Multi-Adventure Package; doing so will not only allow you to participate in the two tours or activities that interest you, but you will also receive access to the Springs Resort hot springs for free.
THE SPRINGS RESORT’S CLUB RIO OUTDOOR CENTER
Although Club Rio is located on the Springs Resort’s property, it is situated down a steep slope of approximately 1.6 kilometers. For this reason, a quick ten-minute ride (each way) in the Springs Resort’s onsite shuttle is required to get to and from the river where Club Rio’s hub is located. The following are the shuttle’s departure times (as of the writing of this post):
- Shuttle to river departs from reception lobby: 8:45am, 9:15am, 9:45am, 10:15am, 10:45am, 11:15am, 11:45am, 12:15pm, 12:45pm, 1:15pm, 1:45pm, 2:15pm, 2:45pm, 3:15pm, and 3:45pm
- Shuttle from river back to reception portico departs from Club Rio: 9:05am, 9:35am, 10:05am, 10:35am, 11:05am, 11:35am, 12:05pm, 12:35pm, 1:05pm, 1:35pm, 2:05pm, 3:05pm, 3:35pm, 4:05pm, and 4:35pm
At the hub, travellers will find a reception area for tour check-in, bathrooms, and the Rancho Club Rio restaurant. If you have arrived just in time to participate in the first of your two tours, friendly folks at the reception will direct you where to go to meet your guide and/or collect any gear you may need for the activity. If you have arrived well in advance of your first tour’s start time, you may pass your free time walking along the river, hiking the “Calcium Canyon” trail to the Springs Resort’s noted Guacimo tree, soaking in one of Club Rio’s five designated hot spring areas (nine pools in total, each of which is separate from the Springs Resort’s main building hot springs and its Los Perdidos hot springs), swimming in the river at the tubing tour take-out spot (located just below the “Oasis Springs”), having a beverage at the restaurant’s bar, or simply taking in the view of your surroundings while resting in a lounge chair scattered along the river’s edge.
PROPERTY AND POOLS
Knowing the Springs Resort’s main building and Los Perdidos hot springs well, we were pleasantly surprised to learn that Club Rio is home to a handful of additional hot springs itself. These hot springs allow Club Rio participants to spend time before, between, and after their scheduled tours in a variety of pools separate from those most often visited by hotel guests and day pass visitors. We spent the majority of our free time at Club Rio under the waterfall at the second-level “Oasis Springs”, and we were spoiled with warmer temperatures and ultimate privacy at the “Ojo de Agua”. Adventurists looking for a more challenging hike (and even greater hot spring privacy) will find it upon a visit to the “Serenity Springs”. Families and groups visiting Club Rio together will benefit from the size of the “Formation Springs”, and visitors interested in relaxing by the river, watching tubing tour participants float in upon the conclusion of their activity, would be best to soak in the “Rio Vista Springs”.
TOURS AND ACTIVITIES
As noted above, Club Rio offers travellers the option to participate in river tubing, river kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, and hiking activities onsite. With the exception of the hiking activity, each requires very little walking; the horseback riding and rock climbing tours take place very close to Club Rio’s reception area, and shuttle transportation to the river put-in location is provided for the tubing and kayaking activities. Each activity is designed to last approximately one hour, and if you’re lucky, you’ll have one of the below-pictured two goofballs as your tour guide. Roberto (pictured to the left of Ricky) and Chepa (pictured to the right of Ricky) are longtime friends of ours; more importantly, they are fantastic people.
Club Rio also offers visitors the option to tour their onsite wildlife sanctuary (approximately one hour) and/or participate in a wild cat feeding tour (approximately ninety minutes). Guided tours are required and may be booked in advance through the Springs Resort, upon arrival at the Springs Resort in the main building’s lobby, or upon arrival at Club Rio at the reception area. Neither tour cost is included in the cost of the multi-adventure package. The following are the wildlife sanctuary tour times (as of the writing of this post):
- Wildlife sanctuary tour: 9:00am, 10:00am, 11:00am, 12:00pm, 1:00pm, 2:00pm, 3:00pm, and 4:00pm
- Wild cat feeding tour: 3:15pm
Our visit to the Springs Resort’s wildlife sanctuary (and other similar centers throughout Costa Rica) inspired us to write a separate blog post that explains the use and practice of wildlife rescue centers around the country; stay tuned for a more detailed article on this topic. In the meantime, feel free to browse below through some of the photos we captured at Club Rio’s sanctuary featuring toucans, crocodiles, pumas, ocelots, macaws, sloths, bats, and monkeys. If you choose to visit, please respect the inhabitants of your surroundings by refraining from talking loudly, banging on glass, shaking fences, and feeding the animals. We would also advise you to keep your hands free of the wildlife enclosures for your own safety; our sanctuary guide Victor introduced us to one feisty (yet lovable) Titi-troublemaker aptly nicknamed Mike Tyson due to his quick jabs and reflexes, and we learned of many accounts where visitors lost belongings such as small cameras as a result of Iron Mike’s grabby fingers beating them to the punch.
HOW TO ENVISION YOUR DAY AT CLUB RIO
The combination of Club Rio and the Springs Resort warrants an entire day’s visit. If you are looking for a day that combines a few low-key activities with maximum relaxation, our best recommendation would be to schedule your two multi-adventure package activities for the morning or early afternoon so both–and lunch–can be enjoyed at Club Rio, followed by an afternoon (and evening, if you decide to stay that long) spent at the Springs Resort’s principal hot springs and pools located at the main building and Los Perdidos. However, if your time in La Fortuna is limited, a half-day visit is possible. If part of your day must be shared with another La Fortuna half-day tour (not offered through the Springs Resort), consider scheduling your other tour for the morning and saving your two multi-adventure package activities for the afternoon. This way, you will still be able to make use of the Springs Resort’s other hot springs and pools during the evening until the property closes to the public at 10:00pm.
- The Springs Resort is located an approximate twenty-five-minute drive from downtown La Fortuna. Check-in at the Springs Resort’s lobby takes approximately five to ten minutes, the shuttle ride from the Springs Resort to Club Rio takes another ten, and check-in at Club Rio another five. Since Club Rio’s shuttle service only runs at set times daily, it is best to plan your day’s itinerary with this in mind. For example, if your first Club Rio activity starts at 11:00am and you plan to drive to the Springs Resort from downtown La Fortuna, we would recommend getting on the road no later than 10:00am. This will ensure you have enough time to travel between La Fortuna and the Springs Resort, check-in at the resort, travel between the Springs Resort’s main building and Club Rio on the 10:45am shuttle, and check-in at Club Rio just in time for your tour’s start. If you would prefer to give yourself more time, depart from La Fortuna earlier in the day, take one of the Springs Resort’s earlier shuttles to Club Rio, and enjoy their onsite amenities while waiting for your tour to start.
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to Club Rio? Which two onsite activities did you choose to participate in and what did you think of the experiences?
Don’t miss our Club Rio and Springs Resort Hot Springs discounts:
Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park), & Springs Resort Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)
If you’re more of a visual learner, take a moment to view our gallery photos below from our most recent visit to Club Rio.