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The Best Arenal Hot Springs In Costa Rica: Comparing 7 Popular La Fortuna Hot Springs

The Best Arenal Hot Springs In Costa Rica: Comparing 7 Popular La Fortuna Hot Springs

NOTE: The content on this page was last updated on October 25th, 2017.

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Have a question about Costa Rica hot springs visits?

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THE ARENAL HOT SPRINGS IN LA FORTUNA COSTA RICA

So, you’ve decided to take a relaxing vacation to beautiful Costa Rica. Great! What better way is there to get some much deserved rest and rejuvenation than by soaking in thermal waters heated to therapeutic temperatures by a volcano, and, at the best Arenal hot springs at that? Sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Trust us, it feels even better than it sounds.

Given that Costa Rica is home to five active volcanoes, volcanic hot springs are a popular attraction. Although thermal water pools exist in various areas throughout the country, the majority (and certainly the most well-known) are located in the La Fortuna (Arenal) region, thanks to the nearby Arenal Volcano. Since most travellers opt to include a stop in La Fortuna throughout their trip (the area offers more to do and see than any other in the country), most travellers can easily add a visit to a local hot springs attraction to their itinerary without sacrificing precious and often limited vacation time.

Arenal hot springs
Who wouldn’t want a volcano view while relaxing in the hot springs at the swim-up bar?

WHAT ARE THE ARENAL HOT SPRINGS AND WHAT DO YOU DO WHILE THERE?

Scientifically speaking, hot springs are:

Geothermally heated mineral water initially fed by rain water that seeps into the Earth through faults and fractures. As it travels into the Earth, it becomes subject to increased energy from natural geothermal heat, and is exposed to gases and an often wide variety of minerals from rock and mineral deposits. The water first adsorbs the minerals via leaching, is then heated by the geothermal heat source, and finally returns to the Earth’s surface. This is the definition of Filtration Hot Springs, the most popular type of hot springs in Costa Rica. Primary Hot Springs are geothermally heated mineral water, where direct volcanic activity plays a far greater role in the process of the hot springs formation. One of the fundamental physical distinctions between a filtration spring and a primary spring is the mineral and gas content of the water, such as radon and bromide. Primary hot springs are often “powered” by magma chambers which exist miles under the Earth’s surface, as well as in volcanically active regions. [Source: Baldi Hot Springs]

From our position as Costa Rica tourism industry representatives and avid travellers, hot spring attractions are simply popular locales offering a relaxing spa-like experience among rainforest-inspired settings. What do you do there? Not much, although the experience is very rewarding (we recommend it highly); visitors sit in pools filled with thermal water and enjoy the soak. Each hot springs attraction offers a variety of pools to wade in (at varying water temperatures) and visitors are free to roam about the hot springs property hopping from pool to pool at their leisure. Beyond doing so, the Costa Rica hot springs experience encompasses little else. In fact, the activity downright forces travellers to sit and do absolutely nothing–something most individuals do not make enough time for during their everyday routine, which is part of the reason why Costa Rica hot springs visits are such a desired vacation treat. Of course, some hot spring sites offer different amenities than others, which makes narrowing down the many hot springs options a challenging feat. Fortunately, we’re here to provide you with as much information as possible to help you decide which Costa Rica hot springs attraction (specifically, which Arenal hot springs attraction) would be the best to visit.

Without further ado, here’s what you should know about seven of the most popular Arenal hot springs options located in the La Fortuna regions of Costa Rica (in no particular order): the Baldi Hot Springs, the Ecotermales Hot Springs, the Tabacon Hot Springs, the Springs Resort Hot Springs (a.k.a., Los Perdidos Hot Springs), the Paradise Hot Springs, the Kalambu Hot Springs, and Los Laureles Hot Springs.

THE BALDI HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Baldi Hot Springs?

Number of pools: 25
Water temperature range: 90 to 152 degrees fahrenheit
Additional amenities: 3 waterslides; aquatic playground
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: yes
Onsite accommodations: yes
Onsite sauna/steam room: yes
Operating hours: 9:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Sunday

Don’t miss our Baldi Hot Springs discounts:

Baldi Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Baldi Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (1968 Trail or Silencio Trail) with Baldi Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) & Baldi Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (1968 Trail or Silencio Trail) & Baldi Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

MAP OF THE BALDI HOT SPRINGS


THE ECOTERMALES HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Ecotermales Hot Springs?

Number of pools: 6
Water temperature range: 98 to 105 degrees fahrenheit
Additional amenities: complementary locker and towel use (no fee or deposit required)
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: no
Onsite accommodations: no
Onsite sauna/steam room: no
Operating hours: 10:00am to 9:00pm Monday through Sunday

Don’t miss our Ecotermales Hot Springs discounts:

Ecotermales Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Ecotermales Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (1968 Trail or Silencio Trail) with Ecotermales Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) & Ecotermales Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (1968 Trail or Silencio Trail) & Ecotermales Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

MAP OF THE ECOTERMALES HOT SPRINGS


THE TABACON HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Tabacon Hot Springs?

Number of pools: 5
Water temperature range: 77 to 122 degrees fahrenheit
Additional amenities: 1 waterslide
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: yes
Onsite accommodations: yes
Onsite sauna/steam room: yes
Operating hours: 10:00am to 10:00pm Monday through Sunday

MAP OF THE TABACON HOT SPRINGS


THE SPRINGS RESORT HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Springs Resort Hot Springs (also referred to as the Los Perdidos Hot Springs)?

Number of pools: 18
Water temperature range: 83 to 103 degrees fahrenheit
Additional amenities: 1 waterslide; the trail to the Los Perdidos Hot Springs (called the Heliconia Walk) is lined with 150 different species of flowering Heliconias; the Springs Resort Hot Springs pass includes access to the Springs Resort property’s onsite pools, hot springs, restaurants, and bars
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: yes
Onsite accommodations: yes
Onsite sauna/steam room: yes
Operating hours: the regular pools open at 8:00am and close at 11:00pm Monday through Sunday; the Los Perdidos Hot Springs open at 10:00am and close at 10:00pm Monday through Sunday

Don’t miss our Springs Resort Hot Springs discounts:

Springs Resort Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

2-Day Unlimited Springs Resort Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Club Rio (Springs Resort) Multi-Adventure Package (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Springs Resort Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (1968 Trail or Silencio Trail) with Springs Resort Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) & Springs Resort Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (1968 Trail or Silencio Trail) & Springs Resort Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

MAP OF THE SPRINGS RESORT HOT SPRINGS


THE PARADISE HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Paradise Hot Springs?

Number of pools: 7 + 1 jacuzzi
Water temperature range: 81 to 104 degrees fahrenheit
Additional amenities: hydromassage waterfalls; built-in underwater beds
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: yes
Onsite accommodations: yes
Onsite sauna/steam room: no
Operating hours: 11:00am to 9:00pm Monday through Sunday

Don’t miss our Paradise Hot Springs discounts:

Paradise Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Paradise Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) & Baldi Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

MAP OF THE PARADISE HOT SPRINGS


THE KALAMBU HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Kalambu Hot Springs?

Number of pools: 5
Water temperature range: TBD
Additional amenities: 4 waterslides; aquatic playground
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: no
Onsite accommodations: no
Onsite sauna/steam room: no
Operating hours: 10:00am to 6:00pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10:00am to 8:00pm on Fridays; 10:00am to 9:30pm on Saturdays and Sundays; closed Mondays and Tuesdays

Don’t miss our Kalambu Hot Springs discounts:

Kalambu Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

MAP OF THE KALAMBU HOT SPRINGS


THE LOS LAURELES HOT SPRINGS

The best Arenal hot springs: Are they the Los Laureles Hot Springs?

Number of pools: 9
Water temperature range: 77 to 113 degrees fahrenheit
Additional amenities: 4 waterslides; individual “ranchos” (picnic areas to dine and cook at); playground; soccer field, basketball court, and beach volleyball court
Onsite restaurant: yes
Onsite spa: yes
Onsite accommodations: camping only
Onsite sauna/steam room: no
Operating hours: 9:00am to 9:00pm Monday through Sunday

MAP OF THE LOS LAURELES HOT SPRINGS


SO, OUT OF THE VARIOUS LA FORTUNA HOT SPRINGS OPTIONS, WHICH ARENAL HOT SPRINGS ARE THE BEST?

As we’ve touched on in previous posts (The Best River For Rafting In Costa RicaWhich Costa Rica Hanging Bridges Are The Best? Comparing 4 Popular Hanging Bridge Sites In Arenal And Monteverde, and Which Costa Rica Zipline Is The Best? Comparing 6 Popular Canopy Tours In Arenal And Monteverde), when asked the question, “which Arenal hot springs are the best?”, it is impossible for us to identify one over the others in response without imposing our own bias. Throughout our experience working with clients from all over the world, we understand that each traveller (and the experience he/she is looking to have) is different. For this reason, we could not attempt to determine what is best for travellers (although we have drawn our own conclusion and answered the question for ourselves). What we can do, however, is provide travellers with the details needed to make smart trip planning choices for themselves, which is exactly what we aim to accomplish below by channeling our experience and knowledge into a list that identifies where we feel one (or two) hot spring attractions surpass its competitors according to a variety of factors.

Which hot springs is the biggest in terms of property size?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs (a.k.a. the Los Perdidos Hot Springs)

Which hot springs is the smallest in terms of property size?

The Ecotermales Hot Springs and the Paradise Hot Springs

Which hot springs is the biggest in terms of pool quantity?

The Baldi Hot Springs

Which hot springs is the smallest in terms of pool quantity?

The Tabacon Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the best meal (when included)?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs (served at the Tres Cascadas Restaurant)

Which hot springs offers a hot spring river (in addition to hot spring pools)?

The Tabacon Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the greatest pool variety?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the most intimate small group setting?

The Ecotermales Hot Springs and the Paradise Hot Springs

Which hot springs are best suited for adults?

The Ecotermales Hot Springs, the Paradise Hot Springs, and the Tabacon Hot Springs

Which hot springs are best suited for children?

The Kalambu Hot Springs and the Los Laureles Hot Springs

Which hot springs cater well to both adults and children?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs and the Baldi Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the greatest value (when comparing cost to experience)?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs (its higher-quality experience best warrants its high cost) and the Los Laureles Hot Springs (its low cost makes hot spring visits affordable to most travellers, even if high quality is sacrificed)

Which hot springs is the closest to downtown La Fortuna?

The Baldi Hot Springs and the Ecotermales Hot Springs (the two are located across the street from one another)

Which hot springs is the furthest from downtown La Fortuna?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs, followed by the Tabacon Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the highest quality experience (in terms of luxury and resort appeal)?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs, followed by the Tabacon Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the lowest quality experience (in terms of luxury and resort appeal)?

The Los Laureles Hot Springs and the Kalambu Hot Springs

Which hot springs offers the most authentic Costa Rican experience?

The Los Laureles Hot Springs (it is a La Fortuna hot springs attraction that caters to local residents; it is a popular site for Costa Rican family get-togethers/reunions and staff outings, however it is open to the public and foreign travellers are welcome to visit)

Which hot springs is the most expensive?

The Tabacon Hot Springs, followed by the Springs Resort Hot Springs

Which hot springs is the least expensive?

The Los Laureles Hot Springs, followed by the Kalambu Hot Springs, the Paradise Hot Springs, and the Baldi Hot Springs

COSTA RICA HOT SPRINGS RECOMMENDATIONS AND TIPS: IF YOU PLAN TO VISIT THE HOT SPRINGS IN COSTA RICA, KNOW THIS FIRST

The smaller the hot springs property, the faster it fills up

Smaller properties (such as the Ecotermales Hot Springs, the Paradise Hot Springs, and the Tabacon Hot Springs) are often forced to stick to their maximum capacity limits. This is especially true during the busy high season, when availability is limited. Keep in mind that during the busiest times of year, visiting a larger hot spring property can be an advantage in order to avoid sharing small pools with a multitude of other visitors. On the other hand, during less popular times of the year (please see our related blog post When Is The Best Time Of Year To Travel To Costa Rica? for an explanation of Costa Rica’s high, low, peak, and shoulder seasons), the smaller hot spring properties can provide a more intimate setting.

If you know in advance that you will love visiting the hot springs, consider choosing a La Fortuna hotel that offers thermal water pools onsite

There are a number of accommodation options in the area that offer this great amenity, and although we still recommend considering a visit to an additional hot springs attraction (such as the Springs Resort Hot Springs or the Tabacon Hot Springs) in order to obtain the full hot springs experience, accessing thermal water pools onsite at your accommodation can be the perfect way to end an exciting (and exhausting) adventure-filled day. Some of our favourite La Fortuna hotels that offer complimentary hot spring pool use (with a reservation for the accommodation) include the Arenal Springs Resort, El Silencio Del Campo, Arenal Manoa, Volcano Lodge, Royal Corin, Hotel Los Lagos, Montana De Fuego, Arenal Paraiso, Arenal Kokoro, and Arenal Kioro.

Don’t miss our related blog posts featuring La Fortuna and Arenal accommodations that offer hot springs onsite:

Arenal Hotel Recommendation: Arenal Springs Resort; A Romantic And Peaceful Sanctuary In La Fortuna/Arenal

Arenal Hotel Recommendation: Silencio Del Campo; A Rustic And Authentic Hideaway In La Fortuna/Arenal

Arenal Hotel Recommendation: Royal Corin; Luxury And Relaxation At Its Finest In La Fortuna/Arenal

The majority of Costa Rica hot springs properties include a buffet dinner (if/when a meal is included with the visit)

The Springs Resort Hot Springs is often an exception to this rule, as the Arenal hot springs property tends to offer an a la carte menu (the decision as to whether to serve a menu or a buffet is made by the resort on a day-to-day basis according to the number of visitors at the resort, however most often the dinner is provided via menu). As an extra bonus, the meal included with the hot springs pass at the Springs Resort is served at the property’s Tres Cascadas Restaurant–a breathtaking open-air dining facility providing an incredible volcano view.

Most Costa Rica hot springs properties will not allow visitors to eat dinner at their onsite restaurant while wearing bathing suit attire

Be sure to bring a dry change of clothes with you to use during your meal. You may also want to plan your hot spring visits around the hours that the meal is served, to avoid changing out of your bathing suit into dry clothes for the meal and then back into your bathing suit after eating (unless you wish to use the hot springs both before and afterwards).

Prefer to visit a different hot springs attraction than one of the most popular seven described above? Don’t miss our Los Lagos Hot Springs discounts:

Los Lagos Hot Springs Pass (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) with Los Lagos Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

Arenal Combo Tour with Hanging Bridges, La Fortuna Waterfall, Arenal Volcano Tour (Arenal Volcano National Park) & Los Lagos Hot Springs (La Fortuna/Arenal)

QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: Have you been to one of the Arenal hot springs in La Fortuna? Which one did you choose, why, and what did you think about your visit?

Pura vida!

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36 thoughts on “The Best Arenal Hot Springs In Costa Rica: Comparing 7 Popular La Fortuna Hot Springs”

  • We suggest throwing Los Lagos resort into the mix. We’ve stayed there twice. Affordable, great views of Arenal, cold and hot pools, slides, and a cool little terraced small pools section. We also visited Tabacon, which was fab but out of our price range for a stay. It’s nice tehy let you just visit the pools, though. We did that in combo with a jungle hike expedition.

    • aweekoraweekend –
      We 100% agree! Hotel Los Lagos is one of those up-and-coming attractions. We mention Hotel Los Lagos in the article above as one of a number of hotels in the La Fortuna/Arenal area that include hot springs on-site, however over the last little while the hotel has done a great job at marketing their hot springs as a separate attraction from the hotel itself. Visitors can now purchase a “pass” to the hot springs (as travellers can do for Baldi, Ecotermales, Tabacon,and the Springs Resort), unlike other hotels that opt to limit their on-site springs for guest use only. Hotel Los Lagos also has a cute frog farm on the premise (I’m sure you’re already aware of it from your previous visits!) which is great for kids. Thanks so much for the insight and tip! 🙂
      Pura vida!

    • LuAnn –
      Thanks so much for chiming in! I hope your visit to Tabacon was a pleasant one. I agree – it is great to be able to experiment and try new things. Let us know if/when you make it back to Costa Rica – we’d love to hear what you think about an alternative hot spring attraction, among other vacation experiences! 🙂
      Pura vida!

    • Ajay Rana –
      Thanks so much for the comment! Would love to visit India one day. If we’re ever in the region, we’ll check out the Softel Plaza thanks to your recommendation. 🙂
      Pura vida!

    • stephanieaguerrero –
      Oh my goodness! I can’t think of a better reason to escape dry New Mexico than to come visit Costa Rica’s hot springs! 🙂 The country is great for family travel too – perhaps your family will make it down one day! On a side note, we LOVE your motto: “real life should be better than fiction.”. Couldn’t agree more. All the best to you and your writing!
      Pura vida!

    • JF –
      We are so glad to hear it! Love to know that we inspire others to travel to beautiful Costa Rica. Of course, the gorgeous hot springs don’t hurt the cause, ha ha. Hope to see you in CR one day! 🙂
      Pura vida!

  • My husband and I visited El Tabacon in 2011 and absolutely loved it. The property is so lush and gorgeous; very romantic! We recommended Tabacon to a friend who visited last year and he loved it just as much. We would love to return one day.

    • indiabeeyoga –
      That is great to hear! Thanks so much for taking a moment to share your opinions with us and other Costa Rica travellers. So glad to know that you enjoyed your time at Tabacon – it does tend to be one of the favourites, so it is no surprise that your friend loved his visit too! Hope to see you back in Costa Rica one day! 🙂
      Pura vida!

  • I visited CR about 9 years ago. At that time we stopped at a small place that had a minimal entrance fee to get into the heated river (not pools). I remember it was affordable and nice but not too fancy. They had paved sidewalks and some natural pools but it was pretty much the river…I also remember a few wooden plaques describing plants and lizzards and “Jesus lizzards” would run across the water. I’ve looked at the pics of the places you have here but they don’t seem to look like the place I visited before. Does this ring a bell? I’d like to return there if it’s still open when I visit in a few weeks. 🙂

    • Shay –
      Great question! Was the heated river that you stopped at in the La Fortuna/Arenal region? Or in another part of Costa Rica altogether? In this post we touch on some of the popular hot spring options in the La Fortuna/Arenal area however others do exist throughout the country so those you visited could be located in one of a number of areas. I’d love to help you narrow down the search – perhaps we can start by trying to figure out if you visited the La Fortuna/Arenal region or a different area during your last trip.
      Pura vida!

      • Thanks for the response! I thought it was this area…I remember crossing a lake in a boat to get to the town we were staying in. While there we did zip lining in Monteverde at Aventura and also visited the river I described above.

      • Just returned from our trip. I spoke with the girl at our hotel and she said there are more regulations now and the place we’d gone to before is closed (only the places you list here are open now). We decided to just get in the river below Tabacon for free and it was great!! The trail is easy to find (cab driver knew right where we wanted to go and told us where to walk down) and easy to follow to find the best place to get in. We had the place to ourselves and it was so beautiful and relaxing. I highly recommend it!!!

      • Shay –
        Thanks so much for reporting back! After receiving your second-last comment we left some messages with colleagues in the Monteverde area to ask their opinion. We are familiar with the hot spring sites/rivers in the La Fortuna/Arenal region, however after receiving your comment that explained that you had crossed the lake and visited the hot springs river while also ziplining in Monteverde, I was stumped as to where you might have had a hot spring experience there since most hot spring experiences are located in/around the La Fortuna area given that it is home to the Arenal Volcano (and/or in other areas of the country where volcanoes are present). Now that you have reported back that you visited the river by Tabacon (just outside of La Fortuna), things entirely make sense! What likely happened on your last trip was that you either visited La Fortuna/Arenal and the hot springs river there first followed by a trip across the lake on to Monteverde where you ziplined (or vice versa) and I am 99.99% sure that the river you visited was indeed in the La Fortuna (not Monteverde) area. Given the description of the specific site you visited during your most recent trip (as provided in your most recent comment), I believe I know the exact location you visited. In fact, we wrote a separate blog post about the site a few years back – was this the spot you visited during this past trip? https://costaricatravelblog.com/free-hot-springs-la-fortuna/
        Pura vida! 🙂

  • we want to visit to CR. for 3 weeks. We love hot springs, We want to spend our time on hot springs.Can you give me recommendations for p;lace where We can eat, sleep and enjoy in hot springs

    • robin –
      We love hot springs too! These exist in areas where there are volcanoes nearby, and hands down the two most popular areas in Costa Rica (where hot springs are a highlight) are the La Fortuna and Rincon De La Vieja areas. The Rincon De La Vieja area is quite remote, and since you mentioned that you would like to visit a place with hot springs where you can eat and sleep, we would recommend the La Fortuna/Arenal area given its multitude of accommodation and dining options available. Of course, if your vacation time, itinerary, and budget permit, you could always plan to visit both regions during your trip (which are an approximate 4-4.5 hour drive from one another). 🙂
      Pura vida!

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