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Best Hot Springs In Arenal: We Compare All 12 La Fortuna Hot Springs

Best Hot Springs In Arenal: We Compare All 12 La Fortuna Hot Springs

Last updated on June 26th, 2021 at 12:11 pm EST

Do you want to know our pick for the BEST HOT SPRINGS in Costa Rica? It is featured on DIY Costa Rica!
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Our sister site, Pura Vida! eh? Inc., has hot springs pass discounts. Con mucho gusto (you’re welcome) and pura vida!
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click on a photo in the gallery above for discount and tour information

We’ve experienced all 12 La Fortuna hot springs!

So, you’ve decided to take a relaxing vacation to beautiful Costa Rica. Great! There’s no better way to pamper yourself than by soaking in rejuvenating thermal waters direct from a volcano. Letting go of stress and allowing your muscles to relax while resting in the steamy pools is easy. Choosing the best Arenal hot springs, however, is easier said than done.

Costa Rica is home to five active volcanoes so it’s no surprise that volcano-fed hot springs are one of the country’s most popular attractions. Thermal-water pools and rivers exist in various areas around Costa Rica (including the Rincon de la Vieja, Orosi, and Chirripo vicinities), but the most well-known hot springs are spread out around the foothills of the Arenal Volcano, just west of the town of La Fortuna.

As one of Costa Rica’s most popular tourist destinations, you may already be planning to visit La Fortuna during your trip (don’t miss our related blog post: Must-Know Info About La Fortuna Costa Rica From Longtime Residents). If so, you’ll be pleased to learn that fitting in a visit to one or more of the area’s famous hot springs properties is a quick and easy task to accomplish.

Best Arenal Hot Springs Quiz

Short on time? Take our quick quiz to find out which La Fortuna hot springs property you should visit.

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About the Arenal Hot Springs

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. There isn’t much to do at any hot springs property in Costa Rica, but that’s part of their appeal. Hot springs encourage complete relaxation, which may be exactly what you need after a long flight or bus ride, a strenuous hike, or a hectic day full of back-to-back adventures.

It’s important to realize that each La Fortuna hot springs attraction is different. Most offer a variety of pools to wade in, each one a different temperature, and you’re welcome to hop between pools as you please. Some properties are large and luxurious; others are small and budget-friendly. Amenities, such as meals, towels, and access to lockers, are included at some properties and are paid for as extras at others. A few properties have bonus features that add to the overall experience, including great customer service, swim-up bars, and in-pool waterfalls you can wade under.

Sorting through the various Arenal hot springs options, especially if you’re in search of the best Arenal hot springs, can be time-consuming. Fortunately, we can help. This article addresses everything you should know about the 12 Arenal hot springs options located in the La Fortuna area of Costa Rica, which include:

  • Baldi Hot Springs
  • EcoTermales Hot Springs
  • Tabacon Hot Springs
  • Springs Resort Hot Springs (a.k.a., Los Perdidos Hot Springs)
  • Paradise Hot Springs
  • Titoku Hot Springs
  • Los Lagos Hot Springs
  • Kalambu Hot Springs
  • Los Laureles Hot Springs
  • Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs
  • Termo Arenal Hot Springs
  • Rio Chollin Hot Springs (a.k.a., Mini-Tabacon)

Baldi Hot Springs

The information below is an excerpt from our review of the Baldi Hot Springs. To learn more about the Baldi Hot Springs, including their location, accessibility, hours, price range, size/design, popularity, atmosphere, pools/rivers, towels/lockers, dining opportunities, accommodation/parking offerings, and reservation requirements, as well as who should/shouldn’t visit the Baldi Hot Springs and the rating we give the property overall, please see our related blog post:

Baldi Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

*****

The Baldi Hot Springs is one of the most visited hot springs properties in La Fortuna. As one of the first hot springs attractions to be built in town, they’re well known to locals and return travelers. They’re also easy to spot along the main road that skirts around the Arenal Volcano (Road 142) thanks to the property’s large, showy, roofed entrance. Beyond the entrance, there’s plenty that draws visitors in, including 25 thermal-water pools, a sauna/steam room, a Jacuzzi, restaurants, bars, and an interactive kids’ play zone. This is one of the largest and most developed hot springs attractions in Costa Rica, not to mention the one with the most animated vibe.

Part of the appeal of the Baldi Hot Springs is that it’s a place where you can kick back and relax in therapeutic thermal water while conversing with friends or loved ones. If you’re looking for small, quiet, natural-feeling pools you can hole up in for a few hours, Baldi may not be the place for you. This being said, though the Baldi Hot Springs is loved in part for its lively ambiance that caters to social groups, it still provides several calm and intimate-feeling areas that offer pockets of privacy and encourage peaceful relaxation. As you might expect, since the Baldi Hot Springs delivers a multitude of experiences, it attracts all kinds of travelers.

Don’t miss our discounts for the Baldi Hot Springs:

Click here to access the Baldi hot springs discounts!

EcoTermales Hot Springs

The information below is an excerpt from our review of the EcoTermales Hot Springs. To learn more about the EcoTermales Hot Springs, including their location, accessibility, hours, price range, size/design, popularity, atmosphere, pools/rivers, towels/lockers, dining opportunities, accommodation/parking offerings, and reservation requirements, as well as who should/shouldn’t visit the EcoTermales Hot Springs and the rating we give the property overall, please see our related blog post:

EcoTermales Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

*****

Since 2002, the EcoTermales Hot Springs have been helping La Fortuna locals and visitors reap the rejuvenating rewards of thermal-water soaks. When Ricky and I first started living in La Fortuna, this property was one of only three operating hot springs attractions in town, its only major competitors being the luxe Tabacon Hot Springs (which was significantly more expensive) and the large Baldi Hot Springs (which rivaled EcoTermales in price). Everyone looking to relax at a small hot springs property that wouldn’t dent the wallet ended up at the EcoTermales Hot Springs. Us included.

Now that the Arenal area offers several hot springs attractions that vary in quality and cost, visitors can be more particular about choosing the type of hot springs experience they want to have and sticking to their hot springs budget. If you’re looking for a lively and social space where you can kick back and relax in therapeutic thermal water while conversing with friends or loved ones, EcoTermales may not be the place for you. Part of the appeal of the EcoTermales Hot Springs is that it offers a small property with quiet, natural-feeling pools you can hole up in for a few hours. Though a few other (less expensive) hot springs options in La Fortuna provide the same, the EcoTermales Hot Springs, who have managed to maintain much of their initial monopoly despite the development of competing sites (and arguably inflated rates), remain a popular choice.

Don’t miss our discounts for the EcoTermales Hot Springs:

Click here to access the EcoTermales hot springs discounts!

Tabacon Hot Springs

The information below is an excerpt from our review of the Tabacon Hot Springs. To learn more about the Tabacon Hot Springs, including their location, accessibility, hours, price range, size/design, popularity, atmosphere, pools/rivers, towels/lockers, dining opportunities, accommodation/parking offerings, and reservation requirements, as well as who should/shouldn’t visit the Tabacon Hot Springs and the rating we give the property overall, please see our related blog post:

Tabacon Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

*****

If you’ve already conducted a bit of research on hot springs options in La Fortuna, you’ve no doubt already heard of the Tabacon Hot Springs. They’re easily one of the most well-known and well-loved hot springs attractions in all of Costa Rica. They also come with one of the highest price tags for hot springs passes, which may have you asking yourself: “What’s so great about the Tabacon Hot Springs?” and “Are they worth the added expense?”

It’s important we clarify some ambiguous information. Through several sources are quick to (erroneously) state that the attraction is Arenal’s only natural hot springs, the more accurate statement is: the Tabacon Hot Springs are the only hot springs attraction in the Arenal area that has a non-pumped (i.e., free-flowing) hot spring river. Like most other hot springs attractions in La Fortuna, the Tabacon Hot Springs also has man-made hot spring pools.

To confirm, all hot springs attractions in La Fortuna are “natural” in the sense that they deliver mineral-rich thermal water that comes from the Arenal Volcano. Some hot springs in La Fortuna pump that water up from the ground into pools. Hot spring pools at inexpensive attractions often resemble swimming pools and hot spring pools at more expensive attractions tend to look like elegant lagoons. A few hot springs attractions around Arenal have a series of connected pools you can soak in where thermal water flows freely from one pool to the next. The Tabacon Hot Springs is one such attraction. What makes the Tabacon Hot Springs unique, however, is that its thermal water reaches the property from above the ground (via a mountain-fed river) as opposed to below the ground (via a pump that taps into an underground spring).

It’s important to reiterate that the non-pumped (i.e., free-flowing) hot spring river at the Tabacon Hot Springs is just that: a river. Though the shape of its in-river pools was created in part with concrete, the majority of the river isn’t artificial. It’s edged by slippery rocks, it has a stony bottom that can sometimes feel slimy (use of water shoes is recommended), and it’s full of fast-moving water. If you’d prefer to visit an attraction with hot springs that are easy to slip into, relax in, and climb out of, you may want to rethink spending extra money on Tabacon. If you’re in search of a paradisaical hot springs experience that invites you to be at one with nature, the raw oasis you’ll find at the Tabacon Hot Springs is unmatched elsewhere in the region.

Springs Resort Hot Springs

The information below is an excerpt from our review of the Springs Resort Hot Springs. To learn more about the Springs Resort Hot Springs, including their location, accessibility, hours, price range, size/design, popularity, atmosphere, pools/rivers, towels/lockers, dining opportunities, accommodation/parking offerings, and reservation requirements, as well as who should/shouldn’t visit the Springs Resort Hot Springs and the rating we give the property overall, please see our related blog post:

Springs Resort Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

*****

If you’ve been researching La Fortuna hot springs options for a while, chances are you’ve already come across the Springs Resort Hot Springs (sometimes cited as the Los Perdidos Hot Springs). Not only are the Springs Resort Hot Springs the largest and one of the most well-known hot springs attractions in the Arenal area, but they also provide one of the best (if not the best, depending on who you ask) hot springs experiences you can have in Costa Rica. Though the resort sits a 10-to-15-minute drive away from all of the other hot spring sites you could choose to visit, there’s plenty to lure you to the property, including 25 thermal-water pools, a Jacuzzi, restaurants, bars, and an outdoor center that runs a few on-site adventure tours. If you have several wants on your hot springs checklist, including peaceful, lagoon-like hot springs; delicious food and drinks; a beautiful and clean property that delivers comfort and class; the option to participate in on-site tours and activities; and great value for your money, look no further than the Springs Resort Hot Springs.

Don’t miss our discounts for the Springs Resort Hot Springs:

Click here to access the Springs Resort hot springs discounts!

Paradise Hot Springs

The information below is an excerpt from our review of the Paradise Hot Springs. To learn more about the Paradise Hot Springs, including their location, accessibility, hours, price range, size/design, popularity, atmosphere, pools/rivers, towels/lockers, dining opportunities, accommodation/parking offerings, and reservation requirements, as well as who should/shouldn’t visit the Paradise Hot Springs and the rating we give the property overall, please see our related blog post:

Paradise Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

*****

Living in La Fortuna, I remember when the Paradise Hot Springs opened its doors in 2011. At the time, the property seemed to promise a different kind of hot springs experience, or at least that was the buzz going around town. It had only four major hot springs properties to compete with in the area—the Baldi Hot Springs, the EcoTermales Hot Springs, the Tabacon Hot Springs, and the Springs Resort Hot Springs—and it was unique. It was a small and quiet place to enjoy soaking in some thermal-water pools void of the popularity of the Baldi and EcoTermales, and without the cost (and subsequent luxurious touches) of Tabacon and the Springs Resort. It was the Goldilocks in La Fortuna’s tale of touristic hot spring offerings: it was just right.

Fast-forward to the La Fortuna of today, home to at least 12 independent hot springs sites, and you may have guessed that the Paradise Hot Springs now competes with several other hot spring properties for visitors. A few other hot springs properties provide a similar experience to the Paradise Hot Springs by catering to travelers who can’t afford to visit the best hot springs in town but who don’t want to settle for the worst hot springs either. If you’re looking for a decent middle-of-the-road option that provides a hot springs experience that’s considered average for La Fortuna, though the Paradise Hot Springs isn’t your only option, it’s one worth considering.

Don’t miss our discounts for the Paradise Hot Springs:

Click here to access the Paradise hot springs discounts!

Titoku Hot Springs

The Titoku Hot Springs property is a bit unique in that it’s considered the off-site hot springs of Arenal Kioro, a resort-quality hotel in the La Fortuna region. Despite being used almost entirely by hotel guests, the Titoku Hot Springs attraction is open to the public. Choose to go and you’ll find yourself enjoying one of the Arenal area’s smallest, quietest, and most colorful hot springs properties.

Los Lagos Hot Springs

The information below is an excerpt from our review of the Los Lagos Hot Springs. To learn more about the Los Lagos Hot Springs, including their location, accessibility, hours, price range, size/design, popularity, atmosphere, pools/rivers, towels/lockers, dining opportunities, accommodation/parking offerings, and reservation requirements, as well as who should/shouldn’t visit the Los Lagos Hot Springs and the rating we give the property overall, please see our related blog post:

Los Lagos Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

*****

The Los Lagos Hot Springs property is one of La Fortuna’s most popular hot springs, no doubt in part due to the attraction’s affordable hot springs pass. Though the Los Lagos Hot Springs aren’t the least expensive hot springs property in La Fortuna, the hot springs pass at Los Lagos buys access to a collection of hot springs and cold-water pools adorned with small waterfalls and waterslides, plus free entrance to a few on-site wildlife exhibits. If you’re looking for good value (and not much else), the Los Lagos Hot Springs provides it.

Kalambu Hot Springs

If you’re looking to get more than just relaxation out of a hot springs visit, the Kalambu Hot Springs may be the place for you. This water park (complete with hot springs) opened in 2014 and redefined what a hot springs experience around La Fortuna can be, throwing adrenaline and fun into the mix. Great for adults and children, there is a lot to thrill you here, including giant, curvy waterslides; raft-run waterslides; and a splash pad with a dump bucket and kiddie slides; plus a handful of tropical-feeling pools to remind you that the Kalambu Hot Springs is technically an Arenal Hot Springs property.

Los Laureles Hot Springs

Whenever Ricky and I host Costa Rican family members or friends in La Fortuna, we usually end up at the unpretentious Los Laureles Hot Springs. Locals (us included) love its affordable pricing, laid-back vibe, and on-site ranchos that that provide clean spots for picnicking. By no means is the Los Laureles Hot Springs a luxurious or romantic hot springs attraction, but if all you and your travel companions want is an inexpensive and comfortable place to spread out and enjoy a variety of hot spring pools, this place should do the trick. Waterslides and on-site sports facilities (a soccer field, a basketball court, and a beach volleyball court) keep kids and active adults happy.

Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs

If you research La Fortuna’s various hot springs attractions, especially budget-friendly, economy attractions, you’re bound to come across the Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs. In our opinion, this Arenal Hot Springs option, which has one of the cheapest hot springs passes you can buy, is the lower-quality version of the Los Laureles Hot Springs; it strives to provide a place where you can swim, relax, and picnic, though the quality of its facilities and pools isn’t great. One thing that the Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs has that the Los Laureles Hot Springs does not is a dense-feeling property full of tall palms. This helps deliver an experience that feels like you’re soaking in (man-made) pools among a forest.

Termo Arenal Hot Springs

The Termo Arenal Hot Springs are the latest Arenal Hot Springs property to open in La Fortuna. They’re also the least expensive hot springs pass you can buy in the region right now, and the old adage “you get what you pay for” applies here. In terms of overall quality (cleanliness, pool/property design, and privacy included), the Termo Arenal Hot Springs ranks at the bottom of the list. To be fair, the property isn’t yet finished, so perhaps future developments will shape it up a bit. For the time being, we’d only recommend choosing the Termo Arenal Hot Springs if its price tag is the maximum amount you can afford.

Rio Chollin Hot Springs (Mini-Tabacon)

To learn more about the Rio Chollin Hot Springs, please see our related blog post:

Local Free Hot Springs In La Fortuna / Arenal

*****

In a league of its own is the Rio Chollin Hot Springs, which isn’t an official hot springs attraction, rather an extension of the free-flowing hot spring river that runs throughout the property of the Tabacon Hot Springs. The publicly accessible section of the river, which falls outside the private property of Tabacon, is what’s known as Rio Chollin and is nicknamed Tabaconcito, mini-Tabacon, and Arenal’s free hot springs. Though the Rio Chollin Hot Springs don’t offer the same kind of hot springs experience that other hot springs in La Fortuna do (safety, for example, is sacrificed here), they’re worth mentioning because they’re technically an Arenal Hot Springs option.

La Fortuna hot springs map

La Fortuna hot springs comparison: Which Arenal hot springs are the best?

We realize that it’s impossible for us to pick “the best” of anything without imposing our own biases on you. So, instead of picking favorites that may or may not tickle your fancy, we’ll help you determine for yourself which of the 12 La Fortuna hot springs described above would be the best to visit based on your own interests, needs, and budget. Below, we outline the best Arenal hot springs property to go with according to several factors.

Property size

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

The Baldi Hot Springs and the Springs Resort Hot Springs (a.k.a., the Los Perdidos Hot Springs) are the biggest hot springs properties in La Fortuna.

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

The Rio Chollin Hot Springs (a.k.a., Mini-Tabacon), the Termo Arenal Hot Springs, the Titoku Hot Springs, the Los Lagos Hot Springs, and the EcoTermales Hot Springs are the smallest hot springs properties in La Fortuna.

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

The Baldi Hot Springs and the Springs Resort Hot Springs.

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

The Termo Arenal Hot Springs and the Titoku Hot Springs.

Meal options

Which hot springs offer the best meal?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs (meals are typically served at the Tres Cascadas Restaurant) and the Tabacon Hot Springs (meals are typically served at the Ave del Paraiso Restaurant) provide the highest quality meals.

Style and design

Which hot springs offer a thermal-water river in addition to hot spring pools?

The Tabacon Hot Springs; it’s the only hot springs attraction in the Arenal area that has a non-pumped (i.e., free-flowing) hot spring river in addition to man-made hot spring pools.

Though entirely man-made, the EcoTermales Hot Springs provides a sequential line of pools that were built to mimic a hot springs river. 

Which hot springs offer the greatest pool variety?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs. This property has pools known as the Cascadas Calientes (which are close to the resort’s main building), hot springs known as the Los Perdidos Hot Springs (which are a short walk from the resort’s main building), and additional hot springs at the Club Rio Outdoor Center, the Springs Resort’s on-site activity center, which is a brief (and free) shuttle ride away from the resort’s main building.

Atmosphere

Which hot springs offer the most intimate setting?

The Tabacon Hot Springs and the Springs Resort Hot Springs offer the most romantic settings and ambiance. The EcoTermales Hot Springs, the Paradise Hot Springs, and the Baldi Hot Springs offer small nooks you can soak in that feel private on non-busy days.

Visitor demographics

Which hot springs are best suited for only adults?

The Tabacon Hot Springs, the EcoTermales Hot Springs, the Paradise Hot Springs, the Titoku Hot Springs, and the Rio Chollin Hot Springs (a.k.a., Mini-Tabacon).

Which hot springs are best suited for adults and/or children?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs, the Baldi Hot Springs, the Los Laureles Hot Springs, the Los Lagos Hot Springs, the Kalambu Hot Springs, the Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs, and the Termo Arenal Hot Springs.

Cost and value

Which hot springs are the most expensive?

The Tabacon Hot Springs and the Springs Resort Hot Springs.

Which hot springs are the least expensive?

The Termo Arenal Hot Springs, the Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs, the Los Laureles Hot Springs, the Los Lagos Hot Springs, and the Kalambu Hot Springs.

Which hot springs have mid-range prices?

The Paradise Hot Springs, the Titoku Hot Springs, the Baldi Hot Springs, and the EcoTermales Hot Springs.

Which hot springs are free?

The Rio Chollin Hot Springs (a.k.a., Mini-Tabacon).

Which hot springs offer the greatest value when comparing cost to experience?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs and the Los Lagos Hot Springs. Though the Springs Resort Hot Springs are one of the most expensive hot springs passes you can buy, the resort’s plethora of pools and hot springs, its luxurious setting, and its on-site activity center offer plenty of bang for your buck. Affordable hot springs passes to the Los Lagos Hot Springs buy access to hot spring pools and on-site exhibits where you can see crocodiles, frogs, butterflies, turtles, and ants.

Location

Which hot springs are the closest to downtown La Fortuna?

The Termo Arenal Hot Springs and the Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs are the closest to downtown La Fortuna (an approximate 7-minute drive from town). The EcoTermales Hot Springs, the Baldi Hot Springs, the Titoku Hot Springs, the Kalambu Hot Springs, and the Paradise Hot Springs are clustered around one another and sit approximately 500 meters up the road (in the opposite direction of downtown La Fortuna). The Los Lagos Hot Springs and the Los Laureles Hot Springs are located across the road from each other, another 500 meters up the same road.

Which hot springs are the furthest from downtown La Fortuna?

The Springs Resort Hot Springs (an approximate 20-minute drive from downtown La Fortuna), followed by the Tabacon Hot Springs and the Rio Chollin Hot Springs (a.k.a., Mini-Tabacon), both of which are an approximate 15-minute drive from downtown La Fortuna.

Quality and luxury

Which hot springs offer the highest quality experience in terms of luxury and/or resort appeal?

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

Which hot springs offer the lowest quality experience in terms of luxury and/or resort appeal?

The Termo Arenal Hot Springs, followed by the Termalitas del Arenal Hot Springs.

Which hot springs offer the most authentic Costa Rican experience?

The Los Laureles Hot Springs. Though it caters to local residents and frequently hosts Costa Rican groups (for family reunions, celebrations, and staff outings), the Los Laureles Hot Springs is open to the public and welcomes foreign visitors.

Costa Rica hot springs questions and answers

Have a question about Costa Rica hot springs visits?

We answer 20+ of the most popular Costa Rica hot springs questions and provide important information to know before you visit. Don’t miss our related blog post:

Your Costa Rica Hot Springs Questions Answered!

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?

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Best Hot Springs In Arenal: We Compare All 12 La Fortuna Hot Springs
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Best Hot Springs In Arenal: We Compare All 12 La Fortuna Hot Springs
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Looking for the best La Fortuna hot springs in Arenal Costa Rica? We compare and contrast all 12 and offer discounts for hot springs passes!
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The Official Costa Rica Travel Blog
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