Two hours along winding mountain roads from the capital city of San Jose, lies a jungle oasis at the base of a protruding Volcano. The clouds linger around the top, casting bright rays down across the valley. After a red-eye flight and a long drive, my body was itching with the anticipation of experiencing naturally warm, crystal clear hot springs.
Tabacon Thermal Resort is located right beneath the towering Volcano Arenal, set amongst tall trees and rivers flowing all around you. The warm air, singing birds and sound of flowing water brought immediate relief and relaxation; we had arrived. If you’re looking for a peaceful day filled with nothing but delicious drinks and pure, natural relaxation, you’ll find it here. A half day pass, includes lunch and is more than enough time to explore the lush grounds.
The first thing I saw was a large pool, just like a normal swimming pool, with an inset swim-up bar. It was hard to wrap my head around the fact that this water was about 100 degrees naturally: I couldn’t wait to experience it myself.
One tip I can give you: don’t just go to the first pool you see, there are a dozen hidden pools that you can explore around the property. Tabacon is full of winding pathways and bridges that take you to your own magical oasis in the trees. We were there on a Friday and hardly ran into any other guests. You feel like you are the only people in this majestic forest as you explore and wind along a trail up towards the gardens. One of the winding paths led to a perfect pool amidst the cascading waterfalls and heavily forested area. I stepped in, knowing it was warm but simply not expecting it, and I could feel the heat immediately run through my body. I dove in and the only thought I had was, “this is extraordinary”. At about 103 degrees Fahrenheit, the river was heaven.
After several hours of exploring secret pools, it was time to test out the swim up bar. We took a ride down the water slide into the main pool and swam towards the bar for two piña coladas before lunch. Next to the main pool, is a cold plunge pool, which was a welcome relief after the steaming baths all morning.
The half day pass includes a seated, 3-course lunch in their restaurant. This was our first meal in Costa Rica and it made us very excited to explore the flavors of the rest of the country. After a full lunch complete with decadent, fresh ceviche and sea bass, we were sufficiently relaxed and ready to make the drive to the gulf of Papagayo.
We did a lot of research on the thermal hot springs in Arenal and the natural, stunning property of Tabacon Thermal Resort far outperforms any other property we researched. While the cost of visiting may seem high, at around $80 per person, it’s worth it for the seclusion, privacy and truly picturesque landscape that you can’t help but explore during your time on property. I recommend reserving your date in advance, as they do fill up due to limited capacity. You can reserve a date in advance on their website here.
Disclaimer: We were hosted by Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa. Please know the opinions expressed are all our own and may not reflect the property’s own views.