There are scores of hot springs in Costa Rica, but you have to know where to look. If you prefer the luxuries of a resort style experience, you won’t have to look very hard. But, if you prefer the all natural free version, you’ll have to dig a little deeper as most of them are on private property or in protected areas that don’t exactly encourage their use without invitation. Whatever your pleasure, here’s our version of the best hot springs in Costa Rica.
Best Day Pass Hot Springs
Tabacon Grand Thermal Spa – Costa Rica’s poster child hot springs, Tabacon Grand Thermal Spa, provides numerous natural hot springs streams and pools in a jungle resort setting in front of Arenal Volcano.
Ecotermales Hot Springs – Ecotermales provides an intimate alternative to the larger hot springs resorts at Arenal Volcano. They offer a couple pools and a small spring, limiting the number of guests to 100 at a time.
Los Perdidos Springs – The Los Perdidos Springs or “The Lost Springs” are located on the grounds of the sprawling and luxurious The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal. Visitors can enjoy secluded streams and waterfalls in the jungle or the large pool areas with wet bar at the resort.
Baldi Hot Springs – With reasonably priced day passes, Baldi is one of the more popular hot springs in Arenal, but tends to be a little congested during high season months. They offer 25+ hot springs fed pools of varying shapes, sizes and temperatures.
Titoku Hot Springs – Titoku is a small, intimate hot springs option in the Arenal area. They offer eight pools of varying temperatures with streams in between.
Secret Free Hot Springs*
Tabaconcito – The steamy Tabacon river flows just below the famous resort property, providing a perfectly natural hot springs river for anybody to enjoy for free! The scenic river is surrounded by dense jungle, creating a natural spa for fortunate locals and budget conscious travelers. As heavenly as this may seam, be forewarned that petty theft is common as there are no lockers or security guards.
Rincon de la Vieja National Park – Volcanic activity boils to the surface at the Las Pailas section of Rincon de la Vieja National Park! A walk through this park will allow you to see fumaroles, boiling mud pits, and of course natural hot springs. While the hot springs are free, the park entrance is not.
Tenorio National Park – The incredibly beautiful Rio Celeste Waterfalls take center stage at Tenorio National Park! But if you continue down the path for a couple kilometers beyond the famous waterfall, you will come to a natural hot springs just off of the scenic river. Similar to Rincon, the hot springs are free, but there is an entrance fee to enter the national park.
NEW ADDITION: Rio Agua Caliente near Arenal Observatory Lodge: There’s a spot on the south bank of Rio Agua Caliente (imagine that) where it’s extra warm and there are some nice rocks. About 50 meters upstream from where the bridge crosses before the turn up to Arenal Observatory Lodge, GPS coordinates: 10.438692, -84.729577.
Recently a traveler wrote to report that they were unable to find the spring along the Rio Agua Caliente. As with all natural hot springs this one varies in flow and temperature depending on recent rains, the water table and flows in the river it’s alongside.
When there’s lots of rain or high water the heated mineral water can be diluted with fresh cold water until it’s no longer noticeable and when the water table is too low the spring may stop running.
We’ve stopped a couple of times since we first discovered it 25 years ago and have always found enough hot water to soak. It’s possible though that recently it has disappeared as the activity of Arenal volcano has diminished.
*Park entrance fees may apply.
Close but no free cigar
NEW ADDITION: Balneario de Aguas Termales Orosi – Not quite free, but everybody gets the local discount! This hot springs is located in Orosi, next to the Orosi Lodge, 9.794205, -83.857011
Best Hot Springs Resorts
The Springs Resort & Spa – The Springs Resort takes the term “hot springs resort” to a whole new level. The sprawling resort features the Los Perdido Hot Springs with many pools, cataratas, and streams flowing between them, set in tropical gardens and jungle.
Tabacon Grand Thermal Spa Resort – Central Americas’s most famous hot springs resort, Tabacon Grand Thermal Spa Resort, is better known for their hot springs, but also offers a five star resorts experience.
Arenal Springs Resort & Spa – Arenal Springs Resort & Spa offers the best four star hot springs resort experience you will find in Costa Rica. In addition to private hot springs at the resort for all guests, the hotel offers several upgraded luxurious Master Suites with hot springs inside of the room.
Borinquen Mountain Resort – Located on the slopes of Rincon de la Vieja, Borinquen Mountain Resort offers guests several hot springs pools to relax in after a day on the adventure ranch.
Rio Perdido Resort – Despite its off the beaten path location, you’ll never be bored at Rio Perdido Resort, which offers guests a naturally flowing hot springs river and plenty of other activities.
Honorable Mentions for Hotels with Hot Springs
- Nayara Springs Hotel
- Arenal Paraiso Hotel
- Hotel Los Lagos
- Hotel Silencio del Campo
- Hotel Royal Corin
- Arenal Kioro Hotel
- Kokoro la Selva
- Arenal Manoa Hotel
- Volcano Lodge
- Hacienda Guachipelin
- Buena Vista Lodge
Some of our favorite Costa Rican hot springs…
This list is but a fraction of the many hot springs that can be found throughout the country. Let us know of your favorite Costa Rican hot springs hot spots in the comments section below.