I cant say enough wonderful things about the hot springs at Tabacon. Their are at least 20 pools and waterfalls each a different temperature. All are totally surrounded by rain forest. There is steam billowing upwards off black rock pools up towards gorgeous tropical plants. All pools are connected by pebble walkways.
You should know:
- go to the springs at Tabacon by the day and pay the daily rate its the best value
- there is a pool and waterslide for the kids. we saw many young children enjoying
- go at night if you want to have some drinks and wind down, if you want an adult experience you wont see any children at that time.
-If your expecting luxury and good service dont stay at the Tabacon Hotel resort, its not worth the rates. The service is not that of a 4 star "Leading Hotel" they are just not trained and we were disappointed many times- (think having to request housekeeping twice to get it. then not getting towels AT ALL when they did clean.) hmm. confusing.
- lots and lots of hotels around and they are all nice
- not many shops in town you really are in the rain forest! pack accordingly.
- people are very slow and take their time. its just a way of life. plan for waiting... it actually made us more relaxed as we went on.
- if there is a problem its best to speak to a manager. the staff cant really help. my husbands shoes got locked in the locker at the springs, and we waited 3 hours for the staff to fix it. the manager was able to fix it when she came.
- the buffet restaurant was DELICIOUS! the staff there were the best that we met at all of Tabacon Springs. The antipasto was fresh, wonderful salads, and deserts were beautiful. We tried them all lol!!
The Tabacon Hot Spring is a must-do if you visit the Arenal area. If you don’t experience this, you are seriously missing out, so make sure you budget for it. The Hot Springs are part of the 5-Star Tabacon Resort. However, you don’t have to be a guest to use the hot springs. The springs are located across the street from the resort and the entry fee ranges from $70 to $95 including dinner or lunch. If you are staying at the resort itself, you can access the springs at no extra charge.
According to tabacon.com, the "hot springs are 97% rain-based and 3% magma-based. Rainwater enters the earth through fissures on the surface and is then heated by magma found in the earth’s core. Once heated, the waters rise to surface, taking with them minerals found in the earth’s rocky stratus. Thus, the resort’s waters are loaded with minerals. Hot springs provide many benefits stemming from various chemical, physical and biological effects."
There are 7 warm pools varying in temperature and one cold pool:
1- El Garrobo Pool 30º C
2- Titi Pool 25º C
3- El Tigrillo Pool 39º C
4- La Taltuza Pool 39º C
5- Pelon River Pool 28º C
6- La Piapia Pool 39º C
7- El Cusuco River Pool 39º C (Waterfall)
There is also one wet bar and one ground bar.
The hot springs are a perfect place to unwind after a full day of exploration around the Arenal area. We visited the springs in the evening and enjoyed every second. Our pass included dinner at the buffet, which was one of the best meals I had while in Costa Rica. The menu changes every day. Our night, we enjoyed Indonesian cuisine. It was delicious. The buffet is open air, so be prepared for face-to-face encounters with giant grasshoppers, but that’s all part of the fun.
The hot springs offer full-service amenities such as lockers, showers and spa treatments. And for the men, they even dry your swim trunks so you can leave dry and comfortable.
Suggestion: Bring waterproof sandals to walk through the pools. Most of the pools are natural river beds and are filled with rocks of various sizes. So protect your feet!
Wow! This sky trek adventure is one I will never forget. It was so liberating and refreshing to zip line hundreds of feet above a lush rainforest, going 50 mph and surrounded by misty fog! I mean absolutely amazing. Our adventure started early in the morning around 9 a.m. and was provided by Sky Adventures. We took a gondola up the mountain (not sure how many feet, but it was high - trust me). Then we ziped through 10 cables some were over 1500-feet long and 460 feet up in the air. As you zip down the mountain you can catch great views of the volcano and the forest (from a birds view point). We were escorted by two staff members and our group was comprised of about 9 people.
There are several companies in the area that offer Sky Trek/canopy adventures, our tour operator booked with Sky Adventures and we were very happy with them. The staff was friendly and the platforms were large and safe (as safe as you can be hundreds of feet up on the edge of a mountain). It was definitely a once (or twice) in a lifetime experience!
There are several places to choose from I believe. It is about a 1 hr ride each way to the waterfalls. Your butt will hurt the next day with all the bouncing but it is a great trip. And swimming in the falls was great. There are many steps down to the falls which will be difficult for any older people to manage.
Baldi Termae has 10 different pools that each have a different temperature. The rivers turned hot the last time the volcano eruputed (around the 60's I believe, could be wrong). There is lush vegetation around the pools and stone walkways. There is even a swim out bar. It feels like a fancy resort for celebrities but the entry fee is only $10. Incredible!
The hanging bridges are located close to the Arenal volcano and the town of Fortuna. They are a
series of metallic bridges that are suspended in the rain forest. There are 15 bridges which range in size from 5 to 100 meters in length and some are about 40 meter or more above the ground. The walking trail is narrow so you cannot walk next to each other. I did not see many animals except for a few lizards and birds. Perhaps, with a guide you may see more. When we were walking we saw a guide with a lady making animal calls. Some animal from the forest made a call back. At different times during the year we were told it is possible to see 250 species of birds, snakes, boa constrictors, lizards, frogs, howler monkeys, spider monkeys, and three-toed sloths.
The bridges do offer an amazing view of the volcano and the surrounding forest. The walking trail is supposed to take 2 hours. You are supposed to walk slowly so as not to miss the animals. However, we were hungry so we rushed though. That is another reason we did not see too many animal. Remember to bring along water, a rain jacket and sensible shoes for your walk.
This garden is in an out of the way region in the Arenal area. To get to it you have to pass a small town with dirt roads and small houses. Just before you get to the butterfly garden there is the Serpentaria where you can see many snakes and reptiles. The best time to go it is said is in the morning when the butterflies are more active. However, we went just as it was closing. We told the owner how we came a long way and this was our last day and we were given a personal tour of the garden. In fact, the garden was active with butterflies at this time and there were no other tourists to get in our way. The garden boasts forty species of tropical butterflies in about four enclosed botanical gardens. The guide let us hold Costa Rica?s famous butterfly in which on one side it looks like a brown owl with eyes to scare off predators and on the other side it is a beautiful greenish blue. Another rare feature was the nocturnal butterflies with transparent wings. The guide helps you understand the stages of a butterfly's life and you get to see a butterfly nursery. While walking outdoors the guide told us about Costa Rica native plants growing outdoors. We were also treated to the sight of a sloth in the trees. As we were leaving the owner let us hold a snake and see a venomous spider which were being housed here for the Serpentaria next door. It is too bad the Serpenaria was closed it would be nice to have a personalized visit there as well.
Perhaps the best value for an exciting tour is the canopy tour by www.canopy.co.cr
It offers you a choice of horseback riding or a trailer ride to the rain forest site where you will begin your canopy tour. Before the tour, you are instructed on how the equipment works and what you are supposed to do to keep yourself safe. There are 9 platforms of various heights, lengths and speeds. It progresses ever higher until the 6th platform where you begin to descend. For a guy who?s scared of heights it was just as scary from the first to the last one. You can see various trees and mountain. You can not really see the wildlife or birds since everything races by fast. For that try walking on the hanging bridges. The instructors guide you every step of the way even at the last platform if you forget something. In our tour only one guy bowed out of doing it and let his wife and child do it alone. All and all this is a great tour for people who want an adrenaline rush.
La Fortuna was our destination while on the horses. Be really careful when climbing down cause there are few gaurd rails and the steps are really slippery. It is worth the trouble when you reach the bottom.
Tabacon offers several ways for you to enjoy their hot springs. You can try just their hot springs for $25 or you can have dinner as well for $45. There is an additional charge for towels and locker rentals. They also have spa services available for added costs. The thing you have to remember is that the spring area closes at 10 PM, so you have to plan your time accordingly. There are several pools and falls each feed with the mineral water and heated by natural hot springs. Some pools are hotter than others. This is a great therapeutic place to visit especially if you had an active day canyoning, horseback riding, hiking, canopy touring or ATVing. There are numerous trees, plants and falls surrounding the various pools. Some pools are secretly hidden away. Drinks are available at the bar area. One tip is to sit under the falls and allow the hot healing waters to hit your back if you have back pain. I know that some may say this may be a waste of $25 since you may get a similar experience at a free Jacuzzi at your hotel. However, the atmosphere is different and was worth the cost at least for me. The springs attract a mixed crowd of younger and older people.
Warning: Tabacon Hot Springs lies in a “high-risk zone” which is in the volcanoes path. In 1968, 78 people were killed by an eruption which hit Tabacon. In June 1975, before the spa was built, rock and burning gases passed over the spot. In 1993, pyroclastic flows came dangerously close to it. Potentially deadly avalanches occur within the zone once every 2-3 years.
Arenal rises 5436 feet above sea level and is the most active of the volcanoes in Costa Rica. There are various tour companies which offer night hikes to various lookout points in the area. It is best to do this on a clear non rainy day which is a 30% chance. An alternative if you rented a car is to drive around close to the volcano and look for the area where tour buses stop to let their customers see the volcano at night. This was exactly what we did. At various times ash columns, lava flows and sudden explosions may be seen if the volcano is not covered by clouds. In fact, just as we stopped we were treated to the volcano erupting. The embers burned for 2 minutes It looked like the orange top of a triangular shaped incense when burned. After we saw some minor eruptions. The organized tours do not allow BYOB. However, if you rent a car you can always do this to pass the time between eruptions..
There is plenty of beach going and rain forest tours throughout the country that when you get to tabacon the best thing to do is relax and enjoy a beer at the bar "in" the thermal pool.
The food was ok, we were in a large group so I'm sure that hindered the quality to some degree.
I've been to several natural spas but the scenery at this one was something special.
It is well kept and clean which accounts for the higher frequency of tourists but it was still pretty easy to find some privacy.
With the volcano as a backdrop and rich green foliage everywhere it was quite a memorable experience regardless of the occasions touristy nature.
It's cloudy most of times so it's hard to see it but if you're patient you'll get it.
Nice paths to walk in the area, all through deep forests with poweful vegetation and some cute animals (basiliscos). Deep forest could turn into a volcaninc rock desert in a few meters.
A must in Arenal. I went only to enjoy spring water pools (lots of them, different temperatures), so I can't tell about the buffet,
and had real fun. My advice: go there after 7 pm (it closes at 10 pm), cause it's cheaper. Very nice at night, 3 h is more than enough and have some drinks at the bar in the pool.
Lake Arenal was created in 1978 through the diversion of Rio Arenal, and subsequent flooding of the farmland upstream. At 14 miles in length, it is the largest man-made lake in Central America.
Because it is located at a higher altitude, water temperatures remain chilly year-round, but if you're prepared to don a good wetsuit, the steady wind makes it a windsurfers paradise.