Where to partake in hot-springs tourism

May 2, 2012

From the print edition

Achy bones, rheumatoid arthritis, acne, the piles and a bad attitude – these are just a few of the things you can soothe with a soak in some of Costa Rica’s numerous hot springs. Lucky for you, dear afflicted traveler, The Tico Times knows just where you should go to soak in some minerals and prune up.

The lava may not pour out of the Arenal Volcano the way it used to, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still at work underground, heating the water coursing through the Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort. With numerous hot springs and gravity-fed pools brimming with water that can be as hot as 50 degrees Celsius, the Tabacón Hot Springs Thermal Resort was the first resort to capitalize on the magma-heated rainwater that creates the hot springs in the Arenal area. Day passes are available just for entrance to the hot springs, or you can shack up in one of the hotel’s luxurious suites for a few days (price of entrance to the hot springs included in hotel packages) and relax with spa treatments and other amenities. For more information and rates and availability visit www.tabacon.com.

If you happen to be in the northwestern province of Guanacaste and in need of a thermal mineral infusion, consider Pueblo Antiguo Lodge and Spa near Abangares. This cozy joint has just 10 bungalow-style rooms that start at $40 per night. It features two thermal soaking pools and a swimming pool with snack bar as well as a sauna. When not elevating your body temperature in the mineral baths, you can get a massage, exfoliating rub or body wrap treatment at the spa. There is a restaurant on the premises as well as a lake and hiking trails for birders. Nearby attractions include coffee tours, river rafting and a puma rescue center. For more info, see www.puebloantiguo.com or call 2662-0033.

Another Guanacaste hot springs option is the Buena Vista Lodge, located just 31 kilometers from the provincial capital Liberia and sharing a border with Rincón de La Vieja National Park. With 80 rooms and five thermal pools on the property, this working cattle ranch has a lot to offer visitors. The hot springs are located on the property a few kilometers from the lodge and can be reached via horseback, on foot or by car. Besides the soothing hot springs, visitors can enjoy a water slide, canopy tours, hanging bridges, hikes through the forest to waterfalls and horseback riding on the lodge property. Rates start at around $87 per night, which includes a buffet breakfast. For more information, visit www.buenavistalodgecr.com or call 2690-1414.

With nine thermal pools ranging in temperature from 32 to 43 C, on a 35-acre spread near Aguas Zarcas in San Carlos, in north-central Costa Rica, Bio Thermales Hot Springs has plenty of relaxation to offer in a rain-forest setting. Guests can kick back in one of the lodge’s casitas before taking a dip in on of the nine pools. Monkeys, birds, butterflies and other jungle wildlife abounds. While you reconnect with a more relaxing side of life, you can also stay connected to the outside world with free wireless Internet in your casita. Rates start at $55 per day for two adults and one child, or $65 per day for two adults and two children. Rates include all access to the hot springs and property amenities. For more info and to make reservations, visit www.biothermales.com or call 8397-8259.

The Blue River Resort & Hot Springs offers visitors to the Guanacaste region an upscale option for enjoying green-tinted, steaming mineral baths and luxury accommodations, all with views of the Rincón de La Vieja Volcano. Between spa treatments, botanical gardens, butterfly gardens, hot springs, mud baths, water slides and a tikki bar, there’s enough to keep a traveler busy relaxing for days at Blue River Resort & Hot Springs. Rates start at around $110 per night including tax, breakfast and up to two children under 10 years of age. For more information and to make reservations, visit www.blueriverresorthotel.com.

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