By Karen Espig

A visit to Costa Rica would be incomplete without experiencing at least one of the numerous natural thermal springs and pools this beautiful country has in abundance.

My top picks have something unique to offer and cover a range of price points.

Tabacon Thermal Resort And Spa

The Tabacon Resort & Spa began operating as a thermal spring destination in 1993. It has since expanded its guest experience to include three restaurants, five bars, and a full-service spa. This luxury resort occupies 740 acres of tropical rainforests, sharing with guests one of the largest networks of thermal river pools and cascading waterfalls in the Arenal region. And, if you desire a little more privacy, visit the Shangri-la Gardens, an adults-only area of the resort.

After a day in the lush greenery and therapeutic pools, be sure to head over to the full-service spa for a “Volcano Mud Wrap”, which uses a creamy clay found at Cerro Chato, near the Arenal volcano.

The Rio Perdido Hotel And Thermal River

The stunning  Rio Perdido hotel is located in the Guanacaste province, situated on the western side of Costa Rica. The resort is part of a 600-acre reserve, featuring a long gorge with a series of natural hot springs. If adventure tourism is your passion, activities on the property include zip-lining, mountain biking and white-water tubing. There are also 20 miles of hiking trails. 

But if that is not your vibe, don’t worry; you will undoubtedly enjoy the cliffside pools, exquisite meals prepared by local chefs and the full-service spa. If you want an extra level of luxury, check out the King Center Suites. These are large bungalows with upscale interior design, a large terrace and a side-by-side outdoor shower with full privacy (accessed from within the unit).

The Royal Corin Thermal Water And Spa Resort

The Royal Corin Resort is a non-smoking facility just steps away from the Arenal volcano. It offers outstanding views of this natural wonder that provides the healing waters of the area’s pools and springs. You may choose from five swimming pools (two warm, two hot, and one cold), four thermal jacuzzis, and two jacuzzis with waterfalls. 

Not to be missed is the natural outdoor thermal steam sauna, where grids in the floor allow you to hear and smell the bubbling hot water. The Loto Spa offers the ultimate in relaxation with private outdoor jacuzzis to complement your choice of spa treatments. Enjoy a few services or spend the day!

*Please note that children must be over 13 years old to stay at this resort.

The Springs Resort And Spa

The 165 acre Springs Resort and Spa provides a range of accommodations from 750 sq feet to the 2562 sq foot 3-bedroom suite. Every room has a view of Arenal volcano, a porch or balcony with a hammock and a jacuzzi tub. You will also find eight pools naturally fed by the thermal springs and a series of seven interconnected springs and trails in a forest canyon. The fourteen thousand square foot Sanctuary Spa offers a full suite of services, and there are no less than nine options for food and drink.

As an added bonus, the Club Rio Adventure Center, located below the resort, offers activities such as river tubing, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing and rappelling, fishing, and nature walks. Here you will find the Ojo del Agua (Eye of the Water) spring, where you can feel the hot water and bicarbonate bubbles passing over your feet. 

Baldi Hot Springs Resort And Spa

For a family-friendly option, try out Baldi Hot Springs Resort with its 25 thermal pools, a jacuzzi for 60 people, and the largest sauna in the area. Sitting at the base of Arenal volcano, this property offers junior family suites and a children’s cool water pool area – complete with water slides. 

For the adults, the onsite spa, Acqua, offers indulgent Volcanic Hot Rock Massage (which combines Swedish massage with warmed basalt stones), a Chocolate Wrap or one of the many other spa services. 

Bio Thermales 

If you are looking for a budget-friendly option, Bio Thermales fits the bill. The 35-acre property has 9 organic free form pools amid a rainforest preserve, also home to birds, butterflies, monkeys, and sloths. Each cabin or casita is equipped with a full kitchen, air conditioning, and a porch with a hammock and grill. They also have two treehouses if you’d like a novel accommodation option!

Lastly, if you simply wish to enjoy the thermal pools but cannot stay overnight, most resorts have day passes or packages with meal or spa options. Whatever you choose, you are sure to find your pura vida amid the lush rainforests and therapeutic thermal springs of Costa Rica.