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Bucket list experience:

Last updated: 06 November, 2022
Expert travel writer: Alex Robinson

With dozens of active and dormant volcanoes oozing hot springs and even rivers, and well-developed tourist infrastructure, Costa Rica is one of the best places in the world for geothermal pampering.

There’s a big choice of things to do. In locations like Volcán Tenorio and Rincon de la Vieja, it is still possible to find natural hot rivers flowing in pristine rainforest. Others in locations like Arenal have been diverted through man-made pools – set in designated day spas.

At the highest end are luxury geothermal spa hotels (usually open to guests only), where volcanic spring water flows directly into the spa or even into your personal in-room bath or plunge pool.

Price from: £5
Minimum age: Any
Age suitable: 8+
When: All year around
Duration: -

Getting there & doing it

It is almost impossible to find a hot spring or river which is not ticketed and with changing facilities or on private hotel land.

Arenal is the hotbed of geothermal activity – with a series of public spring water termales (with paid entrance, parking and lockers) – many of them set in rainforest, and a selection of upmarket geothermal spa hotels. Visits are straightforward to organise through hotels or using operators in the town.

single woman bathing in outdoor pool surrounded by rainforest

Ecotermales Hot Springs

La Fortuna, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

Located 10 minutes from La Fortuna, this small but authentic hot spring facility has several pools, surrounded by thick rainforest, fed by mineral-rich underground hot springs. Water temperatures range from a warm 32°C to a hot 41°C. You can sip on cocktails as you soak.

Best for ages: 8+ | £8

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Nayara Springs

San Carlos, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

Private in-villa hot spring baths and vast plunge pools, four-posters, marble-lined bathrooms; this adults-only mountainside resort is Arenal’s most luxurious. Adults only.

Official star rating:

Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa

La Fortuna, Alajuela Province, Costa Rica

A gorgeous, sustainable rainforest retreat, close to the Arenal Volcano National Park, that harnesses the healing power of the Tabacon Thermal River.

Official star rating:

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Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Rainforests, powdery beaches, white-water rivers and towering volcanoes: this relaxed Central American country offers exceptional wilderness adventures in stunning landscapes.

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