A Guide to the Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Whether traveling to Costa Rica for its biodiversity or adventure sports, you can’t miss the opportunity to soak in the volcanic hot springs around the country. Despite its small size, Costa Rica has six active volcanoes that create many different hot springs you can visit.
In addition to being soothing and relaxing, these waters are naturally filled with minerals that can benefit your health and well-being. Studies have implied that mineral hot springs can improve stress levels, dermatological conditions, circulation problems, and prosthetic recovery, among many others. Even if you aren’t looking for healing properties, you won’t regret spending a day in one of many hot springs around the country.
What Are Hot Springs Like in Costa Rica?
There is a wide variety of different hot springs in Costa Rica. From the calmest places in the middle of the jungle to water parks with giant slides and activities, there are hot springs for all preferences. Many of these hot springs are part of a specific hotel, but you can often still enjoy the hot springs even when you aren’t checked in.
As far as facilities, there are always dressing rooms where you can put your swimsuit on and get changed afterward. Most hot springs give you a towel you can use, but you are always welcome to bring your own if you want.
Many thermal springs in Costa Rica use the natural pathways made by creaks, meaning they will most likely be located in a remote area surrounded by nature. Imagine soaking in a large hot tub in the middle of the forest. It is one of the most relaxing experiences that tourists can enjoy. Nevertheless, if you are traveling with children, we recommend the hot springs that advertise the water slides. That way, they will have lots of fun while you can enjoy the hot waters.
Where Can You Find the Best Hot Springs in Costa Rica?
We recommend going to the hot springs near La Fortuna in the Arenal area since there is a vast array of options. There’s a great chance to find a hot spring of your liking here.
Hot Springs Near Arenal:
Kalambú Hot Springs is more of a thermal water park with lots of slides and water playgrounds for kids. There are also relaxing places for adults near these pools.
We also recommend Baldí Hot Springs as one of the most relaxing places in this area. It also has a section for kids but is mostly a place for adults since it focuses on relaxing and de-stressing, and has at least one “hot spring bar.” They have a great restaurant, and their waters are certified by laboratories in the US.
For a luxurious experience, you can visit Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa, which integrates nature beautifully to provide you with the most relaxing experience. Here, there are several pools of different sizes, depths, and temperatures. If you visit at night, you’ll feel secluded–just you and the starry sky above, even if there are others around you!
Hot Springs Near Bagaces:
Another region famous for its hot springs is Bagaces. Bagaces is much more secluded than the Arenal region, but these hot springs won’t let you down.
We recommend Las Hornillas Volcano Hot Springs since you can enjoy the clear thermal waters and also cover yourself in volcanic clay. This place also provides hiking trails to a small crater as well as waterfalls.
You can also try El Guayacán Hot Springs. If you decide to visit, note this site can fill up pretty quickly during the high tourism season. El Guayacán is splendid for couples and families. It has recreational slides and thermal pools surrounded by trees and plants, making for a gorgeous experience. Go to the restaurant for traditional food and the nearby cabins for rest. All in all, it’s one of the best experiences!
Hot Springs Near Guanacaste:
The Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste produces natural hot springs as well. Check out Vandara Hot Springs & Adventure Park for natural pools thanks to subterranean volcanic heat.
Buena Vista del Rincon Hot Springs consist of several shallow swimming pools, full of naturally heated water from the volcano. Bridges link each pool for a charming location.
The Rio Negro Hot Springs are a popular natural spot, located on the very edge of the Rincon de la Vieja National Park, but has been closed since 2021.
Are Thermal Springs in Costa Rica Safe?
Soaking in hot springs is totally safe! In fact, most hot springs will have different pools with incrementing water temperatures. Start with the coldest pool and let your body heat adapt before switching to a hotter one. If you change the water temperature too fast, you might experience a headache. If this happens, step out of the hot springs for a while and hydrate. After a couple of minutes, you should be ready to bathe again.
We don’t recommend dunking your head in natural hot springs without pinching your nose shut. This is because these waters could possibly contain amoebas and other bacteria. For these same reasons, avoid opening your mouth or eyes underwater. However, the risk is low, especially if you take these precautions. People have been enjoying Costa Rica’s hot springs for years. Kids can enjoy them too! You’ll just want to avoid the hotter waters if you’re swimming with little ones. But hot springs can indeed be a fun family activity.
What to Bring to Hot Springs in Costa Rica
Packing for a vacation where you’ll be visiting some hot springs? Bring your own swimsuit, as well as a pair of extra clothes, just in case your original outfit gets wet in the changing rooms. You will most likely be able to put your things in a locker or safe space.
Depending on the tree cover offered by each destination, you’ll want to bring sunscreen and a cap or hat. If you can, try natural or organic sunscreen to prevent leaving chemicals on the pools. Bring money so that you can buy drinks to hydrate. Hydration is extra important when bathing in hot springs! We also recommend flip-flops or sandals for walking in between pools. Bring something to protect your phone from getting wet, but don’t worry about needing towels. Most places provide or rent out clean towels that you can use in their installations.
Hot Springs: A Favorite Activity in Costa Rica
Even though Costa Rica is a very warm and humid country, bathing in hot springs is a must-have experience for any travelers. After a long day of adventure, the best thing is to relax in these calming waters. This is an experience that you should not miss!
Did you like this guide to visiting hot springs in Costa Rica? Try our guide to zipline tours in Costa Rica or our guide to surfing!