There are several choices for experiencing volcanic hot springs in Arenal. They are: Tabacon Hot Springs, The Springs Resort and Spa, Baldi and EcoTermales. For those of you looking for a relaxing soak surrounded by beautiful rainforest with few tourists you want to opt for EcoTermales. Tabacon and the Springs are both part of large resorts and while luxurious they are often very crowded. The Springs in particular is very “Disney”, lots of fiberglass rocks and unnatural landscaping. Baldi is the cheapest option but filled with a “party” crowd most days and has the least in terms of natural beauty.
EcoTermales is owned by a local family and beyond the beauty of the place, its most important feature is its limited entrance. Entrance is capped at 100 people, in 4-hour blocks, and it is not unusual to visit with only a handful of other guests.
The grounds at EcoTermales are beautiful and the pools are really relaxing. There are often monkeys hanging nearby in the trees around the lower pool, their hoots and howls adding to the jungle charm. The pools are different temperatures (37-41 degrees celsius) and sizes and it is fun to work your way up to the hotter pools. The hottest one really isn’t so much hotter than the others but it does have a neat hot waterfall which you can sit behind – turning it into a natural outdoor sauna! That pool also features a cool spray which makes a huge difference. Plunging in the cold pool every 15 minutes is grueling but is recommended for health.
They have a nice bar by the pools and offer a dinner in an open-air dining area which is fine. They serve traditional casado which are quite tasty. If it’s crowded reserve an early dinner time to avoid waits. $32/pp, $47 w/dinner. Reservations required. Can be booked through your hotel or online.
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