Relax in a steamy hot spring

Hot Waterfall at Tabacon Hot Springs
Hot Waterfall at Tabacon Hot Springs

Costa Rica's volcanically active landscape means that travelers in the region can enjoy a range of relaxing hot springs, mud baths and thermal spas.

Hot Spring

By definition, a hot spring features water warmed by naturally occurring sources of heat in the ground. As the water is heated by Costa Rica's volcanoes, it picks up minerals from the surrounding rock and soil. Many local practitioners of traditional medicine believe that these minerals are beneficial for the health of people who soak in the hot springs.

Popular Spots

As befits the critical role played by volcanoes in the formation of hot springs, most of the relaxation destinations are situated close to the fiery peaks. Two popular locations where tourists can use hot springs include Rincon de la Vieja National Park and Tenorio Volcano National Park, both of which allow hikers to unwind in the warm thermal pools after a strenuous trek through the rainforest.

Another major destination for hot springs is the area surrounding Miravalles Volcano, a peak in the northern part of Costa Rica. In addition to its pools, Miravalles is also known for its many mud baths. Like the mineral-rich waters of the hot springs, the mud found in these baths is believed to have homeopathic benefits for both physical and mental health. Consequently, travelers often slather themselves in the substance before taking a dip in the steamy waters of the hot springs themselves.

Arenal Volcano

The most important destination for hot springs in Costa Rica, however, is the region surrounding Arenal Volcano. The peak is a tourist attraction in its own right, and its volcanic activity creates hot springs that provide visitors with a way to relax after a full day of hiking through the beautiful area.

For All Budgets

In the area around Arenal (La Fortuna de San Carlos), tourists can find a hot spring that matches both their budget and their desire for luxury. Several deluxe resorts in the area operate their own private hot springs, and travelers willing to pay for a room are able to enjoy spas that offer other pampering services alongside the steamy pools. Many smaller hotels have individual pools as well, while the cheapest hot springs give travelers a rustic experience with no amenities beyond the relaxing power of the water itself.