The 1968 eruption of Arenal Volcano created a new natural resource for the town of La Fortuna: thermal hot springs. There are dozens of hot springs in La Fortuna, and we’ve narrowed down the best ones for every budget.
The small town of La Fortuna, Costa Rica once again sits at the base of Arenal Volcano, the cone-shaped mountain that wiped it out with a single eruption in 1968, along with two neighboring towns. The town rebuilt, tapping into the underground river that was now being geothermally heated by the volcano to create dozens of natural hot springs in La Fortuna.
Arenal Volcano became one of the most popular tourist attractions in Costa Rica due to its constant mini eruptions and lava flows. That was all the way up until 2010, when the volcano stopped sputtering and went silent. The volcano isn’t dormant, scientists just say its sleeping. Even without an erupting volcano, the hot springs in La Fortuna were enough of a draw for us to visit this town.
The hot springs in La Fortuna range from luxury to completely free. With so many to choose from, we thought we’d give you a bit of info to help you pick the best Arenal hot springs for your budget.
Getting to La Fortuna, Costa Rica
From Liberia: It’s about a three-hour drive from the Liberia Airport to the center of La Fortuna. The roads are paved and easy to drive, so there is no need for a four-wheel drive for this route. A shared shuttle from the airport costs USD $54, or a private minibus costs USD $270 if you’re traveling with a group.
From San Jose: La Fortuna is also about a three-hour drive from the San Jose airport in the capital city of Costa Rica. A shared shuttle costs USD $55 and a private shuttle costs USD $200. There is a direct bus route from San Jose to La Fortuna, which you can learn more about here.
If you’re planning on renting a car, read this post with 11 things you should know about renting a car and driving in Costa Rica.
➳ Read next: 9 Amazing Things To Do in La Fortuna
Map of Hot Springs in La Fortuna
A tip on getting a great deal to Hot Springs in La Fortuna
Most hot springs in La Fortuna have day pass rates, but access to the hot springs is usually included if you’re staying at the attached hotel. While a day pass rate may be around $30 per person, the hotel itself might only be a little over $100. We looked at the rate of the hotel plus the day entrance rate for the hot springs we wanted to visit, and decided it would be more cost effective just to stay a night at the associated hotel.
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Best Luxury Hot Springs in La Fortuna
Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa
The Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa is a 5-star hotel and also one of the most popular Arenal hot springs in La Fortuna. It’s easy to see why once you enter the grounds; it looks and feels like a natural tropical paradise. Located in the heart of the jungle, the Tabacon hot springs are fed by five different springs with naturally heated and mineralized water. Waterfalls flow through dozens of pools at different temperatures, so you can find one with just the right amount of heat for you.
Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass: If you don’t plan on staying at the Tabacon resort, you can purchase a day pass to visit the Tabacon hot springs. All Day Passes include at least one meal. The full day rate with one meal is $85. Children from 6-11 are $38 and children five and under are free with a paying adult. Tabacon also offers partial day passes for $70, including a morning pass from 10 am to 2 pm and a night pass from 6 pm to 10 pm.
For a full schedule of Tabacon day passes and pricing, see the resort page here. The resort limits the number of daily visitors, so it’s best to reserve your spot ahead of time.
Staying at the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa: After comparing the prices and the additional extras you get by staying at the resort, we opted to book a night. Our one-night stay at the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa gave us access to the hot springs for two days, as well as early access from 8 am – 10 am before day visitors arrived. Hotel guests over 18 years old also get exclusive access to the Shangri-La Gardens.
We loved every part of our stay at the Tabacon; the staff was super friendly and attentive, the rooms were spacious, and the beds were amazingly comfortable. Rates start at $300, which is more than we typically spend on a hotel, but when we added up the cost of day pass tickets for the hot springs ($85 for full day per person) and what we would spend on another hotel, it didn’t end up being too much more to stay at the hotel. The Tabacón Resort does sell out often, so book early if you want to stay here. Check current availability here.
The Springs Resort & Spa at Arenal
This Springs is another luxury resort in La Fortuna with one of the best views of Arenal Volcano. The property features 28 springs, and has family-friendly amenities including tubing and a monkey slide.
The Springs Resort Day Pass: The Springs Resort and Spa at Arenal offers two-day passes for $68 per person. The hot springs are open from 8 am to 10 pm every day. A day pass includes access to all hot springs, pools, as well as its on-property bars and restaurants.
Staying at The Springs Resort & Spa: As a guest of The Springs Resort & Spa, you have access to the hot springs on the property as well as the Club Rio Outdoor Center, which is about 1.5 km from the resort along the banks of the Arenal River. You can book adventures for an additional fee, like kayaking, tubing, horseback riding and rock climbing, or simply hike the trails and enjoy the additional natural hot springs. Rooms start in the low $400s. Check current availability here.
Best Mid-range Hot Springs in La Fortuna
Baldi Hot Springs Hotel & Spa
The Baldi Hot Springs are one of the largest hot spring resorts in Costa Rica. There are 25 thermal water pools surrounded by lush vegetation, with pools varying from 93°F all the way up to 152°F. There is also a special kid’s play area with slides.
Baldi Hot Spring Day Pass: Reservations are not required if you want to visit the Baldi Hot Springs. The entrance fee for adults is $40 and children are $20. See more information about the Baldi Hot Springs Day Pass here.
Staying at the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel & Spa: Booking a night at the Baldi Hot Springs Hotel & Spa gives you access to the hot springs. Rooms start in the high $100s. Check current availability here.
EcoTermales touts itself as the only truly natural hot springs in La Fortuna. There are 13 hot springs which directly feed from the waters heated by the Arenal volcano. The thermally heated pools range from 99°F to 106° F, and there are also cool water pools and a waterfall on the property.
EcoTermales is a standalone hot spring; there is no attached hotel. There is a restaurant and bar on the property, so you can plan to get lunch or dinner while you’re here.
Access to the EcoTermales hot springs welcomes guests during two time slots (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.). Entrance to the hot springs costs $40, or $62 if you’d like to include lunch or dinner. Reserve your spot ahead of time online by booking here.
Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa
The Hotel Arenal Kioro Suites & Spa is another hotel with a phenomenal view of Arenal Volcano, plus amazing hot springs on the property. The hot springs are 8 cascading pools, with the hottest water at the top. Many of the spacious rooms have floor to ceiling windows to highlight the views of the volcano. Family rooms include a private jacuzzi. Day passes to the hot springs are $32, and rooms start in the high $100s. Check current availability here.
Best Budget Hot Springs in La Fortuna
Volcano Lodge, Hotel & Thermal Experience / San Bosco Inn
Check out the San Bosco Inn if you’re looking for both a room and hot springs for great deal. Rooms at San Bosco Inn are basic but clean and start at $30.
While there aren’t hot springs on the property, your room rate includes access to the hot springs at their sister hotel, the Volcano Lodge, Hotel & Thermal Experience. It’s hard to beat a hotel room, full breakfast, and access to hot springs for $30! The hot springs at the Volcano Lodge are only available to guests of Volcano Lodge of the San Bosco Inn, so there is no option to visit on a day pass.
If you want to stay onsite at the Volcano Lodge, room rates start around $130. If you book one of the resort’s Thermal Superior Rooms or Junior Suites, you’ll have your own private thermal plunge pool and waterfall.
Free Hot Springs in La Fortuna
You can access free natural hot springs in La Fortuna, just upstream from the popular Tabacon resort. Pull off and park on the side of the road right after the entrance to the Tabacon Hot Springs. There’s a short path on the north side of the road that leads down to the river. Once you see the river, look for large rocks forming a pool where the thermal water bubbles up.
There is a small caveat to the free part; you will likely need to pay a few dollars for someone to “watch” your car if you drive here. This is pretty typical in Costa Rica. If there is no official paid parking lot, usually a local will designate him/herself as a parking lot attendant, and ask you for a few dollars to watch over your car.