Tabacon Hot Springs in La Fortuna, Costa Rica: A Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass Guide
Deemed the most popular hot springs in La Fortuna, and the best hot springs in Costa Rica overall, Tabacon is a step above the rest. The most common way to experience Tabacon Hot Springs Costa Rica is the Tabacon Hot Springs day pass, or to stay at night at the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa.
The only La Fortuna hot springs to boast a natural thermal river, Tabacon Hotsprings, along with the Tabacon Thermal Resort Spa, is a sought-after destination for all visitors to Costa Rica.
Offering high-end on-site amenities, enjoy a day hopping between the multiple Tabacon hot spring pools, soaking in the thermal river, indulging in the swim-up bar, or devouring a three-course lunch or dinner at the Tabacon resort Costa Rica restaurant with beautiful views of Arenal Volcano.
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As my top pick for the best hot springs in Arenal, this detailed guide will give you all the information you need to plan your trip to Tabacon Costa Rica.
This guide includes details on where it is, how to get to this La Fortuna hot spring, who the Tabacon Hot Springs in Costa Rica is best for, what is included in the Tabacon Hot Springs day pass, what to expect and even about a stay at the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, plus more.
Now, let’s take a dip into this guide on the epic La Fortuna hot spring.
Soak in the Tabacon Hot Springs on this exciting Costa Rica 10 Day Itinerary
La Fortuna Quick Guide
LA FORTUNA CAR RENTAL
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*Best way to reach Tabacon Hot Springs
BEST LA FORTUNA HOTELS
Luxury | Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa
Mid-range | Volcano Lodge
Apartment | Condo’s Vista Al Volcan
BEST TRAVEL INSURANCE
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*I used the single-trip policy in Costa Rica
BEST TABACON HOT SPRINGS TOURS
Tabacon, Bridges, Waterfall + Volcano
Volcano + The Free Tabacon Hot Springs River
About Tabacon Hot Springs
Situated on a lush 300-hectare tropical reserve, the Tabacon Hot Springs property is home to the only naturally occurring thermal river in Costa Rica.
Heated from the mighty Arenal Volcano and mineralized underground, the waters descend over many drops to settle in picturesque lagoons along the centre of the premises. The thermal river and man-made thermal pools range from 24-40°C.
Once a large clearcut farming plot, creator and architect Jaime Mikowski envisioned a secluded paradise for visitors to relax and enjoy the thermal river. After much rainforest restoration, in 1991, the original Tabacon Hot Springs property was opened including a small restaurant, spa and changing area.
Six years later, in 1997, the resort property was opened just up the street featuring 42 rooms and a restaurant. Today, the hotel boasts 105 premium rooms and suites. Over 200 flora and fauna species now call the rainforest gardens at Tabacon home.
Where is Tabacon Hot Springs
Hot Springs Tabacon and the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa are located a 7-mile (11.6km) distance from downtown La Fortuna in the northern Alajuela Province.
It is important to note, that there is a different entrance to each property based on where you’d like to visit. The Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa and the Tabacon hot spring property are located a 2-minute drive from each other.
Click on the Tabacon Hot Spring Costa Rica map below to interact with Google Maps and find your ideal route to visit the top Arenal hot springs in La Fortuna, or read on about the best ways to get to the Costa Rica Tabacon Hot Springs.
Tabacon Costa Rica Address:
Tabacon Hot Springs, Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
How to Get to Tabacon Hot Springs
in La Fortuna
By Rental Car
You can reach the Tabacon Costa Rica hot springs within a 15-minute drive by rental car. I like to reserve my car early through Discover Cars, because the last time I was in La Fortuna, all of the rental cars were sold out! So, make sure to book ahead. I like that Discover Cars compares local and international companies to find you the best deal.
Check Prices + Availability of Rental Cars in Costa Rica
Enter ‘Tabacon Hot Springs’ into Google Maps (or Waze), not ‘Tabacon Thermal Resort’ (or you’ll be taken to the wrong place), and you have yourself the best route to get there.
Otherwise, follow Route 142 westward out of downtown La Fortuna for 7 miles and your destination will be on the left.
TIP | You do not need a 4×4 vehicle to visit the Tabacon resort hot springs as the entire roadway is paved. Make sure to look out for wildlife, though!
If you don’t have a rental car, you can opt to take an official red taxi from the town centre to the entrance of the Costa Rica hot springs Tabacon. The cost will be roughly $20-25 USD return. You can find the official taxi stand on the road in front of La Fortuna central park.
TIP | Make sure your driver turns on the taxi metre to properly track your trip. Otherwise, you may fall victim to overcharging.
Who is Tabacon Hot Springs Best For
Yes, the Tabacon Hot Springs La Fortuna is a higher-end option for hot springs in Costa Rica and therefore attracts a visitor looking for luxury.
That being said, the Tabacon hot springs day pass is appropriate for any couples looking for a slice of romance, or budget travellers willing to splurge on one or two things to do in La Fortuna.
I would say, from my beautiful day spent in the thermal pool at Tabacon, that the crowd leaned more mature, with fewer children.
Tabacon does allow larger groups, but because of the more intimate nature of the hot springs pools here, groups usually opt for a La Fortuna hot spring which offers a more lively and communal environment, like Baldi Hot Springs.
Tabacon Springs is not classified as adults-only. If you do visit Tabacon with children under 16 years old make sure to keep them under constant supervision as per Tabacon policy. Note, that there is no lifeguard on duty.
If you do decide to spend a night or two at the prestigious Tabacon Resort, you will have access to the adults-only Shangri-La Garden, a guest-only area of the Tabacon La Fortuna hot springs, which is not open to visitors via the Tabacon day pass.
Best Time to Visit Tabacon Hot Springs
As one of the top hot springs in La Fortuna, and top hot springs in Costa Rica for that matter, you will find a consistent level of visitors to the Tabacon hot springs property throughout the day and year.
This is mainly because being a guest at the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa allows you free access to the Tabacon hot springs Arenal during your stay including on the day of check-in and the day of check-out providing a continuous flow of visitors enjoying the thermal pools.
Generally speaking though, the busiest times of year are in the dry season of December – April and the summer holidays from mid-June to mid-August. Shoulder seasons are great for visiting the top Costa Rica springs.
NOTE | The Tabacon Hot Springs day pass price will increase around Christmas and Easter as the resort considers these peak times
Tours of Tabacon Hot Springs
Most visitors to Tabacon hot springs resort visit via the Tabacon Hot Springs day pass. But, there are a couple of well-reviewed guided tours that include a visit to Tabacon amongst other La Fortuna attractions. So, if you don’t have access to a rental car, you can opt to take one of these tours instead:
4-in-1 Combo Tour
Soak in the Tabacon Hot Springs at the end of an adventurous day hiking the trails around Arenal Volcano, spanning the Mistico Hanging Bridges, and witnessing the magnificent La Fortuna Waterfall. You will spend 4 hours amongst the Tabacon thermal pools and enjoy a premium buffet dinner before returning to your La Fortuna resort.
Check Price + Availability of Full-Day Tabacon Tour
Arenal Volcano Hike + Natural Hot Springs River Tour
Spend a half day hiking around the picturesque Arenal Volcano and end your day in the free portion of the Tabacon thermal hot springs, located just down the river from the resort.
Check Price + Availability of Half-Day Tabacon Tour
Tabacon Hot Springs Hours
Tabacon Hot Springs is open daily from 10AM – 10PM.
The Ave Restaurant, the venue for lunch or dinner that is included in your Tabacon hot springs day pass is open 11:30AM – 9:30PM.
You can book treatments at the Tabacon Grand Spa at Tabacon resort in Costa Rica starting at 10:30AM. The last treatment starts at 5:30PM daily.
Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass: Packages + Prices
If you are unable to book a night at the Tabacon Resort & Spa, you can purchase one of the Tabacon day pass options. There is a package available for most budgets and preferences, including something for early risers, romance-seekers, and all-day soakers.
I personally partook in the Tabacon Hot Springs day pass with morning access and lunch. It was nice enjoying the thermal pools before the majority of visitors arrived. Plus, it’s an affordable option for visiting one of the top hot springs in Costa Rica.
As always, prices are subject to change without notice, so check the Tabacon Hot Springs website for the latest prices and to book your hot springs package.
Tabacon Hot Springs day passes are valid for one day only.
TIP | Tabacon sets a limit on daily visitors, so make sure to reserve early!
Entrance with Dinner
- Adults: $89 USD per person
- Children: $39 USD per child
- Valid: 10AM – 10PM
- Includes: Dinner at Ave Restaurant
Entrance with Lunch
- Adults: $89 USD per person
- Children: $39 USD per child
- Valid: 10AM – 10PM
- Includes: Lunch at Ave Restaurant
All Day Entrance with Lunch and Dinner
- Adults: $110 USD per person
- Children: $42 USD per child
- Valid: 10AM – 10PM
- Includes: Lunch & Dinner at Ave Restaurant
Morning Entrance with Lunch
- Adults: $75 USD per person
- Children: $30 USD per child
- Valid: 10AM – 2PM
- Includes: Lunch at Ave Restaurant
Evening Entrance with Dinner
- Adults: $75 USD per person
- Children: $30 USD per child
- Valid: 6PM – 10PM
- Includes: Dinner at Ave Restaurant
Tabacon Day Pass: What is Included
The Tabacon Hot Springs day pass includes access to the thermal pools and property within specified hours (check your package details), and one or two gourmet meals at the on-site Ave restaurant (also dependent on which package you choose) which include natural drinks like freshly squeezed juice.
Alcoholic beverages are not included in the Tabacon day pass and average around $12 USD per drink. You can also purchase beverages at the swim-up pool bar.
An optional towel and locker access is offered in exchange for a returnable safety deposit with unlimited access to the on-site restrooms and change rooms.
NOTE | Access to the adults-only Shangri-La Gardens is not included in the Tabacon Hot Springs day pass and is only available for guests of the Tabacon Thermal Resort.
Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass:
What to Expect
The hot springs Costa Rica Tabacon day pass comes with a few established amenities. Here’s what to expect when you visit my favourite hot springs Costa Rica Arenal has to offer:
Tabacon Hot Springs Parking
If you arrive at the Tabacon Arenal hot springs Costa Rica via your rental car, you will find a large parking lot across the street from the entrance for your convenience. The parking lot is secure with a gate and parking attendant. The parking lot for day pass holders is free of charge.
Please make sure to look both ways before crossing the street to the Tabacon entrance.
Day Pass Guest Registration
Follow the paved and covered walkway to your right upon passing the large entrance sign for Tabacon. Through the doors of the hot springs reception building, you will find the ticket counter on the right. Here, you can line up to show your reservation (on your phone is fine) to the attendant and finalize your booking.
Next, they will ask for a returnable security deposit for optional access to a towel and locker. The security deposit for the towel is $20 USD (plus tax) and $50 USD (plus tax) for the locker. Make sure to keep your key and towel with you at all times. If lost, the security deposit will not be returned.
A day pass wristband will then be applied. Please wear it at all times. This shows you are a paid guest to the Tabacon hot springs via the day pass and will be treated as such.
Lastly, they will ask you what time you prefer your meal and give you 30-minute timeslots to choose from. If you decide on the morning access pass, like I did, be aware that the restaurant that serves your lunch does not open until 11:30AM, so that will be the earliest you can eat, even if you arrive at 10AM (opening time).
Lockers, Towels + Changerooms
Okay, you are ready to embark on your epic day lounging in the thermal pools of Tabacon, a quintessential Costa Rican experience. Make your way down the stairs at the entrance and to the left.
Follow the path along the side of the building and you will find a towel pickup and dropoff counter. Show your day pass wristband here and they will provide you will one towel per person. Male and female changerooms and restrooms are separated. Male to the left of the towel counter and female to the right.
Tabacon hot springs has a large combined restroom and changeroom area and you will find everything you need here, including showers, lockers, benches and toilets. Tabacon policy indicates that all guests take a shower before entering the pools.
Tabacon Hot Springs Complex
The only hot springs in Costa Rica to boast a naturally flowing thermal river, Tabacon is a true treat to explore. Not only does it have a steamy river that offers its own waterfalls and lagoons to choose from, Tabacon also features five additional man-made natural thermal pools varying in temperature from 24-40°C.
Once exiting the change rooms, you can either explore to the right or head straight across the first bridge that spans over the natural thermal river.
Man-made Natural Thermal Pools
To the right you will find a shallow pool with a swim-up bar. Around this shrubbery-lined pool are a few sunbeds. Claim these sunbeds early otherwise they will be snatched up right away.
You can also access the Tabacon Spa from here across a picturesque bridge. Do note, spa services are not included in the day pass and are at the expense of the guest.
Crossing the main bridge you will enter a beautiful garden full of rainforest flora and fauna and a paved path snaking through the grounds. There is a cool off pool located just across the bridge.
Stroll amongst the beautiful garden paths, crossing all nine bridges at your leisure. These paths lead to several entry points to the thermal river. Each entry point will provide covered hooks for your towel and belongings. It did rain for part of my visit to the Tabacon hot springs, so access to covered hooks was really convenient.
It is important to note when entering the thermal river at Tabacon, the rocks can be slippery from a build-up of minerals and algae. Either be incredibly cautious or bring along a pair of grippy watershoes. This is what I did, and I am happy with my choice. The floor of the thermal river is comprised of rock and sand.
At the back of the property, you will notice an entry to the adults-only Shangri-La Gardens area. This cannot be entered by day pass holders and is for guests of Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort only.
Agua Ardiente Pool Bar
The Agua Ardiente Pool Bar can be found amongst the shallow man-made thermal pools to the right of the property. Saddle up to the seats accessed via the water or on the path-side of the bar. The bar offers cocktails, beer and non-alcholoic beverages at an additional cost to day pass holders. The average cost of an alcoholic cocktail at the swim-up bar is $12 USD.
The Tabacon pool bar accepts credit card and cash in payment.
Whether you choose the lunch, dinner or lunch and dinner Tabacon hot springs day pass, your meal will be served in the on-site Ave Restaurant. When it is time for your scheduled timeslot, make your way back up to the welcome centre up the stairs and turn right. Tell the host your name and they will have you seated right away.
The space is beautifully designed with open air arched windows to the surrounding rainforest. If views of the Arenal Volcano are high amongst your priorities, ask to be sat at the far left of the dining room like I did.
Next, you will receive the three-course menu with a few options to choose from for starter, main and dessert. Natural beverages like fresh juice are served complimentary. Alcoholic beverages are an additional charge.
I chose the mixed ceviche to start (and I highly recommend you do too!), the steak with jus, roasted vegetables and mashed potatoes for the main, and the dessert tasting plate to end. My partner chose the garden salad, and roasted chicken and finished with the dessert tasting plate, as well.
We both enjoyed our lunch thoroughly. The ceviche was the winner here though, for sure.
If you’ve purchased alcoholic beverages to accompany your lunch or dinner, you can settle up your bill through credit card or cash payment. Either way, make sure to leave your server a tip, 10% is customary.
From here, you can either choose to return your towel and locker key or spend more time amongst the thermal pools at this top Costa Rica hot springs Arenal (dependent on your day pass’s valid hours, of course).
Check out my favourite La Fortuna restaurants
Staying at the Tabacon Thermal
Resort & Spa
One of the premier La Fortuna lodging options and top hotels in Arenal with hot springs, the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa is a memorable stay. Hotel Tabacon Costa Rica has two separate sections to its property located within a 2-minute drive or 10-minute walk from each other.
The rooms are located at the reception, along with an additional restaurant, and two bars. Separately, the Tabacon Hot Springs, Tabacon Spa and Shangri-La Garden are situated just down the road.
Guests to the Tabacon thermal hotel will have access to a complimentary shuttle to get from the rooms to the hot springs that run several times throughout the day.
Access to the Tabacon Spa is also granted to guests of the hotel. Treatments are booked and charged additionally.
Tabacon Costa Rica rooms are light and bright with modern decor and amenities. Comfortable king-sized beds are flourished with soft white linens. A spacious bathroom boasts a large glass-encased walk-in shower with a rain shower head.
Opting for the honeymoon suite, you will be spoiled with traditional wood decor, a large bed and living space with a couch and dining table and a jet tub in your comfortable ensuite.
A superb breakfast is included in your nightly stay at the Tabacon hotel.
Hot Springs Access
Access to the hot springs is also complimentary during your stay, as well as access on the day of check-in and checkout. Tabacon resort guests also have access to the adults-only (must be over 18 years old) and a guest-only portion of the thermal river called Shangri-La Gardens.
Here you will find beautiful rainforest gardens, an outdoor bar, seating throughout and access to the hottest part of the thermal river.
The Restaurant & Bars
Located on the resort property, Tuscanes restaurant offers a-la-carte dining, gourmet cuisine and international meal options.
When requested, private dining can be arranged to offer a memorable experience in an outdoor bungalow surrounded by nature. Indulge in a 6-course meal with wine and beer pairings for your special occasion.
Costa Rica Tabacon Resort also offers two additional bars on-site. Cana Brava is the Tabacon lobby bar offering snacks and specialty rum drinks, while Bosque Bar offers tapas and cocktails created by a mixologist in a beautiful setting beside Tuscanes restaurant.
The Tabacon Spa
Located at the Tabacon Hot Springs property, the spa offers treatments that utilize the many benefits of the mineralized thermal waters, local Costa Rican ingredients and personalized care. Enjoy a massage or facial in the outdoor bungalow surrounded by the sights and sounds of the rainforest.
Book a Night at Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa
A detailed guide on the Best La Fortuna Hotels in Arenal
Tabacon Free Hot Springs La Fortuna
If partaking in a Tabacon Hot Springs day pass isn’t in the cards for you, you can enjoy a little piece of the action downriver. Otherwise known as the public hot springs or El Choyin, the free hot springs portion of Tabacon can be appreciated by all.
Park your rental car along the street in front of the Tabacon property and make your way down the path to the right of the road bridge. Watch your step here because the rocks are slippery. Wearing watershoes is recommended.
Here you can peruse the thermal river and find a spot to your liking. Stay as long as you want, since it’s free.
Do note, that the free hot springs get very busy with locals and tourists alike. So, if you’d like a good spot, arrive early! There are no amenities on site.
One of the only free La Fortuna Hot Springs Costa Rica has to offer.
What to Bring to Tabacon Hot Springs
When visiting my top pick for La Fortuna Costa Rica hot springs, there are a few important things to bring with you. Because you are visiting a naturally occuring thermal river, my top recommendation would be a good pair of grippy watershoes.
Otherwise, I love to carry my purifying reusable water bottle with me throughout my travels to reduce single-use plastic consumption.
WATER SHOES | I used my water shoes to climb around waterfalls and natural hot springs. They are particularly grippy and come in so many sizes and colours. Good for the whole fam!
HIKING SANDALS | I lived in a solid pair of hiking sandals for the entirety of my trip in Costa Rica. These sandals have great grip and strap you in so your foot doesn’t move around. Plus, they look cute, in my opinion.
RAIN JACKET | Because Costa Rica is covered in rainforest, that means the weather can be pretty unpredictable. Make sure to bring a hooded rain jacket with you that can pack up small in your day bag just in case. I definitely used mine.
WATER RESISTANT DAYPACK | Costa Rica is a wealth of adventure and with that comes multiple day trips or days spent in and out of your rental car. Make sure to have a water resistant daypack that can carry your water bottle, snacks, mosquito repellent and sunscreen.
PURIFYING REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE | I travel full time, so I’ve seen the devastation single-use plastic can have on our environment. Once I purchased this purifying reusable water bottle, I never looked back. It’s super stylish and you can recharge it through USB!
MICROFIBRE TOWEL | Costa Rica is humid, so a normal cotton towel will take forever to dry. Let’s try to avoid that moldy towel smell. For those day trips to waterfalls, hot springs, rivers and beach, make sure to carry along a microfibre quick-drying towel.
WATERPROOF PHONE CASE | Plan on repelling or canyoning down a waterfall? Snapping pics in the hot springs? You will need a good waterproof phone case.
SUNSCREEN | Y’all, the sun is HOT in Costa Rica as the country is located close to the equator. Make sure to throw on some sunscreen even if it’s cloudy out. That’s what it gets you. There are some great reef-safe sunscreens out there nowadays, so let’s protect our ocean life!
MOSQUITO REPELLENT | Yup, there are mosquitos in the rainforest, who would have thunk. I like to use a more natural mosquito repellent.
Travel Insurance for La Fortuna
La Fortuna Costa Rica is known for adrenaline-packed adventures, and with that, comes the risk of fall, injury or accident. Don’t be left with huge hospital bills and protect yourself with the right travel insurance.
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