(2021) Tabacon Hot Springs Review: La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide

Last updated on April 22nd, 2021 at 03:55 pm EST

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We’ve experienced all 12 hot springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica!
Continue reading below to read about our visits to Costa Rica’s Tabacon Hot Springs.

Overall Tabacon Hot Springs quality: 9/10
Best feature(s) that influenced our rating (see below for our full review):

This article offers our review of the Tabacon Hot Springs. Don’t miss all of the hot springs reviews we include in our La Fortuna Hot Springs Guide:

*****

Get the Costa Rica info you need by browsing our article’s TABLE OF CONTENTS:

An overview of the Tabacon Hot Springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica

If you’ve already conducted a bit of research on hot springs options in La Fortuna, you’ve no doubt already heard of the Tabacon Hot Springs. They’re easily one of the most well-known and well-loved hot springs attractions in all of Costa Rica. They also come with one of the highest price tags for hot springs passes, which may have you asking yourself: “What’s so great about the Tabacon Hot Springs?” and “Are they worth the added expense?”

Before we get to our review of the Tabacon Hot Springs below, we’ll start by clarifying some misinformation. Through several sources are quick to (erroneously) state that the attraction is Arenal’s only natural hot springs, the more accurate statement is: the Tabacon Hot Springs are the only hot springs attraction in the Arenal area that has a non-pumped (i.e., free-flowing) hot spring river. Like most other hot springs attractions in La Fortuna, the Tabacon Hot Springs also has man-made hot spring pools.

To confirm, all hot springs attractions in La Fortuna are “natural” in the sense that they deliver mineral-rich thermal water that comes from the Arenal Volcano. Some hot springs in La Fortuna pump that water up from the ground into pools. Hot spring pools at inexpensive attractions often resemble swimming pools and hot spring pools at more expensive attractions tend to look like elegant lagoons. A few hot springs attractions around Arenal have a series of connected pools you can soak in where thermal water flows freely from one pool to the next. The Tabacon Hot Springs is one such attraction. What makes the Tabacon Hot Springs unique, however, is that its thermal water reaches the property from above the ground (via a mountain-fed river) as opposed to below the ground (via a pump that taps into an underground spring).

It’s important to reiterate that the non-pumped (i.e., free-flowing) hot spring river at the Tabacon Hot Springs is just that: a river. Though the shape of its in-river pools were created in part with concrete, the majority of the river isn’t artificial. It’s edged by slippery rocks, it has a stony bottom that can sometimes feel slimy (use of water shoes is recommended), and it’s full of fast-moving water. If you’d prefer to visit an attraction with hot springs that are easy to slip into, relax in, and climb out of, you may want to rethink spending extra money on Tabacon. If you’re in search of a paradisaical hot springs experience that invites you to be at one with nature, the raw oasis you’ll find at the Tabacon Hot Springs is unmatched elsewhere in the region.

Who should (and who shouldn’t) visit the Tabacon Hot Springs

Consider choosing the Tabacon Hot Springs if you’re looking for a hot springs site to enjoy on your own, or with a friend or significant other. Though the property does welcome groups, such as family groups, friend groups, school groups, and sports teams, the thermal-water river doesn’t offer a ton of space to comfortably spread out in, and the atmosphere is more calm and romantic than communal and entertaining.

If your budget is tight, it would be best to choose a different hot springs attraction, as Tabacon Hot Springs passes are some of the most expensive passes around. If you can afford the splurge, great! If you can’t, consider visiting one of La Fortuna’s many other (less expensive) hot spring sites instead. To read the reviews we wrote for other hot springs attractions in the Arenal area, don’t miss the links at the top of this article.

If you wish to stay at a La Fortuna hotel that has hot springs on-site, you can choose the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, the resident hotel of the Tabacon Hot Springs. It’s important to note, however, that the Tabacon Themal Resort & Spa’s on-site hot springs are accessible to the public via the purchase of a hot springs pass; they are not reserved for hotel guests. If you’d prefer to stay at a La Fortuna hotel that limits hot springs access to hotel guests only, it would be best to choose a different hotel.

Learn what to expect from Costa Rica’s La Fortuna Hot Springs according to which hot springs attraction you plan to visit

Want to know what kind of thermal water experience you’ll have before you decide which hot springs in La Fortuna is the best to visit? We’ve got you covered. Not only have we personally experienced 12 different hot springs attractions in Costa Rica’s La Fortuna area alone, we’ve written a review of each La Fortuna hot springs property to help you decide for yourself which is most deserving of your time and money. Below is our review of the Tabacon Hot Springs attraction which documents the following:

  • Location: Where you’ll find the hot springs property, complete with the hot springs’ physical address and a map
  • Hours: When you can visit the hot springs property during the day and throughout the week
  • Price range: A range of prices you can expect to pay for a hot springs pass with or without a meal included (prices are subject to change without notice)
  • Reservations: A confirmation of whether advance reservations are required to acquire a hot springs pass
  • Size and design: Whether you can expect to enjoy and explore a small, medium, or large hot springs property
  • Popularity: Whether you can expect to be joined by crowds at the hot springs
  • Pools and rivers: What you can expect to find at the hot springs in terms of thermal-water pools and rivers
  • Additional on-site features: What else you can expect to find at the hot springs in addition to thermal-water pools/rivers
  • Atmosphere: What type of ambiance you can expect to find at the hot springs
  • Dining: Whether you can expect to eat and/or drink on-site at the hot springs
  • Accommodations: Whether the hot springs property offers a hotel on-site
  • Towels and lockers: Whether you can expect to receive and/or pay for towels and lockers at the hot springs
  • Parking: Whether you can expect to find parking at the hot springs
  • 4×4 vehicle required: Whether a 4×4 vehicle is required to reach the hot springs
  • Alternative hot springs names: Other names for the hot springs property that locals, GPS navigational systems, and maps may cite

Our La Fortuna Hot Springs rating system

We also rate Costa Rica’s La Fortuna hot springs according to a 1-10 scale (1 being the worst and 10 being the best). If you’re short on time, visit each hot springs review page on our blog (we’ve written one review for each hot springs property in La Fortuna; see the top of this article for links to each review) and look for the scale to quickly identify how we rate the hot springs.

The scales look like this:

The above image depicts the lowest rating (the overall hot springs quality is 1 out of 10)

and this:

The above image depicts the highest rating (the overall hot springs quality is 10 out of 10)

To learn which rating we gave the Tabacon Hot Springs, please see the rating provided at the top of this article.

Tabacon Hot Springs photo gallery

We took the below photos during our most recent visit to the Tabacon Hot Springs. Click on any photo below to view a larger version.

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