Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica: A Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass Guide

tabacon hot springs with tiered water flowing amongst dense rainforest

Deemed the most popular hot springs in La Fortuna, and the best hot springs in Costa Rica overall, Tabacon Hot Springs is a step above the rest. The most common way to experience Tabacon 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.

Tabacon Hot Springs: Quick Guide

Tabacon, Bridges, Waterfall + Volcano
Volcano + The Free Tabacon Hot Springs River


Tabacon Thermal Resort and Spa

About Tabacon Hot Springs

thermal river at hot springs in la fortuna

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.

tabacon hot springs day pass grants access to many manmade thermal pools

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. This hot spring is one of the most popular activities when it comes to what to do in La Fortuna, and for good reason.

Who is Tabacon Hot Springs Best For

woman in white walks along a path beside the tabacon hotsprings

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.

Tours that Include Tabacon Hot Springs

a woman flips her hair on a bridge over springs in costa rica

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

a woman sits in the springs at tabacon thermal resort spa

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.

Is the Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass Worth It?

Yes, absolutely! It was by far my favourite La Fortuna hot springs due to its quality and offerings. I loved the luxurious feel and inclusion of a gourmet meal in the available options. The swim-up bar was also something I loved. Even though it’s one of Costa Rica’s most popular hot springs, I still found it an intimate experience with privacy and serenity offered throughout the property.

Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass Packages + Prices

pool at tabacon resort Costa Rica

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 official Tabacon Hot Springs website for the latest prices and to book your hot springs package.

hot springs in arenal pool with lush greenery

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!

What is Included in the Tabacon Day Pass

a woman walks across a bridge at the hot springs at tabacon resort costa rica

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.

What to Expect of the Tabacon Hot Springs Day Pass

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

sign for tabacon hot springs in costa rica

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

costa rica thermal springs wooden sign post with lifeguard ring and jungle

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

tabacon hot spring costa rica pool with canopy sun beds behind

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. 

Thermal River

gushing tiered costa rica tabacon hot springs

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. 

Shangri-La Gardens

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

costa rica hot springs tabacon 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.

Ave Restaurant

resort hot springs restaurant

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

tabacon resort hot springs cafe

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.

The Meal

meal at the Ave Restaurant at one of the best hot springs la fortuna has

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).

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.

Here are some other essentials to bring to Tabacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica:

Free Tabacon Hot Springs Option

Tabacon free hot springs La Fortuna
Tabacon Hot Springs Free Option across the Road

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.

Best Time to Visit Tabacon Hot Springs

views of misty arenal volcano at tabacon costa rica

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

Where is Tabacon Hot Springs

a woman in a white dress strolls across a bridge at tabacon hot spring

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 hot springs map

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. 

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!

By Taxi

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.

Visiting Tabacon Hot Springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica FAQ

I have included answers to the most frequently asked questions:

The Tabacon hot springs property is open from 10AM – 10PM daily.

The naturally thermal river and man-made pools at Tabacon range from 24-40°C.

No, Tabacon resort is not adults-only and accepts guests of all ages. If you spend a night at the Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa, you will have access to the adults-only area of the Tabacon Hot Springs.

The Tabacon resort offers complimentary breakfast to its hotel guests.

From downtown La Fortuna, follow Route 142 westward for 11.6km until you reach a bridge in the road just past the Tabacon property. Park on the side of the road and follow the path to the right of the bridge down to the thermal river.

Day pass holders can park at the free gated parking lot across the road from the entrance.

The creator and owner of Tabacon Hot Springs and Tabacon Thermal Resort is architect Jaime Mikowski.

The original Tabacon property that included the hot springs, restaurant and spa opened in 1991. The hotel complex opened in 1997.

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