My wife and I enjoyed our stay at Tabacon. This was our first trip to Costa Rica and we were looking for a comfortable resort to decompress. Tabacon did well.
Driving to LaFortuna (or any other place in Costa Rica) was a bit more trouble than we expected. This is why I would recommend not renting a car to get to Tabacon. Arrange for transportation from San Jose through the resort and let your Tico driver deal with the local conditions. You'll thank yourself for doing so.
The restaurant was decent, but pricy. That's mitigated by the fact that you are in a remote location on the planet. We enjoyed the food, the service was mostly friendly, however one of the waiters we had seemed miffed when we had menu questions/ food requests.
The hot springs were indeed hot and a very interesting experience. The thermal swim up bar was fun and the informal restaurant at the hot springs was nice for lunch.
While hot springs are nice, since the weather is warm and humid, a cool water pool would be a nice addition to the resort. The coolest water is in the main pool, next to the formal restaurant. It's the farthest away from the volcanic source, but the water is still warm.
The hotel was very good about setting up well run, guided activities, i.e. volcano hikes, canopy tours, etc. We made the mistake, however, of taking our tour book seriously about taking a day trip from LaFortuna to the Monteverde Cloud Forest region. The hotel did their best to recommend a LaFortuna canopy tour, but we wanted to go to Monteverde. It's quite an undertaking. Jeep ride to the lake...boat across the lake...then a long jeep ride over dirt roads to Monteverde...then back again by dark. In short, we spent way too much time trying to get there and back in a day. If you want to see Monteverde...stay in Monteverde.
If you have the budget, Tabacon is a good choice. I'm sure there are other nice places in LaFortuna as well. Shop around.
Costa Rica is a beautiful country with very nice people. The Ticos were very welcoming and we would return. But we wouldn't rent a car. The second half of our trip was to the Manuel Antonio National Park near Quepos. After the very long drive from LaFortuna, across two dilapidated bridges (which are being replaced as we speak, we arrived at Manuel Antonio only to find that there is frequent air service from San Jose (approx 20 minute flight). Usually we do better homework prior to a trip like this, but we've had very busy schedules due to some family illnesses and didn't consider transportation options other than a car rental. We travel extensively and have rented cars in other countries, but good roads in Costa Rica are still being constructed. Our trip back to San Jose for our flight home was nearly 8 hours long (should have been 3 hours). CR route 3 is a direct, but mountainous, route from Manuel Antonio area back to San Jose. The day we had to return to SJ, the entire country of Costa Rica was having a traffic jam. (yikes!!!) So if you don't need a car, don't rent one. There are many transit options available to you.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Nestled in the heart of the tropical rainforest at the base of the majestic Arenal Volcano in the northern Region of Costa Rica. This five-star carbon neutral resort offers a unique blend of nature, adventure and relaxation. A member of The Leading Hotels of the World, Tabacon provides luxurious accommodations, services and amenities in a picture-perfect natural setting. The resort's unique healing thermal mineral spring river emerge from the volcanic earth, cascading to form waterfalls, streams, tranquil pools and ponds. Explore Shangri-La Gardens an hotel guests and adults-only hideaway, delight your senses with world- class cuisine inspired by local fares or surprise that special person with a gala dinner in the middle of the rainforest. Inside the gardens is the resort's Grand Spa, member of The Leading Spas of the World which combines a beautiful location with a singular spa experience, where treatments are rendered in open air bungalows all of them with private jacuzzi. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Tabacon Grand Hotel Thermal
- Tabacon Grand Resort Thermal
- Tabacon Resort
- Tabacon Hot Springs
- Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park