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ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

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rochester, NY
Level Contributor
34 posts
66 reviews
ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

Hi, We'd like to do the hot springs while in the area. Which of these two is the nicest experience? If the answer is Tabacon, we might decide to stay there to build in the cost. Thanks so much!

Tilaran, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
550 posts
44 reviews
1. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

Have you decided where to stay? I heard a lot of good things about Tabacon. It's a high-end hot spring so the price is also quite high. Eco termales is more intimate but gets full very quickly so you need to pre-book it.

I stayed at El Silencio del Campo. They have their own hot spring. Although not as fancy as Tabacon and Eco termales, all the pools were clean, water was hot, and the bar (although not a swim-up bar) was right there. While we were there, the hotel wasn't busy so we had the pool almost like private. Depends what you like. We thought it was good enough for us. We paid $145 a night with breakfast included (the food in their restaurant was awesome).

La Fortuna de San...
Destination Expert
for La Fortuna de San Carlos
Level Contributor
1,200 posts
7 reviews
2. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

Both Ecotermales and Tabacon are very nice. It depends on what you are seeking. Ecotermales is less expensive, which may or may not be a factor. It is also a little more conveniently located.

Ecotermales only accepts 100 people at a time, so there are less people and the service is more personalized. Though we have been there a couple times, we never ate at their restaurant. Others on the forum often comment that the food is good.

Tabacon is much larger and also accepts more people. The thing I like about it is it has a more natural feel and you can always find your own private spot. The food can be hit or miss as we have been when the food was quite good and other times felt more like a leftover buffet.

Atlanta, GA
Level Contributor
307 posts
1 review
3. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

I'm in explorinCA's camp on this one. The actual springs at Tabacon are spectacular, but the food can be hit or miss, and it can get crowded. Staying at Tabacon the Tucanes restaurant is MUCH better (but more expensive) and you have the added benefit of being able to access the springs whenever you want and can avoid some of the crowds of day trippers. Ecotermales is smaller and more of a local type experience, the gardens are not as lush and the pools are not as hot. People seem to love both, regardless.

Arenal Kioro is another more upscale option for a resort with onsite springs, they don't allow day passes to the ones on property and have a lot of nice private areas. Titoku is their public hot springs, they'll run about the same as Tabacon, but will include breakfast and youll have better views of the volcano from there.

Level Contributor
126 posts
26 reviews
4. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

We loved Ecotermales and went there because we wanted a more low key experience. It was beautiful, the springs were VERY hot, and the included dinner was excellent. I liked the whole vibe. We stayed at Lost Iguana which also had a low-key feel. Didn't visit Tabacon, but the entrance is mobbed compared the the quiet of Ecotermales.

Destination Expert
for Arenal Volcano National Park, La Fortuna de San Carlos
Level Contributor
5,466 posts
153 reviews
5. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

We thought Tabacon was beautiful, but maybe a bit overpriced and it was crowded for us. Eco Termales is smaller, charming, locally owned, and they serve a good chicken dinner. Tabacon is bigger and more elaborate with a water slide, etc. Like everyone else said, both are nice, just depends on your own personal preferences. I love that Eco T limits the number of people who can enter, so it doesn't get too crowded.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
45,028 posts
30 reviews
6. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

Tabacon is lovely...expensive but great...food is the worst and expensive...if you stay at the hotel it make sense...if you are just a one day visitor...way to much money...really very close to a real ripoff..

Eco Termales is a family run operation...the nicest family you can ever meet...incredible nice and decent...I love the Chicken dinner as a combo with the entrance fee...


Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
Level Contributor
7,567 posts
43 reviews
7. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

This is a tough one really. I totally dig both places but as has been pointed out there are some big differences.

Eco Termales is smaller, never crowded, excellent food

Tabacon has more pools, can fill up, is expensive, and food not so great.

As I said I like both but I prefer Tabacon a little more because of the number of pools available and different temperatures of water. I like going from one temperature to another from cold to piping hot.

I dont go to any springs based on food, I go based on basting my bod, and Tabacon works like a charm.

Either one you will dig for sure, I think that is a guarantee. If you go to Tabacon go and explore, most of the crowds are found around the main pool and waterfall, but I have always been able to find pools with nobody around if you move further from the entrance area.


Pensacola, Florida
Level Contributor
848 posts
265 reviews
8. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

We just returned from our anniversary trip. While there, we decided that we were going to try out as many of the hot springs as we had time for. We visited Tabacon, Ecotermales, the new Springs Resort and the new hot pools at Los Lagos. Each has it's own good and bad points, so I am sure you can find both pro and con sides for each one. Here is my take on each. The bottom of the spectrum would be Los Lagos. The last time we were here several years ago, they just had a warm pool with swim up bar. Now they have added several pools of varying temperatures from about 105 Degf down to the warm pool with swim up bar. It is OK but as I said I would rate it at the bottom of the list. For a budget, a hotel stay with the springs here would be a good choice. Next up for me would be Ecotermales. Again it had been several years since we had been here, and there were a lot of improvements. They now have four pools, two large warm pools and two smaller hotter pools, The key to this one is that it is more intimate with the limit of people and they offer the dinner package with the hot springs. It is pretty good, and the dinners are very good if you opt for that, but there is no hotel rooms on the property, so there is no way to combine this with a room stay. I would rate this below tabacon and the Springs Resort for the overall experience. The next for me would be Tabacon. Even though this is normally considered the best of the Hot Springs, I try to judge the overall experience. I think that the springs themselves are extremely nice,as is the overall appearance of the hot springs. To me the negatives here are, most of the "pools" have rock bottoms, that make it almost a necessity to wear water shoes while using them. You also need to exercise caution around the seating and step areas. I split open my big toe on a sharp edge on one of these. The dinning here is not the best, and there is no limit to the number of people that they allow in, so the pools can get really crowded. Of course, there is a hotel here, so you can combine a stay with the springs, but now you must stay two days not just one, as in the past. My top pick is the new Springs Resort. This was a little objective on my part, but here is why I chose it the best. There are hot pools by the main building complete with a swim up bar. Then there are several pools along the roadway to the hotel rooms that the refer to as the Perdido Springs. These are the ones that we liked the best at the main resort area. Then the best of the best, are the new pools that have been built since the earthquake. There were new springs that were opened up by the earthquake that the owner, Mr. Banks quickly saw as a way to add new pools to the Club Rio Experience. These new pools have a high mineral content which is obvious by the slight odor of the sulfer and they are very warm. I spent a while in these new pools and the toe that I split at Tabacon was greatly improved from the minerals in these free flowing pools. The resort, as is typical of any of the properties owned by the Banks family, is beauriful. You can not only do the hot springs, but there are other activites including hiking., kayaking, tubing, as well as a big cat exhibit. They are working on other exhibits, so you can certainly make a whole day out of this experience. The hotel here is expensive, but it was probably the nicest place we stayed on our entire trip. The food is excellent as well. Both my wife and I agree, when we come back, this will probably be our one and only place to stay in the area.

San Jose, Costa Rica
Level Contributor
731 posts
9. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

Most of what needed saying has been said. In terms of landscape architecture and scope, Tabacon is in a class by themselves. Ecotermales is much more intimate, but very, very beautiful. And the water's plenty hot. The Springs has a much more developed and somewhat artificial feel to it, although their riverside Club Rio is top notch and unique. This is especially good choice for families.

There's also a new option, Paradise Hot Springs, next to Baldi (which I don't enjoy) and Tikotu. Both Paradise and Tikotu are small, uncrowded and decent options. Also, Los Laureles is a little further down heading from Eco Termales to Tabacon, on the right. Lacks ambiance, in my opinion.

rochester, NY
Level Contributor
34 posts
66 reviews
10. Re: ecotermales vs. Tabacon hot springs

Thanks so much all of you for the time you took to answer this. We so appreciate it and when we meet tonight now we'll be able to come up with the right place for us. Wonderful help, thanks!!

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