When you’re planning a honeymoon in Costa Rica, there’s no doubt that Arenal and La Fortuna will pop up on your radar. It’s one of the most frequently visited and highly celebrated destinations in Costa Rica, known for lush, humid jungles, the towering Arenal Volcano, and enough adventure activities to please even the most adrenaline-thirsty visitor.
Even though Arenal is the adventure capital of Costa Rica, we still think it can be pretty romantic, especially when science shows there’s actually something to those thrill-seeking dates. Studies show that adrenaline rushes are closely linked to arousal and can actually lead to sexual attraction. Think about it – after days spent waterfall rappelling, hiking and zip lining, nothing sounds better than relaxing with your loved one, soaking your sore muscles in a tropical hot spring surrounded by rainforest, right? Sign us up!
With so many hot springs in the area – last we checked, there were 11, and this number is continually on the rise – it might be tough to choose the right one for you and your love, particularly if you’re on your honeymoon or celebrating a special milestone as a couple. A hot springs full of rowdy children, or noisy backpackers downing cocktails may not be quite what you have in mind. To help you decide, let us take you through the most romantic hot springs Arenal has to offer.
Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort
Tabacón Hot Springs was one of the first hot springs established in Arenal, and today, they remain Costa Rica’s largest network of naturally-flowing thermal mineral springs, surrounded by a pristine, private rainforest reserve. You will find five main springs, and dozens of cascading waterfalls and warm pools along the riverbed, all set within an intricately landscaped garden that blends seamlessly with the natural environment.
The romance factor: 9/10 There are small pools throughout the property that afford privacy for couples that want to disappear into a secluded nook. A few things to look out for – children of all ages are allowed in the springs, and during high season, evenings at Tabacón can get very crowded, so just keep in mind it may not be as private or peaceful during these times.
Insider tip: Hotel guests receive complimentary and unlimited access to the thermal river and its pools but there are two hours reserved in the springs each day for hotel guests only, so make sure you take advantage of this. Overnight guests also receive exclusive access to Shangri-La Gardens - an adults-only hideaway perfect for honeymooners looking for a quiet, secluded spot.
Pricing: adult day pass with lunch or dinner $94; night pass entrance with dinner $70 from 6-10pm.
Located just five minutes west of La Fortuna, Ecotermales Hot Springs is an ideal place for couples to spend a quiet evening in tropical paradise. There are five main springs fed by natural volcanic thermal waters in varying temperatures, waterfalls, and a freshwater pool, all surrounded by landscaped gardens. Blissfully uncrowded and paved with river stone, Ecotermales promises a romantic setting, indeed.
The romance factor: 10/10 There’s something magical about Ecotermales. Picture this: you roll up in the parking lot, and follow a walking path lit by toadstool-shaped lanterns through lush, greenery-shrouded grounds to the steaming thermal pools. Plus, with only 150 guests admitted at a time, the ambiance is guaranteed to be intimate and serene no matter what time of day you visit.
Insider tip: Make your way to the upper tier pools which is Ecotermales’ most secluded spot. The two pools are linked by a series of small waterfalls, with seats at the base that allow you to be partially submerged under the falls for a light hydro-massage.
Pricing: adult day pass with lunch or dinner $62; adult day pass entrance only $40.
The Springs Resort & Spa
It’s no surprise that the Springs Resort & Spa was selected to appear in a season of The Bachelor. It’s elegant and luxe, with two hot springs sections – Las Lagunas and Los Perdidos. With 18 thermal pools surrounded by lush grounds with unparalleled volcano views, it’s a great place to slip into complete and total relaxation for an afternoon.
The romance factor: 7/10 Las Lagunas is located at the base of the reception building, and is often overrun with hotel guests and visitors. For more privacy, follow a trail lined by a variety of flowering heliconia plants into the lush forest valley that surrounds Los Perdidos. The vegetation is thick here, and it rarely gets crowded, making for a serene, quiet ambiance perfect for couples and honeymooners.
Insider’s tip: In addition to a beautiful hot springs experience, check out the Springs Resort & Spa’s preserve for rescued animals, some of which have been donated and others rescued from poachers. You can get up close and personal with ocelots, monkeys, macaws and even a puma! Bonus!
Pricing: adult day pass $65.
If you notice a few – or several – names missing from this list (Baldi Springs, Titokú, and Los Lagos to name just a few), that’s by design! Each of the hot springs in the Arenal area have their pros and cons, but they’re not all a great fit for a couple trying to connect and enjoy one another’s company. Some springs are more family-focused, others boast a party atmosphere more appropriate for groups and singles, yet others lack the lush green surrounds, or beautiful views that help to create a secluded, romantic vibe.
No trip to Costa Rica is complete without a visit to La Fortuna. It’s a tourist favorite, packed with exciting things to do and see, an array of luxury hotels, volcanoes to hike, and jungles teeming with exotic wildlife. It’s paradise, plain and simple, a place where adventure and romance go hand in hand, and the perfect addition to your honeymoon itinerary. Oh, and the hot springs? Those are the cherry on top.
Get some more inspiration with our complete guide to planning your Costa Rica honeymoon.