Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs

Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs

We had one final day left in Costa Rica and, wanting to make the most of every moment, we had one final tour left. This was to visit Arenal Volcano and Tabacon Hot Springs. We thought this might be a nice relaxing way to spend our last day after the epic two day tour to Tortuguero! This was the only tour we planned that wasn’t a private one so we were picked up by the bus along with all the other tourists (mainly Americans!) On the way to the volcano we stopped in a village called Sarchi which was famous for making traditional decorated oxcarts, where the world’s largest one was on display! A quick stop at a church and souvenir shop and we were back on the road to the volcano……a long road!

The world’s largest oxcart

The volcano itself is one of Costa Rica’s 7 active volcanoes although not much activity has happened in the last 6 years or so. Apparently, when it is active, you can see it glowing orange from the lava at night. Unlike Poas you can’t get close to the crater here as it’s too dangerous but you can access a viewpoint 1km away. Arenal is a very pretty volcano as you can see the different colours down the slopes, almost like rivers, formed by the old ash and lava. More photos added to the collection we then went down the road to Tabacon Hot Springs.


Now, this place was pure relaxation. Hot springs resulting from the volcano have been incorporated into this hotel/spa. There are several natural pools and waterfalls of varying temperatures (average around 38 degrees Celsius) all of which you can swim in. We were warned not to spend too long in the hottest pools though as it can raise your blood pressure – problematic for some people. We spent three hours here just enjoying the swimming and beautiful gardens that they had sculpted around them (and obviously the swim up bar!) The heat even helped me feel a bit better as I was still suffering the after effects of my gastroenteritis! Before we left we enjoyed a delicious buffet meal, our last one in Costa Rica!

This place topped off the whole trip for me, a great way to finish and if I came back to Costa Rica I wouldn’t hesitate in booking a room here!


So, I came to the end of my trip. When asking my travel buddies what their highlight was there were a variety of answers, mainly because it was all so incredible. The country is incredible, the people are incredible and their stories are incredible. These trips always make me realise that even the most humble and ordinary people are interesting. It might be something that happened to them, something they’ve done or something they are passionate about but whatever it is, if you look hard enough, you will find something fascinating about every person you meet in this world. You just have to be willing to listen, as for some it will not always be obvious on the surface but it is there. But the biggest thing I was reminded of on this trip was how beautiful this planet is and how we really aren’t trying hard enough to protect it.

Finally, some tips if you plan to travel to Costa Rica:

  1. Do not eat strawberries and cheese from road side sellers – pretty sure this is what made me ill!
  2. Only use red licensed taxis in San Jose otherwise you will get ripped off……they might still overcharge though! You can use Uber here but be warned you may end up with a driver in a hoodie telling you that you will die if you go to Venezuela (true story.)
  3. If you transit in America leave plenty of time between flights (at least 3 hours). I nearly missed my connecting flight in Houston because of the huge immigration/security queues and spent 2 and half hours queuing in Newark on the way back.
  4. Finally, be aware of April Fools! The wildlife center tricked us into thinking we had to empty the entire swimming pool with cups – doh!!


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