The vibrant capital city of San Jose, Costa Rica is located in the middle of one of the most biodiverse countries on the planet. There are more than a dozen hot springs nearby that make for a fun day or overnight trip.
Next time you’re on your way to find a sloth or hike through a cloud forest, stop over at one of these not-to-be-missed hot springs. San Jose is the bustling urban sprawl where most tourists first land before taking buses out to other, more natural parts of the country to see wildlife or pristine beaches. Often, the thermal springs are overlooked.
Here are the hot springs near San Jose, Costa Rica, in order of proximity:
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Termales Hacienda Orosi – 47 km
Part of the adventure of Termales Hacienda Orosi is the scenic hour-and-a-half drive southeast of downtown San Jose. Seven pools with water from 93℉ to 102℉ (34-39℃) are perched high above the Orosi Valley. It’s a relaxing way to start any trip to Tapaní National Park.
Manmade rock pools with large in-water boulders to lay out on also gives guests nearly 360° views of the Cerro Barba de Viejo and the stern-looking Irazú and Turrialba volcanoes. Day or night passes can be purchased, and local delicacies from the on-site restaurant are sourced directly from the valley it sits in.
While you’re in the area, don’t miss out on a visit to see the farm animals at La Granja de la Hacienda or a tour–with plenty of photo ops–through one of the oldest coffee-growing regions in Costa Rica. Hikers and bird-watchers can glimpse some of the 225+ species in Orosi Valley.
Orosi al Natural Spa – 49 km
Orosi al Natural Spa also takes advantage of the geothermal activity in the area. The spring-fed outdoor swimming pool is a great way to view the area. The water is just over four feet (130cm) deep.
As the name implies, you’ll also have access to a full-service spa that is proud to only use products from within Costa Rica. Aside from all the normal treatments, the spa offers a six-person whirlpool (95℉/35℃), a Finnish sauna, a Turkish bath (104℉/40℃ steam room with 95% humidity), showers, a reading and relaxation room, and outdoor treatment bungalows.
When hunger strikes, guests can enjoy locally sourced ingredients that shine through fresh fruit juices, sandwiches, pasta, and salads at the cafe. You won’t be able to spend the night at the spa, but you can contact partner hotels for comfortable lodging options.
Termales del Bosque – 100 km
Soak surrounded by lush palms and all the jungle wildlife at Termales del Bosque. Just 30 miles from La Fortuna Waterfall, eight pools with temperatures from 90℉ to 118℉ (32-48℃) sit next to a rushing river and are encircled by wooden and stone decks for additional ambiance.
Breathtaking views of the rolling green hills are seen from the restaurant, bar, shared lounge, and flower-filled garden. Lodging options from the standard double all the way up to private bungalows with four beds have plenty of views as well.
When you’re ready to get out of the pools, you can follow up your soak with some time in the sauna or get adventurous with a horseback ride. Hungry guests will be happy to know that there is no shortage of food coming out of the kitchen here, so enjoy the delicious dishes made possible by the fertile land around the property.
Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hot Springs – 119 km
There’s a reason Chachagua Rainforest Hotel & Hot Springs has won Trip Advisor’s “Travelers’ Choice” Award three years in a row. It’s a jungle paradise with 94 hectares of secondary rainforest backed up by the country’s largest private nature reserve. It’s also just 20 minutes from Arenal volcano and the many activities of the area.
Only 28 one to two-bedroom villas and bungalows built into the natural landscape is offered in order to assure top service to all guests. Wildlife runs amuck, and the many walking trails are the perfect place to see it all. On-site tours for seeing rainforest birds, frogs, and other creatures that come out at night are a hit with guests.
Multiple levels of spring-fed pools are designed to feel like you stumbled upon an oasis in the jungle–privacy included. There’s even a waterfall running into one part of the complex. The property’s restaurant serves cuisine with a Costa Rican flair from their own organic fields.
Bio Thermales Hot Springs – 129 km
Nine freeform pools on 35 acres of the rainforest make up the property Bio Thermales Hot Springs sits on. This rural eco-lodge prides itself on having “minimal barriers to nature” and is very focused on protecting its part of the rainforest. They’ve already planted over 400 native trees, vines, and plants on their land for the forest animals to eat, live in, and climb on.
Budget-minded travelers who aren’t looking for a luxury spa will find lovely casitas with numerous thoughtful touches. They feature porches and handcrafted doors, rocking chairs, swings, and artistic trim, which come from naturally harvested–aka already fallen or damaged–trees on the property.
Pools range from 90℉ (32℃) in the cool mineral pool to 105℉ (40℃) in one of the grotto pools. Guests with day passes can also access pools, a bathhouse, picnic tables, grills, the volleyball court, and an old-fashioned treehouse for kids. Limited food, drinks, and supplies are sold on-site, so try to bring everything you need.
Dr. Paradise Hot Springs – 134 km
Dr. Paradise Hot Springs, with its ten spring-fed pools, is a playground for guests of every age. The large complex is built into the lush landscape with covered picnic tables and beach chairs throughout the pool areas.
A pirate ship, waterslides, and a playground will keep kids and kids at heart busy all day. Large soaking pools, a swim-up bar, mini waterfalls, and beautifully landscaped gardens help everyone else spend the time getting fully relaxed. Water is between 95℉ and 113℉ (35-45℃).
Forest trails, food services, and a soccer field are available to keep everyone entertained when they dry out. Basic rooms are available to spend the night when one afternoon just isn’t enough.
Paradise Hot Springs – 135 km
Paradise Hot Springs is a jungle paradise that gives a new meaning to million-dollar views. Eight natural hot springs pools and jacuzzis with hydromassage blend seamlessly into the trees along with rustic colonial rooms, luxury suites, and villas with rooftop terraces.
Underwater stone lounge chairs with cup holders for those poolside drinks from the swim-up bar are fantastic. Head to the open-air restaurant for more formal meals of fresh Costa Rican fare. Many pools also have accessible, beach-style entrances.
Guests can enjoy a wide array of facials, body treatments, and massages. Those with extra energy can work it off in the on-site fitness room with large windows that stare into the leafy surroundings.
Baldi Hot Springs Resort & Spa – 135 km
Baldi Hot Springs Resort & Spa claims to be the largest hot springs in the world. Complete with 25 thermal pools with waterfalls (93-152℉/34-67℃), a mini waterpark, and a Jacuzzi for 60 people, it’s not a surprise.
It’s fun for all ages. Kids love the slides that zip through the trees, and adults love stone beach chairs that are at perfect soaking depth, the full spa…and the three swim-up bars. Pools vary in size and temperature, but there is always a cold pool nearby strategically located for those who want to do circuits.
You can spend the night in one of 32 rooms for all different budgets, most of which have balconies or terraces with views of Arenal. Two fine dining restaurants serve both Costa Rican and Italian cuisines.
Kalambu Hot Springs – 135 km
As one of the newer resorts in the Arenal area, Kalambu Hot Springs differentiates itself with the addition of multiple thrill-inducing waterslides. Younger children will love the water playground that still makes use of the hot springs water but is a bit cooler.
Two thermal pools with wet bars, one highlighting waterfalls streaming down various rock features, are also a hit with guests. If you’re looking for a quieter soak, pick the one marked “adults only”.
A casual restaurant offers Costa Rican classics and cafe food. Entry fees can include meals if desired. There are no rooms on site for overnight guests but plenty in the area.
Eco Termales Fortuna – 135 km
Arenal is full of wonderful places to soak in the healing water of hot springs, but Eco Termales Fortuna asserts they’re the only place in the area where the water springs up naturally vs. being piped in. The 90-106℉ (32-41℃) water in this family-owned oasis has a magmatic origin and many healing properties.
Guests can cycle through healing hot-cold-rest circuits, shifting between six hot springs pools, a waterfall, and a spring with cool fresh water. In addition, there are two pools with typical chlorine-treated water.
Two bars, one next to the hot springs with poolside service and one on a terrace with pond and rainforest views, provide exotic drinks wherever you are. Home-style Costa Rican food is served in the restaurant, and the integrated waste disposal system throughout the property processes any waste created.
Post-dinner walks on the paved and lit trails through the rainforest provide an opportunity to see wildlife after dark.
Volcano Lodge & Springs – 137 km
Eco-focused Volcano Lodge & Springs is another oasis in a rainforest clearing with two hot spring pools with a swim-up bar, colorfully lit to set the mood after dark. Pools vary in temperature, and two cold water swimming pools can be used for circuits among the tropical gardens.
Jump into two hot springs-fed Jacuzzis to relax or take a more active approach by booking activities like cooking classes and organized volcano hikes at the front desk. You can also stay close to home with a casual hike through the property. There’s even a playground for the kids.
Some of the 64 modern rooms and suites have private terraces and their very own private-plunge hot springs. Guests can also leave the stress behind in the lounge, billiards, and reading areas. Three bars and a bistro with locally sourced ingredients help, too.
Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs – 138 km
Another local gem is Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs, a tranquil resort where even the suites have water-based relaxation in the form of hydromassage tubs. If the swim-up bar with a lunch menu doesn’t ease your stress, the range of spa offerings definitely will.
Two large, open hot springs pools with views of Arenal are the highlight. The Jacuzzi is a great place to kick back, too. Note that the main pool is accessible with ramp-like entrances.
They boast three suite types, Junior, Superior, and Premium. Action-packed adventures can be booked through the hotel, and when you’ve built up an appetite, you can head back to a wonderful meal at one of two on-site restaurants. One helps set Arenal Manoa apart by offering savory wood-fired pizza.
Nayara Springs – 138 km
Seclusion and luxury are the first words most often used when speaking about Nayara Springs, an adults-only resort featured multiple times in Travel and Leisure and Condé Nast Traveler. It’s romantic escapism at its finest: private spring-fed plunge pools, hammocks on your jungle-view balcony, and a massage in the open-air spa in the canopy of the rainforest.
Private tours are curated by staff specifically for you to enjoy the surrounding area. Cultural, agricultural, and adrenaline-seeking options make this hard to pass up. Start your day in yoga class and end it in the elaborately decorated upscale restaurant run by a Michelin-starred chef.
Stay overnight in one of the luxurious Springs Villas. Spend the time in between taking in the sloth sanctuary and watching for exotic birds. From bath towel animals to gourmet options at the espresso bar, no detail goes overlooked here.
Hotel Arenal Paraíso Resort & Spa – 138 km
If you’re looking for a place with comfortable rooms, private wood cabins, or full-fledged villas for larger groups, Hotel Arenal Paraíso Resort & Spa is a wonderful option. The on-site restaurant has 360 degrees of window perfect for spotting local wildlife.
Immerse yourself in nature in one of the 11 hot springs pools of varying temperatures dropped throughout the jungle. Many of them have volcano views you’ll remember forever.
Zipline tours and horseback riding will keep everyone busy when they’re on dry land, and the spa will be there to de-stress at the end of the day. What better way to wind down than a chocolate massage in the jungle?
Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa – 141 km
Tabacón Thermal Resort & Spa runs its luxurious, carbon-neutral hot springs without any pumps or mechanical circulation mechanisms at the base of the Arenal Volcano. For some, it’s easy to see why a property full of calming streams, cascading waterfalls, and an adults-only section would become one of the most well-known in the country.
The feeling of seclusion permeates the tropical foliage from the man-made pools (72-122℉/25-50℃) to the walking trails. A full-service spa also offers yoga and meditation.
Overnight guests can book one of 105 eco-friendly guest rooms with views. Two restaurants and four bars serve gastronomic masterpieces from morning to night.
The Springs Resort & Spa – 142 km
The Springs Resort & Spa is split into two sections: Los Lagunas and Perdido Springs. Los Lagunas consists of 12 multi-level pools (86-103℉/30-39℃), four of which are chlorinated and the other eight filled with runoff from the main spring. Shaded terraces and lounge areas and a swim-up bar are ideal for relaxation.
Perdido Springs is quieter with seven secluded spring-fed pools appearing off of jungle trails along with a second bar and a slide. Temperatures here range from 83-104℉ (28-40℃). Guests looking for adventure will especially enjoy Club Rio Adventure Center on the river, the starting place for activities like tubing, kayaking, rock climbing, etc.
These picturesque 165 acres with sweeping views have played backdrop to shows like “The Bachelor” and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians”. Rooms, bungalows, and villas are as luxurious as the spa. Additionally, Guests have their pick of many restaurants and bars at mealtimes.
No trip through San Jose or the rest of the country is complete without a soak in one of these spectacular hot springs. Costa Rica hosts about 5% of the total number of species on the planet, and their rainforests, mountains, beaches, and thermal springs reflect the different ecosystems that support them.
There are plenty of natural wonders to choose from when you head to this Central American country.