Being in the business of saying “yes” to new adventures while I’m traveling, I went on just about every optional activity offered on my G Adventures tour through Costa Rica. The first of these options was a visit to a nearby hot spring on our first night in La Fortuna.
Since the town is located nearby the Arenal Volcano, there are several hot springs to choose from. On the advice of our guide, we headed to the Los Lagos Hotel, which offered a day pass to its pools for 20USD. Towel rentals were offered for 2USD, and there are lockers on site to secure your items.
Although the pools at this hotel are decidedly man made- more like a water park than a natural vista- they were fun to explore and had a fairly dramatic range of temperatures, with the hottest one being around 100F. I was trying my best with these, but started turning red like a lobster before too long. Luckily, there were some unheated pools to cool off in, and the huge heated pool with the swim-up bar was a more comfortable temperature.
The bar was reasonably priced and had an extensive selection of cocktails. I recommend the planters punch (which worked out to about 8USD)! The bar also serves food, though I was so overheated from the pools that I struggled to finish my nachos. I will say that collecting our bill was a complete hassle. The staff was very busy, but we were waiting for so long that our tour guide had to intervene on our behalf.
I was particularly impressed by the beautiful gardens of the hotel. I know that Costa Rica is known for being lush and green, but damn if this hotel wasn’t lush and green! Although it was cloudy for our visit, I can just imagine how stunning the Arenal Volcano looks, towering over the landscape.
Since the hotel allows non-guest visitors at a very reasonable price, these pools can get extremely crowded. We were visiting during the shoulder season, relatively late in the day, and there were still noticeable crowds.
Between the entry fee, my food, and my drink, I spent about 40USD for this visit. While I enjoyed my visit much more than I anticipated, I’m not sure that I’d go again- I’m just no good with heat! Still, for travelers on a budget, Hotel Los Lagos is far and away the best option. Based on my internet research, several other hotels in the area also have hot springs heated by the nearby volcano, but their day passes trend upwards of 50USD!