The volcanic energy of Costa Rica gives rise to hot springs, thermal rivers and balnearios, where geothermally heated water is diverted into swimming pools and hot tubs.
Two balnearios near the Miravalles geothermal power plant in Bagaces, about 45 minutes from Bijagua, are much frequented by Costa Rican families. Each features several pools with water of varying temperatures, with bars and restaurants on site
Admission to Thermomania costs 5,000 colones, about $9, for adults and 4,000 colones or about $7.25 for children. (More information …) Admission to Yoko Termales is 3,000 colones, about $5.50, for adults and 2,000 colones, or about $3.65 for children. (More information …)
There are also hot springs venting into the Rio Celeste in Tenorio Volcano National Park, for those who don’t mind a hike and prefer their aguas termales in a more natural state. (More information …)
Farther afield, at Rincón de la Vieja National Park, there are sulfurous natural hot springs set in dry tropical forest. The drive from Bijagua takes two hours or so.
The balnearios near the Volcano Arenal, about three hours from Bijagua, are more heavily touristed, more landscaped and more expensive than those near Bagaces. Their hot water does not come from springs but from a river heated by the volcano.
The largest of these is the gorgeously landscaped Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort in La Fortuna, which has natural hot pools in the river and man-made hot, warm and cold pools. It offers stunning views of the Volcano Arenal on clear days. Admission is $85, which includes lunch, for adults, and $40 for children under 12. It’s beautiful, but extremely pricey for Costa Rica. (More information …)
Also near Arenal, Eco Termales offers three- and four-hour passes to its natural hot pools at a cost of $29 for adults and $20 for children under 10. There is no volcano view, but the setting is serene and nicely landscaped. A restaurant and bar are on the premises. (More information … )