Taking the waters at Tabacon

You wouldn’t think you’d need to visit a hot springs in Costa Rica (it being a tropical country and all) but after visiting Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort and its numerous secluded pools and their accompanying waterfalls and lush foliage, you’ll vote in favour of “taking the waters” and boiling in their therapeutic, mineral-rich pools. Especially when the hot springs bubble up from a volcano that was active as recently as 2010.

Bennett and Blake peer over a waterfall at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort.

Bennett and Blake peer over a waterfall at Tabacon Grand Spa Thermal Resort.

I have never seen such an extensive and beautifully landscaped thermal resort. I am used to the “one concrete hot pool” variety so common in Canada. At Tabacon, they have gone to extremes to make the pools as natural as possible, building them around a stream that flows from the Arenal Volcano, near La Fortuna. The result is a series of cascading pools and waterfalls crowded with plants that help create natural grottos and hidden swimming holes.

Grammie and Avery enjoy our private hot pool at Tabacon. Photo by Lisa Kadane.

Grammie and Avery enjoy a secluded hot pool at Tabacon.

Avery loved scrambling up the warm waterfall “staircase” and searching for iguanas and basilisks, while Bennett was happy leaning over waterfalls to watch the warm water fall into the pool below.

Critters love Tabacon too. Avery was reptile hunter and found this basilisk (they can run atop water for short distances. How cool is that?). Photo by Lisa Kadane.

Critters love Tabacon, too. Avery was reptile hunter and found this basilisk (they can run atop water for short distances. How cool is that?). Photo by Blake Ford.

In the afternoon we found our Shangri-La — two pools sequestered at the end of a winding pathway. One was hot and the other cool, perfect for alternating between the two.

If there's water, you can pretty much get in anywhere at Tabacon, including this waterfall stream. Photo by Lisa Kadane.

If there’s water, you can pretty much get in anywhere at Tabacon.

Oh, and did I mention the spa? Sadly, with two kids in tow there simply wasn’t an opportunity to sneak away for a Volcanic Mud Wrap treatment. Next time!

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