Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ecothermales Hot Springs, Costa Rica

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Sometimes in the middle of a crazy workweek I find myself daydreaming about sitting in hot springs near the Arenal volcano in Costa Rica. Ecothermales can be summed up as nature's spa. Of course, there are other hot springs to choose from in the La Fortuna area, but I chose Ecothermales for its limit of the number of people that can soak in its 100-plus degree waters. While you can soak in the hot springs for free -- the locals swim across the street from the pricey Hot Springs Resort -- I chose to pay the $36 entry fee to Ecothermales to have a more spalike experience with no crowds. After a day of rafting on the Pacuare River, the hot springs are just what I needed. I reserved the 5-10 p.m. time slot, one of three available to visitors. It was an $8 taxi ride each way from La Fortuna to the hot springs, where we found a quiet oasis.

The restaurant at Ecothermales
We tried every single one of the small pools before walking around the property to take a look. Just off the main walkway we saw a small venomous coral snake, which we stopped to admire with other passers-by, including the loveliest Australian woman who complimented me several times. She was incredibly charming and sweet. I suggested to her that she visit the Grand Canyon at some point in her life and she told me I absolutely must take four weeks to travel around her country. (If only!)

That wasn't the only wildlife we saw. Overhead were howler monkeys resting in the trees. A couple of workers pointed them out to us with their flashlights. You can also take advantage of a bar, changing rooms, showers and the fanciest restrooms I saw in Costa Rica.

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P.S. Looking for a Costa Rica travel guide? Try Lonely Planet's book**! We used it and it helped us immensely.

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