As you might imagine, after a hard morning of smashing cocoa beans, the old muscles get mighty tight. Fortunately Anywhere Costa Rica booked us into the Tabacon Hot Springs in the afternoon. Problem solved!
Tabacon is a resort in its own right, with a luxurious hotel on one side of the road and the hot springs on the other. The one advantage to being near a volcano is there is no shortage of hot springs in the area. Our hotel actually had one as well, but nothing like this. Here is how the Tabacon web site describes it:
Tabacon Resort’s thermal natural springs are 97% rain-based and 3% magma-based. Rainwater enters the earth through fissures on the surface and is then heated by magma found in the earth’s core. Once heated, the waters rise to surface, taking with them minerals found in the earth’s rocky stratus.
There are three thermal springs that naturally surface and flow in the property at 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). Total volume generated by the three springs is 80 liters per second (approximately 20 gallons / second). In total, there are five different springs that exist throughout the property, with temperatures ranging from 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit) to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit). There are two main branches to the thermal river that flow through the gardens, and one cold river spring that flows down from the rainforest.
Magma from the Earth’s core? Don’t think so. Well, OK! So, when you get there you go to a lodge-like place where they have a restaurant on the upper level and a changing area with lockers and showers at ground level. So you change into your swim suit and they give you a big, fluffy towel and off you go! The general advice was, the closer to the mountain you get the hotter the water is.
Of course, the whole place is landscaped to the nines. Here is where you start out:
This leads to your first hot pool:
Of course, everywhere is the sound of rushing water. And, while this pool looks most inviting, it doesn’t take long to find out it is h-o-t! It took a while before the missus and I could get all the way in, and not long before we got all the way out. The beginning was not auspicious.
Then we came upon this waterfall:
Here the temperature was a much more comfortable. Past this railing there are stone steps that take you behind the waterfall and you can sit in there and contemplate whatever.
That blur you see close up is yours truly. This was my favorite part of the whole place.
So, as you work you way up the trail, you have your choice of a number of pools you can go into some are hotter than others and some the water moves much faster than others:
This place is beyond gorgeous. AND, after you have boiled yourself to a fare-thee-well, they have a pool where you can cool down:
At one end is a stairs you can climb up to the balcony and then slide into the pool. At the other end is a swim-up bar. Personally, I found that end to be a little more refreshing.
THEN, just when you think your mind has already been blown, it starts to get dark. The whole place takes on a brand new magic.
Well, as beautiful as this place is, there is only so much hot water you can take. Time to change back into street clothes and hit the restaurant:
A perfect end to another Costa Rican day!
So, what does a day in this place cost? You can spend the entire day here (which, if you do, believe me they will have to pour you into a cab since you will no longer have function in any extremity) for $85 pp. AND that includes dinner at the above snazzy restaurant. And by a day, they mean 24 hours, so, had we regained the ability to walk, we could have come back the next day! As it was, we had a bus to catch for Puerto Viejo.