Volcanic Bliss: Tobacon Hot Springs, Costa Rica

The pleasure of having heavenly massages has been bestowed upon me several times. Among those are beachfront massages in Thailand and Jamaica as well as spa packages in numerous locations throughout the states. All have been nice, but there is one massage that stays foremost in my mind. Tobacon Hot Springs in Costa Rica. I yearn to go back.

My friend and I were introduced to the springs via a package tour. Included was a hike to see the top of Arenol Volcano and a partial day at the hot springs. You can find many companies offering this package from almost any hotel you choose to stay at. Though there are accommodations offered at Tobacon as well. I didn’t stay there, so I can’t report anything about the rooms, but if they are anything like the hot springs… you can’t go wrong.

We began our package tour with the hike. It was cloudy, so we weren’t sure we would see the top, but we hiked anyway. It was absolutely beautiful and we had a knowledgeable tour guide who pointed out edible plants, the history of some of the plants and land, and even climbed up a bamboo shoot to show us how strong it was! By the time we got to our grand finale destination, we could barely see that there was a mountain there at all, let alone a volcano top. After about 5 minutes of peering through the grey, the sky opened up and the rain poured down. We jumped into the vans awaiting us at the top and took our ride down to the hot springs.

The tour includes dinner after about an hour and a half at the springs. At that time, you horded off to a group style dinner and then back to your starting point. One look at the hot springs property and immediately, we knew it wouldn’t be enough time. We knew we didn’t care anything about dinner, so we arranged to skipped it and opted to hang at the springs during everyone else’s dinnertime. We’ll eat when we get back to the hotel.

After stopping into the locker rooms, we stepped out to be welcomed by a steaming hot waterfall surrounded by natural foliage, landscaped so it’s not too wild. We ventured straight into the falls. The powerful water pounded our shoulders. It was so hot; we could only stand a few minutes. We crawled under the waterfall which was a bit cooler, but still very steamy. After a few minutes we needed a break to catch our breath, so we decided to explore the grounds further.

We wandered along the various paths leading throughout the gardens. Everywhere we turned there were beautiful pools of differing depths and heat interspersed between other waterfalls. These waterfalls you couldn’t sit directly under, but rather on the rocks that created those falls.

When it was time to go at the end of the day, only about two and a half hours there, we were just getting started. The plan was to head out the next day, to explore other places, but simultaneously we brought up the idea to stay and extra day. It was easily unanimous.

This time though, we would try the competitor ‘s hot springs. They are highly advertised as well, but cheaper. We went in eager, walked the grounds and were not anywhere near as impressed. We decided to head into the pool bar for a drink. Just as spontaneously as we decided to stay an extra day, we decided to grab a cab, head back to Tobacon and spend the rest of the day there.

This time though, we each signed up for a spa package. Mine included a volcanic body scrub, a mineral exfoliating facial, and an hour-long Swedish massage. They started with the volcanic mud. The red mud was the perfect, heated temperature. Hot, but not too hot, not by a single degree. t was such the perfect temperature that the moment it first touched my skin is the experience that most draws me back. It was rubbed all over my body, and then I was wrapped in plastic and covered with warm towels. I soaked in volcanic mud while the facial started. My skin tingled under the gentle touch and my hair stood on end.

I dozed off.

When she was done gently invigorating the skin on my face, she left me there, in peace, to bake in the volcanic mud. After about 15 minutes, she gently woke me up, unwrapped me and gave me a fresh towel before guiding me out the back door to some private hot springs mineral baths. In complete privacy I was able to wash myself clean of the mud, slowly, peacefully, while enjoying the nature au natural.

In my sweet time, I headed back in for the massage. In some ways, I felt I already had it, I was so relaxed. Being that relaxed already made my muscles so much more open to the massage and me all the more relaxed afterward.

Once it was over, Wendy and I had the rest of the day to play in the volcanic pools. We wandered around, played in different areas. Sat under the heat and power of the falls again and fully enjoyed our day there.

This is a fantastic place for honeymooners, or to give as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Even as a solo adventure to get away from everything for a while.

Costa Rica is a friendly, warm country. It’s easy to get around and has very low crime throughout the country. It’s absolutely beautiful and beyond Tobacon Hot Springs there are many other wonderful places to check out while you are there.

Posted by Jamie Rector on January 26, 2007 in Travel

Add Your Comments