Nestled against the base of the ever-active Arenal Volcano is Tabacon Hot Springs, a gorgeous collusion between man and nature where relaxation takes on many forms. While there is a luxury hotel just across the street, you don't need to be a guest to enjoy the hot springs. For about $35 you're in for the day, free to wander through the lush grounds and hidden pools.
There are adeqaute changing facilities for you to change into your most flattering swimsuit and snag yourself a chaise-lounge around the main waterfalls. Across a charming wooden bridge is the in-house spa, where guests can indulge in pricey treatments that I'm told are worth every penny.
Though surrounded by gorgeous plants, flowers and trees, the main draw are the pools of naturally heated water courtesy of the giant volcano looming just over your shoulder. Essentially laid out in a chain, each pool is connected by waterfalls and vary in temperatures from lukewarm to somewhere just above pretty-stinking-hot. The further back into the property you go, the greater your chances for privacy and quiet.
The property boasts several restaurants and bars including one swim-up one in the main area. Here the pools take more traditional shapes and the large one even has a water slide with a high-accelleration turn before dumping you off. In the far corner, there is another bar/restaurant for those wishing for a little more privacy.
As the daylight fades and the colorful heliconia plants fade in the dusk, the entire property glows with discreet lighting that maintain the appearance of paradise you've become accustomed to during the day. The mood created could be described as serenely festive, and the only thing tougher than getting out of the water is having to leave this Eden behind.