Ecotermales Hot Spring: La Fortuna’s Luxury Spa for Less

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La Fortuna, Costa Rica is known, in part, for its many relaxing hot springs. Most of these springs are at private resorts or spas, ranging from budget-friendly pools, to ultra-bougie options, with higher price tags to match. However, if you’re in the market for a luxury hot spring experience in La Fortuna without breaking your budget, Ecotermales Hot Spring is an excellent choice, providing one of the most picturesque and natural settings to enjoy Arenal’s relaxing waters, lush jungle, and abundant wildlife.

So pack up your swimsuit and get ready to get blissed out- here’s everything you need to know about visiting the Ecotermales Hot Spring.

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Who is Ecotermales Hot Spring right for?

La Fortuna is one of the most popular places to visit in Costa Rica, in large part, due to its plentiful hot springs. The town has PLENTY to choose from, with a variety of springs that are well-suited for different types of travelers.

For example, travelers on a shoestring budget may want to visit the Los Laureles Hot Springs, where $12 will buy you an all-day pass to a small, family-friendly pool with a bring-your-own-drinks-and-food policy, whereas the glitzy Tabacon Hot Springs or The Springs, located in super swanky resorts, may be an excellent choice for a couple on their honeymoon (a day pass here with lunch will run you up to $98 per person during peak season!).

Ecotermales, a locally-owned and family-run property, is the perfect hot spring for groups of friends looking to relax in a serene, impossibly picturesque setting- or for couples looking for a romantic, more affordable option than some of the other pricier hot springs.

As compared to some of the other properties in La Fortuna, the grounds at Ecotermales feel a bit more lush and wild (in a good way)- it truly feels like you’re soaking in the middle of a jungle oasis. Plus, some of Ecotermales’ pools are separated by small waterfalls, walls of large tropical plants, or stairs, creating a fairly private atmosphere for you and your hot spring buddies to soak in and enjoy the water in relative peace.

Woman wading in lagoon at Ecotermales Hot Spring

On the other hand, if you’re looking for hot springs with a party-like atmosphere or something that’s super kid-friendly, Ecotermales may not be the right choice for you (I’d suggest checking out Baldi Resort Hotel and Spa instead). When my husband, Justin, and I visited, there were a few families at Ecotermales, but given there’s only two pretty small cold water pools here (and no special area dedicated for kiddos), I suspect they’d probably have more fun elsewhere. 

Another factor to consider is whether you’re interested in staying at a resort that includes hot springs– Ecotermales is one of the only more luxurious hot springs in La Fortuna that isn’t attached to, or associated with, a hotel.

Woman walking into a pool at Ecotermales Hot Spring in La Fortuna

When I was planning our trip to Costa Rica, several articles I read suggested that it may be more economical to stay at one of the resorts with its own hot springs, given your admission to the springs will be covered under the general hotel fee.

However, when I did the math, that didn’t really make sense (at least if you’re traveling as a couple, anyway)- most of the upscale resorts charge upwards of $400 a night for a standard room, whereas we were able to get a modest, but perfectly nice and clean hotel room in La Fortuna for only $30.

If you’re looking to add a bit of luxury into your Costa Rica itinerary, both Tabacon Hot Springs and The Springs look absolutely incredible- but, otherwise, unless you’re traveling as a family, I’m not convinced that staying at one of the resorts is any more affordable than staying at a stand-alone hotel and purchasing a day pass to Ecotermales (or most other hot springs in Arenal, for that matter!). 

Woman stepping into pool at Ecotermales Hot Spring

How to Get to Ecotermales Hot Spring

Ecotermales Hot Spring is located here, approximately 5 km west of the central park along National Route 142 in La Fortuna. It’s located about a 10 minute drive from the downtown area and easily accessible via Uber, rental car, or bicycle, with a free and secure parking lot for guests.

How much is Ecotermales Hot Spring?

At the time of this post’s writing, for a day pass at Ecotermales, it’s $45 per adult (or $26.50 for kids 5-11 years old) to buy either a morning pass, from 9 AM to 4 PM, or an evening pass from 5 to 9 PM, every day of the week. You can also choose to add on either lunch or dinner to your admission for an additional fee- check out the current packages here

It’s worth mentioning that, while the admission fee for the other luxury hot springs, like Tabacon or The Springs, is higher than Ecotermales, they do include entry to the hot springs for an entire day, as opposed to Ecotermales’ more limited hours.

Given there’s so many things to do in La Fortuna, Ecotermales’ lower price point for half day sessions is perfect for travelers who don’t want to dedicate a full day to soaking in hot springs (I know it worked out great for us!). If you, however, have a longer period of time in La Fortuna or just want a chill day at the springs, one of the other properties may ultimately be a better value for you.

Lagoon at Ecotermales Hot Spring

Ecotermales has a smaller footprint than some of the other properties in La Fortuna and in order to keep the springs serene and enjoyable for all visitors, they limit each morning and evening session to 150 soakers. So while you can walk up and buy tickets onsite if they happen to be available, I’d definitely recommend making a reservation ahead of time- several of the time slots during our visit to La Fortuna were already sold out when I tried to purchase tickets the week before our trip.

 What to Expect at Ecotermales Hot Spring

As mentioned above, the property is tucked back into a dense secondary-growth forest, thick with palm trees and beautiful tropical flowers. You’ll walk through paved trails carved through the jungle to access the six pools onsite, which range from 20 to 41 degrees Celsius (68 to 106 degrees Fahrenheit).

While the magnesium-rich water here is naturally warmed by the Arenal Volcano’s geothermal energy, it’s pumped from the ground through Ecotermales’ man-made stone and concrete pools, which butt up against each other to resemble a hot springs river.  

Jungle trail at Ecotermales Hot Spring

The water starts in a small, secluded waterfall pool at a steamy 41 degrees Celsius and flows from one pool to another, slowly cooling off as you get farther downstream. There’s also a nice amount of features within the pools themselves- think fountains shooting cool water into the air that you can stand underneath, waterfalls, submerged lounge chairs, and picturesque little bridges between the pools. There’s also lounge chairs around two of the pools, most of which are shaded from the intense Costa Rican sun by the surrounding palm trees.

In addition to the pools, there’s a cabana to pick up your free towel rental, free locker rentals, and bathroom/shower facilities. One of the cool things about Ecotermales is that, unlike most of the other La Fortuna hot springs, the lockers here are open-air (seperate from the enclosed changing areas) and visible to staff and guests at all times. As such, the lockers feel a bit safer, as it would be more challenging for someone to covertly break in and steal any of your personal belongings.

Additionally, there’s two restaurants and two bars onsite, one of which overlooks a beautiful blue lake with koi fish and crocodiles. If you purchase lunch or dinner with your admission, you’ll eat at the Sonidos del Agua Restaurant, which generally offers a buffet, or alternatively, any guests can order food a la carte at the Los Litos Restaurant.

Restaurant at Ecotermales Hot Spring

Tips for Ecotermales Hot Spring

It seriously has the most amazing wildlife we experienced in La Fortuna.

Okay, so I may be such an Ecotermales fangirl because of the absolutely stunning amount of wildlife we saw here.

Justin and I saw so much more wildlife here than literally all of the other numerous hikes we did in and around Arenal combined.  We saw several howler monkeys (including babies!), toucans, a Great Curassow (a large tropical turkey-like bird), a chameleon, a sloth. It was seriously wild (pun obviously intended) how much more successful we were at seeing tropical animals while literally relaxing in a hot spring as compared to some of the jungle excursions we explicitly went on to spot Costa Rica’s famed wildlife.

Obviously, the animals are free to come and go as they please so your experience here may differ from ours- but, based on talking to the staff, the howler monkeys and sloth are pretty frequent guest stars at the Ecotermales facilities!

Drinks are pretty pricey.

If you’re a traveler more on the budget side, a word of warning- the alcoholic drinks here are pretty pricey (like, around $8 USD for a cocktail, which is pretty absurd for Costa Rica), so plan accordingly. While we’re on the topic of hydration, Justin and I brought in one of our large trusty Nalgene bottles of water during our stay and the staff did not seem to have issues with that (although other outside food and drink is not allowed).

Consider booking the evening slot.

Initially, when I booked our reservation, I thought the daytime slot was obviously the way to go. You get seven whole hours to chill in the hot spring instead of just four, for the evening slot- seems like a total no brainer, right?

Not so much- if you go during a particularly steamy day (which there are plenty of in Costa Rica!), hot springs aren’t exactly super relaxing to soak in for long periods of time- and I’d have to guess it would be a lot more enjoyable when La Fortuna cools off in the evening.


Visiting Ecotermales was one of the highlights of our visit to the Arenal area- I hope you enjoy your stay as much as we did. Do you have any questions about Ecotermales? How do you think they stack up against the other hot springs in La Fortuna? Sound off in the comments below!

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2 thoughts on “Ecotermales Hot Spring: La Fortuna’s Luxury Spa for Less”

    • Hi Arjuna,

      It usually gets dark in La Fortuna sometime between 5 and 6 pm throughout the majority of the year. Given that the evening pass at Ecotermales doesn’t start until 5 pm, the morning pass would be a better idea if you want to maximize the time to see wildlife, for the sheer fact that you’ll have more daylight!

      Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy Costa Rica!

      Jess

      Reply

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