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Costa Rica- Arenal- Best Thermal Hang-Out for a Day??

Costa Rica- Arenal- Best Thermal Hang-Out for a Day??

Old Dec 30th, 2009, 02:26 AM
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Costa Rica- Arenal- Best Thermal Hang-Out for a Day??

We will visit the Arenal area for a few days-- mostly bird-watching. Have set aside one day to just soak in the thermal waters and relax. Some of the day-use spots cost a fortune (though they look beautiful.) What are some recommendations out there. Don't mind paying a lot if it's a truly spectacular place-- but prefer to keep the cost down if we can. (our hotel does not offer any thermal pools.)
Thanks, kawh
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 04:22 AM
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www.tabacon.com

best most expensive reduced night admission

spectacular then.

or switch hotels and stay there it will be FREE.

great massages too at the spa $30 or so
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 06:39 AM
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Eco Termales gets great reviews. We've not been there yet. Didn't care too much for Baldi. We are big fans of Tabacon. It's crazy expensive, but we'd do it again. We like to go when they open, stay until after lunch, maybe have a spa treatment, leave for a few hours, have dinner somewhere, then return for the evening. Make a day of it.

You can also use the spa without paying the price of admission to the hot springs (different entity). The spa is in the midst of the hot springs, though. It is somewhere around #6 of the top spas in Mexico, Central, and South America (Travel & Leisure magazine). Outstanding. But rest assured you won't get a massage for $30! I think now the charge is about $130 (I paid $90 in 2007 and a bit more in 2008), but it is an awesome experience in beautiful surroundings.

We're not big spenders, either, and are looking to scale down most of the time. We do like to include a splurge occasionally, though. This has been one of those splurges!

If you don't want it to be one of your splurges then you'd have a great experience at Eco Termales. People rave about it as well.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 07:35 AM
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I love Eco Termales, but honestly I don't know if I would want to spend an entire day there. We went in the late afternoon/evening for several hours, had their dinner included with our entry along with drinks (honor system). It was a wonderful way to relax, but personally I wouldn't want to allocate an entire day there with so many other activities around Arenal. Eco Termales is much more reasonable than Tabacon, limits entry to 100 people per session. I don't remember the exact cost, but Eco T. is a favorite with many Fodorites.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 07:47 AM
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You're right, colibri--most people are wanting to branch out a bit more. I forget to consider that we had already been to Arenal a couple of times, done a lot of the activities. And we made the spa experience a part of that day, which took up 2-3 hours of time late a.m. through early p.m. Also, one of those times, we were with family and just looking to hang out together relaxing and conversing for a day while soaking.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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We've done Tabacon and Eco Termales, and we preferred Eco T, but really they're both great. Eco Termales had more charm to us, and we liked that they limited entry to 100 people. Their chicken dinner was good, and served in a charming little setting. We just went for dinner and the evening springs, and that was about right for us.
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Old Dec 30th, 2009, 10:15 PM
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thanks for all the info, fodorites. a few questions. shillmac- why not baldi? (i think our hotel may have suggested that-- but they were likely looking out for our budget.) what didn't you like?

also,qwovadis, if one does an evening pass, would mosquitoes generally be a big poblem?

lastly, volcanogirl-- i don't see whether eco termales has massage services-- their web site is pretty simple. do you know?? thanks much, kawh
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 04:45 AM
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We met people on our trip that wanted to go to Eco Termales, but didn't book ahead and it was sold out, so their hotel sent them to Baldi - they didn't like it at all. Said it was loud with overpriced drinks. Have read similar reviews from other people.

We didn't encounter mosquitoes by going at night, but we do wear repellent every day just in case. If you want massages and spa services, I would definitely go with Tabacon. It's the more elaborate property. It was crowded when we were there with tour buses pulling up, hence our preference for a smaller less crowded property, but Tabacon offers all the massages and bonus services that it sounds like you're looking for.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 06:26 AM
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To be honest, I can't tell you much about Baldi. We went there (at night)back in 2005 because it was a cheaper deal from our hotel, and we'd been to Tabacon already on an earlier visit. Best description I can give you is that it just seemed like a cheap replica. Tabacon is gorgeous.

As volcanogirl mentioned, the main complaint regarding T. is that it can be crowded. We've never seen it that way, but I think one reason is because we go early (10:00 or so) on the full day pass and return again at night. Perhaps the crowds tend to be more in the mid afternoon. Not sure.

We don't usually wear repellent around Arenal, and have never had mosquito problems. In our experience, the mosquitoes are more likely to be a problem in a deep jungle setting.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 06:34 AM
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http://www.tabacon.com/a-la-carte

Click on "Grand Spa Service Directory 2009".

This spa is a great experience, but you can see very pricey. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. While it is in the center of the hot springs, your massage "area" will seem to be in the midst of a jungle with no one within a thousand miles. One time I went to Arenal alone, just for a weekend, stayed at Arenal Paraiso. I booked 3 treatments at the spa on Saturday (back when it was less $$). It was an awesome day. Wouldn't do THAT again (too expensive), but it was a WOW one time deal, a very special treat!

Now, I don't know where qwovadis gets the idea that you can get a massage there for $30, but you CAN get one in La Fortuna for that.
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Old Dec 31st, 2009, 07:04 AM
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I don't believe that Eco-T offers massages. I enjoyed the "free" massage by standing under the waterfall at the top pool with the cascading water pounding on my neck and shoulders. I am more of a budget traveler, so would never pay the prices at Tabacon. It sounds like you are looking for a special spa day which Tabacon would give you.
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