When I attended ROAR Retreat recently, I stayed an extra few days with my friend, client and co-organizer of the conference Andrea. I thought we were going actually work, but she had other plans. She insisted there is no way I could visit Costa Rica without going to Arenal Volcano area. Happily, two other friends were able to stay as well and the four of us headed out right after the conference ended. However, this meant that we were driving the very windy roads around Lake Arenal in the dark. While the four of us are pretty travel savvy, all I can say is when we arrived, we were incredibly thankful for the tropical drinks that greeted us in the lobby. (Point being – make the trek during daylight hours, which means roughly before 5-6pm in Central America).
We decided that staying at Tabacon Resort was the way to go. Not only because it is a gorgeous resort, but access to their Hot Springs across the street is included, so that made it well worth the costs. (Plus, Andrea found a good deal online for off-season, so look around).
We had a fantastic gourmet dinner at the resort restaurant that first night. You know, the kind where napkins are folded across your lap and water is never allowed to go an inch below the rim of your glass. Other nights we ate (and drank) over at the hot springs, either from their buffet or straight up at the pool bar.
We also had a gorgeous room with a view of Arenal volcano. Not that we actually slept all that much with so many things to do close by. The big highlight for me was canopy ziplining, which will forever be one of those “I can’t believe I did that” kind of things. We also visited the Arenal Hanging Bridges, which are a post in themselves.
I was surprised to learn that Arenal Volcano is no longer active. My best friend Danielle has visited Costa Rica, including backpacking all over the country and has talked of the volcano many times. The good news is, we had clear views every day we were there, which is sometimes not possible.
The real treat at Tabacon is, of course, the hot springs. The water comes pre-heated from the volcano’s geothermal activity and each of the waterfall pools all over the property are different degrees of warm and different degrees of pressure. The water felt luxurious somehow, so we continually scrubbed our skin with the black volcanic sand.
Being from Colorado, I have have visited the hot springs here and they are lovely – but, frankly nothing compares to Costa Rica. The way these pools naturally flow into each other keeps the everything clean and fresh (and not stinky).
I loved how each area had a different size, shape, feel. Some were open, some were tucked in. Some were clean and modern, right next to food and drink. Some were deep in the rainforest, overlapped with leaves – so you felt totally alone.
Basically, you can explore and find your own EXACT version of paradise.
My only regret? Not having enough time to try out Tabacon’s spa services.