Hot Springs in Arenal, Costa Rica
I was dying to go to hot springs – one of unique features of staying in a volcanic area! We did our research, and found a hot spring that apparently locals enjoy themselves too called Rio Chollin (use link for more details). It was exciting as we wanted to get to experience local culture. We went in the evening as it is quite hot during the day. To find this secret spring, we had to use our cell phones as flashlights, and the way lead us through walking under a bridge and some bush whacking. A few times I have reconsidered whether this was a clever idea, but the three of us – fearless (or stupid) women, braved it through and found the desired natural springs in safety. Natural hot spring was a warm river with mild enough fords where one could sit or lay and enjoy themselves. When we came, the area was lit by candlelight and a mix of locals and visitors were enjoying the atmosphere. Again, we felt safe the entire time, but please go at your own risk especially if you decide to go when its dark. We did come back here during the day and there were way more locals with families. This is definitely a hangout spot for them where they come with their own coolers and stay there for several hours of the day.
There are many resorts situated near the source of geothermal activity, where you can pay a daily admission fee and enjoy their pools. We opted for an evening session at Baldi Hot Springs. We booked our tickets from another hotel and $38 per person admission included all day at the hot springs and a buffet style dinner. The resort reminded me of a mini aquapark that had numerous pools and artificial waterfalls with ranging water temperature.