Costa Rica is a small Central American country that is big on biodiversity. This little country – approximately twice the size of Massachusetts – is responsible for 6% of the world’s diversity.
The carbon-neutral Tabacon Thermal resort and spa in the northern region of the country is located near the Arenal Volcano and the small village of La Fortuna. The property’s 103 rooms and suites are located in the heart of the rainforest amongst lush vegetation, exotic flora, and animal life such as sloths, coatimundi, birds, lizards, and insects.
Reflecting and respecting the surrounding culture and area, the rooms feature artwork designed by Costa Rican artists and dark wood furnishings made from sustainable materials. The bathrooms have ample-sized showers that peek through to the bedroom (should you so choose), as well as bathtubs in suites in which to relax. The rainforest or garden views are designed to make guests feel at one with nature via glass doors and patios.
THE THERMAL SPRINGS
Local Costa Rican architect Jaime Mikowski discovered the thermal springs in 1991 while on a water bottling project. It was his brainchild to turn the property into the thermal springs experience it is today. The area is a maze of waterfalls, walkways, and 20 in-river pools that are 100% naturally heated by the volcano’s magma. The Shangri-La Gardens is the secluded adults-only section at the top of the thermal springs. This area is reserved for hotel guests only and includes six natural pools, a full bar, and private cocoon-shaped cabanas. Because of the atmosphere, it’s perfectly acceptable to slip your bathrobe on and walk around the grounds.
The spa is located next to the thermal springs. It has a central unisex relaxation area with comfortable lounge chairs surrounding a large jetted pool. The pre-spa ritual includes tea service, soothing cucumbers, and cooling cloths for the eyes. There is also a healthy snack and smoothie menu. All 11 of the treatment bungalows are hidden amongst the trees in complete privacy and have their own naturally heated Jacuzzi tubs with showers. Treatments run the gamut from massages, signature treatments, facials, mani-pedis, and salt baths.
FOOD AND DRINK
The resort has two bars for light bites and drinks at Shangri-La and the Arenal pool; two full-service restaurants: AVE for traditional Costa Rican cuisine and Tucanes for al la carte international fare; and Cana Brava for tapas and drinks in the lobby lounge. Guests can also request a private dinner in a candlelit open-air rainforest bungalow.
Tabacon has a green program encouraging guests and locals to conserve resources and aid in protecting Costa Rica. It’s another good reason to visit.