Baldi Hot Springs

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After a day of white-water rafting, waterfall repelling, zip-lining, nature hiking, ATV'ing, bike riding or whatever else you may get into in La Fortuna, the hot springs is a great way to relax. Baldi Hot Springs in La Fortuna could be the hot springs option that provides the BIGGEST BANG for your BUCK. We've been wanting to re-REVIEW Baldi Hot Springs for quite sometime now. First, it's important to note that the entire town of La Fortuna pushes Baldi tickets on the tourists, for the simple fact Baldi pays commissions and Tabacon and EcoTermales don't. So all the tour shops, hotels, restaurants, as well as every Tom, Dick AND HARRY we'll usually suggest Baldi over the other hot springs, not saying that's bad.... just sayin. Baldi tickets can run anywhere from about $16.00 to whatever you're willing to pay, so it's BEST to shop around a bit if you're traveling on a budget or want to save a couple bucks. DO NOT BUY BALDI TICKETS AT BALDI- you will currently pay $28.00 at the entrance if you don't get them somewhere else. We paid $22.00 for use of the hot springs and dinner per person. Dinner is buffet style... we thought this was an EXCELLENT DEAL.

Phone #: (506) 2479-9917

Tabacon Hot Springs is expensive, like $70.mas o menos but the 'Garden of Eden' has nothing on Tabacon and Eco Termales (across the street from Baldi) is more private, tranquilo and GREAT for a more 'chill' hot spring option and then there's Baldi,,,,BIG (25 pools of various sizes) and about as close to a hot spring 'theme park' as you're going to get,,,, water slides, loud music, kids, numerous swim up bars..... and LOTS of tourists- at Baldi, it's all about Q*U*A*N*T*I*T*Y.

I gotta say, Baldi is looking much nicer than it did in the past, the vegetation has matured adding some much need LUSHNESS to the area and even in the bigger pools gives the illusion of happening upon thermal waters in the middle of the jungle. It doesn't quite look as natural as Tabacon, but a BIG IMPROVEMENT. My comparison: Tabacon Hot Springs vs Baldi Hot Springs- the TRUTH.

Drinks are ridiculously expensive at Baldi Hot Springs even for a touristy destination- you almost think you're drinking at a swim up bar at the Mandalay Bay in Vegas. We took cans of beer in, we're NOT telling YOU to do that and I know Baldi would frown on that as well, but we did with no trouble, although we didn't advertise the fact either. Towels require a $10. deposit which you get back when you return the towel and lockers for your valuables cost $5.00 which you don't get back. Depending on your MOOD and your BUDGET- Baldi Hot Springs definitely fills a certain hot springs niche.

michael alan's Blog - Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Baldi Hot Springs vs. Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort,
“Which is the BETTER hot springs option while I’m visiting La Fortuna and the Arenal Volcano- and I can only pick one?” I get a ka-zillion emails about Costa Rica, and La Fortuna questions in particular, and besides asking if they’ll be able to see the Arenal Volcano spit lava (like I have a direct line to Mother Nature), it’s, which is the BETTER Hot Springs- Tabacón or Baldi?

A couple of things FIRST- this post is specifically pertaining to Baldi vs Tabacón, there ARE other hot springs in La Fortuna, these happen to be the most well known.

Second; and this is VERY IMPORTANT to keep in mind when you’re discussing hot springs with ANYONE in La Fortuna, especially tour companies and hotels- Baldi PAYS a commission, Tabacón does NOT, so almost NO ONE (but possibly me) we’ll recommend Tabacón over Baldi, unless of course they happen to work for or with Tabacón or they’re a travel book writer. So, when you hear a Baldi recommendation, there’s ALWAYS a MONEY agenda behind the recommendation- ALWAYS. To the local tour operators and hotels and restaurants in La Fortuna, Tabacón is like the arrogant, conceded RICH guy neighbor who you want to see FAIL.

For Tabacón, they just about OWN the Travel Book writers and Baldi then becomes the red-haired, gay stepchild. Outside of La Fortuna, it’s Tabacón, Tabacón, Tabacón. Whoever has been in charge of marketing, they’ve done a bang-up job. In many cases, when driving to La Fortuna, you'll likely find the area by following the signs to Tabacón… really. Tabacón has marketed themselves almost as a destination in and of themselves… Forget the volcano and the beauty that IS La Fortuna, in Tabacón’s mind, they ARE the La Fortuna.…….. and take my word, it’s been working. Tabacón is the neighbor that never says “Hi.”

This post is likely to be the only objective opinion you’ll EVER read.

Tabacón did it RIGHT and technically; there’s no comparison between the two. When you’re in Tabacón, it’s not unusual to feel you were roaming the rainforest and stumbled upon a tropical Garden of Eden… and for a second, you half expect to run into Adam and Eve contemplating the APPLE. Lush vegetation, mini-waterfalls, misty romantic steams, secluded natural Jacuzzis, and if you want to socialize a bit, they have the obligatory swim-up bar(s) and even a slide, but it somehow WORKS. Tabacón knows they’re the SHIT.

BUT, you’re gonna pay to socialize with Adam and EVE. It’s like $7,000.00 to get in if you’re not staying there. Ok, maybe around $70, and the price DOES goes down a little after 7 pm, but like I said, Tabacón is the arrogant, conceded guy that doesn’t CARE- and staff can often come across as somewhat aloof and impersonal. And I take EVERYTHING back when the buses full of blue-hairs come rolling into Tabacón- the place turns into an upscale nursing home for the rich and during high season, they can come in DROVES.

If Tabacón is the arrogant, rich guy, Baldi is the irresponsible brother who would rather party than work. Baldi is more Disney-esque and feels like a place that could be located in any tourist destination in the world. Baldi tries to incorporate a Tabacón type of environment and succeeds in a few areas around the massive grounds, but I’m thinking Adam and Eve came here when they needed to unwind a bit and have a few cocktails, maybe even brought CAIN and ABLE along as the waterslides provide the babysitting while ‘the adults’ belly up to the bar. For many, hot water is HOT water and take my word, both hot springs will give you as HOT as you can handle, but Baldi provides the hot water at a reasonable price and if there’s a PARTY, it would be at Baldi, the crowd is MUCH younger and livelier.

I feel like I’m not going to be much help here. Tabacón is the SHIT and I like to tell people if you can afford it and never expect to visit La Fortuna again, then it’s worth the price of admission. Besides, if you can afford Tabacón, then you can obviously afford Baldi the next night. I do like Tabacón, BUT there’s something about the arrogant, conceded guy that doesn’t give a SHIT… do I really wanna give him EVEN more money (and don’t forget, they pay NO commissions to the locals)? If you don’t care about 'Garden of Eden' ambiance, then Baldi is a great choice and you won’t be disappointed. Ps. Both places have Vegas bar prices, so sneak in your bottle of Cacique.