Costa Rica – La Fortuna Local’s Hot Springs

GPS Navigation, Dirt Road in Costa Rica

One of the first things you will read about when researching Costa Rica are the hot springs created by the active volcanos in the country. La Fortuna is a hot bed (pun intended) of hot spring resorts and day spas. I enjoy a candlelight warm bath as much as the next girl, but Rebecca and I decided not prioritize the hot springs on this short trip. It just so happened that on our drive back to Nepethe from our whitewater rafting trip, our whitewater rafting guide (Jero) pointed out where the locals go for free.

Although we had read about the free hot springs on TripAdvisor, we didn’t have cell data to help us find them, so it was fortunate that Jero Pointed it out to us. After a day in the water, we figured more water couldn’t hurt felt adventurous enough to make it to the hot springs as the sun was setting. By the time we made it to the white gate, down the path to the running water, we could just barely see what was going on. The amount of steam didn’t help. We put our feet in the water and were shocked at the warm temperature.

Without getting a lay of the land, we slowly got more  and more nervous about not being able to see people, see where we were going, losing our shoes, getting our belongings wet, and etc. Just as we were spiraling into unadventurous territory, someone asked, “Are you lost?” It was Jero! Jero  and another whitewater rafting guide, who we will refer to as JF (Jero’s Friend) helped us climb upstream to various pools of calmer water.  We saw candles lit in the distance, which looked like hovering orbs in the distance. We asked them a lot of comically American questions about Costa Rica and whether there were water snakes. They told us how locals often bring food to picnic at the hot springs during the day and candles at night.

At one point, it began to rain. Cold drops sprinkled our heads, shoulders, and arms, creating a light stinging sensation in comparison to the warm water. People would pass, wading in the water and steam, speaking to each other in hushed Spanish, while attempting to find a place to relax.  

After our feet were  softened by the warm water, it was even more difficult to walk on the rocky stream bead, but we made it out alive. The water snakes are still unconfirmed.

Happy travels,


At a Glance:

  • Rating: 3, would do again, if in the area
  • Intensity: Bathing Suit and water shoes
  • Duration: Less than 1 hour, but based on preference
  • Cost: Free at locals spot, can be very expensive based on preference
  • Location: La Fortuna Area
  • Restrooms: No formal bathrooms… but you are already in warm water….


  • Water at the perfect temperature
  • Locals often bring candles, which turn into glowing hazy orbs in the steam – very romantic
  • When it rains, the sensation is absolutely magical

Recommended for visiting these hot springs:

  • Water shoes
  • Flashlight
  • Bathing suit
  • Sense of adventure
Local's Free Hot Spring near La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Similar, but not the hot springs... 🙁

What are your thoughts?