If there was one thing we enjoyed in the few days we spent in La Fortuna, it’s accessing Chollin Hot Springs. First of all, here’s why it was quite a big deal to get to this hot springs. One would usually have to stay in one of the main resorts that provide access to the hot springs. These hot springs resorts are not exactly cheap, thankfully, we found a great deal and booked 3 nights at Hotel Los Lagos for FREE. Details later on how I booked this stay. Anywho, our resort, Hotel Los Lagos, has 9 pools that are fed by these hot springs. While it’s great to have these man-made pools with no chlorine but water coming from the hot springs, it was a treat when I found out about Chollin Hot Springs.
How to find Rio Chollin Hot Springs
All you have to do is enter Tabacon Hot Springs Resort into your GPS. I used Waze and Maps.Me. Wait, first of all, if I am not mistaken, Tabacon Hot Springs Resort is THE MOST expensive of all the resorts. You can get a daypass to get in to this resort (and pay $70 for half a day with meal included), or you can access Rio Chollin Hot Springs right outside Tabacon for free.
No admission tickets, but prepare to pay for parking
On our first day, one local asked for 2000 colones ($4 USD) for parking. No arguments on my end. But I knew it wasn’t supposed to cost that much. But I was willing to pay the $4 USD. It was pretty crowded and I found a spot right away. On our 2nd day, another local asked for “donation” – he didn’t name his price. So I gave him 1000 colones ($2 USD) and he gladly accepted the money.
If you were coming from La Fortuna town, Tabacon is about a 15 minute drive. You will see 2 Tabacon signs. Go pass the first sign. You park right off to the left or right side. You will just notice lots of cars parked on the street. There will be locals who will guide you or talk to you. Trust me.
The guides will point you to the right direction. You will see a yellow entrance, and all you have to do is make your way down. It’s an easy walk down. You will see the underpass from the bridge, including signs and graffiti on the wall. Remember this is located under a major road right above. Don’t let the graffiti stop you. We felt perfectly safe.
You have a choice to go under the bridge, or just find a spot off to the right side without going under the bridge. Remember, this is a flowing hot springs river…more like gushing. From our two visits, the section to the left was more crowded, and required more climbing. On our second day, we went off to the right side. But we did not jump immediately to the right side. We saw a little trail and just followed that trail for a minute or two. We found ourselves in a spot with seven other travelers.
Who can go to Rio Chollin
I saw folks that were young and old. I saw little babies. I saw a wheelchair. So I’m assuming someone assisted this person to get to the hot springs. Anyone with a desire to enjoy the natural hot springs should be able to go.
Things to remember
- Your street parking could be in an awkward position. You’ll know what I’m talking about, your car could be tilted to the right. So make sure you to park in a way that still allows you to go forward or reverse.
- There are no restrooms or shower facilities
- DO NOT bring too much. There are no lockers. Bring a bag that will keep your belongings dry.
- Footwear – you can go barefoot, sandals, water shoes, or regular shoes. On our first day, we went barefoot, so it was a pain to walk on the rocks. On our 2nd day, we used our sandals, and we were able to move around much better
- This is NOT an official attraction. You’re on your own, but you will notice, you’re NOT alone. But in a situation where you might find yourself alone, I would suggest to avoid that at all causes.
- Do NOT leave any trash/garbage. Bring it with you. It was disappointing to see some soda cans that were left by others.