The Springs Resort & Spa is absolutely stunning in every possible way. There is plenty of stuff to do, awesome tours, a variety of food choices, so many hot springs and incredible views of the jungle and an active volcano.
In October I started looking for places to go for my 41st birthday later in the month. Last minute I know. I wanted to go somewhere different so I put in information into my travel spreadsheet to find the best and most cost effective options. I checked out places as close as the Bahamas and as far as Thailand. I considered Spain, Hawaii and even Iceland. But since we were only going for eight days, I wanted a short flight in close proximity to Orlando since we were meeting friends in Disney at the end of the trip.
* I go to Kayak and click on Explore to get prices of flights all over the world from my home location
* Then I compare flight prices using Google Flights, Expedia and Southwest (if applicable)
* Next I plug in the best prices and flight times into the spreadsheet
* After that, I go to Expedia and search for resorts in the locations based on stars, price and guest ratings
* Lastly, I put in prices and the spreadsheet then calculates the estimated total price based on the number of days of travel
Once I have the total cost for flight and hotel, I indicate whether the resort is all-inclusive or if we will rent a car to determine the estimated daily expenses. I always choose hotels because I love hotels. Once I have all of this information, the formulas calculate the grand total. I now have the information I need to determine what’s the best destination based on my budget.
Why I picked Costa Rica
Everything starts with the flight prices, duration of the flight(s) and how long we are traveling. I have two young kids so I am always skeptical of spending too much on plane tickets. Based on my analysis, the finalists were the Bahamas, Riviera Maya, Costa Rica, St. Thomas, St. Lucia and Columbia. We went to the Bahamas earlier in the year so that was out. I went to Riviera Maya the last two years for my birthday so my wife said that was out. I didn’t like the resorts in St. Thomas and St. Lucia for the kids so both were out. A Colombia trip is coming up soon but not this time. So even though we traveled to Costa Rica almost four years ago, we decided to go back. For this trip we would travel to Arenal which is different from when we stayed in Tamarindo and Papagayo.
Arenal Volcano Costa Rica
Arenal is Costa Rica’s best-known volcano. It is huge and over looks beautiful green hillsides that surround it’s base. Although the volcano hasn’t erupted since 2010, it is the country’s only active volcano. Prior to 2010, it spewed enormous amounts of lava, gas and ash on a regular basis. With access to the rainforest, waterfalls, hot springs and a diverse selection of hotels, Arenal is known as the adventure capital of Costa Rica.
The Springs Resort & Spa
It’s about a three hour drive from San Jose Airport (SJO) to Arenal so I wasn’t looking forward to that. We decided we would get a driver because the maximum I like to drive is few hours especially on vacation. I know old age. When I was reviewing resorts to stay in, it came down to The Springs Resort & Spa vs. Tabacon Thermal Grand. Tabacon is one of the only natural hot springs resorts in the country while The Springs is the newer more luxurious resort. So we went with the newer one and would do a day pass to Tabacon.
When I travel, I typically like to relax and chill. I think a lot so when I am out of town, I rest and take it all in. Well that was going to change this trip. I told my wife that I would actually do excursions this time around and the Springs Resort & Spa is a great resort to stay active with all it’s tours and activities.
When we arrived we received a warm welcome and a refreshing beverage! We got an upgrade which included a captivating direct view of the Arenal Volcano. The large balcony area included a jacuzzi tub, hammock and you can see so many amazing sights. There was wine waiting for us and three bed made up for me, my wife and kids. The staff was attentive, friendly and very resourceful. The property is beautiful and definitely provides you with a 5-star experience.
Outdoor Nature Center
Whenever I travel I like to go to the gym and check out the spa. I ended up getting a massage and it was pretty good. What was even better is when I went to pay the bill and they told me it was 50% off. That was a great bonus. Now it was time for the activities which I rarely do.
The Club Rio Outdoor Center at the resort offers a bunch of adventurous activities set within a rain forest preserve along a river. We managed to do the river tubing, horseback riding, hot springs, hiking trail, nature tour, and ate at the riverfront restaurant. All of the tours were fantastic with the horseback riding and tubing being exceptional.
A birthday to remember…
The transportation around the resort was extremely reliable although we could walk to our room. My kids get lazy so they always wanted to ride in the golf cart. The food at the restaurants is pricey but delicious. Be sure to take advantage of the turn down service and say yes to the chocolate. The resort has so many pools and they were all heated.
We would have loved to head into town for lunch or dinner but we were so exhausted after all the massages and excursions. We visited Tabacon for $35 round trip which was organized by the hotel. I highly recommend that you do a day pass and visit the spa for a massage as it was superior to The Springs Resort!
We witnessed a sloth crossing the road and saw so many amazing natural sights. The hot springs on the resort were impressive and you may find yourself there every day. For the first time in my life, I went on vacation and didn’t work. It felt great! Thank you Springs Resort & Spa for making my birthday experience one of the best I can remember. Pura vida.