About this listing
The Tree House Is charming, new and handcrafted at our 35 acre Bio Thermales rainforest reserve with natural hot and cool springs pools in the north-central Costa Rican heartland. This is authentic Costa Rica: clean, comfortable and close to nature.
Please message us if we will be your first or last destination in Costa Rica. We highly recommend booking on weekdays for more privacy and tranquility, as we have more day visitors from 9 am to 6 pm to our hot springs on the weekends, especially Sundays. If your reservation includes a Sunday, we highly recommend planning a day outing to the many wonderful nearby activities.
We are three hours north of San Jose (airport), 45 minutes east of Fortuna and Volcano Arenal, and the many activities there and nearby.
Guests enjoy 24/day access* to our hot springs and trails in our 35 acre rainforest at no extra charge. The pools are cleaned every morning starting at 6 am, but one hot spring will always be available. Many factors may dictate scheduling, including weather. We do not charge for children 17 and under -- but we will not accept reservations for the Tree House for families with children under 5 years old for whom a 20 foot fall from the balcony would be very serious.
Our hot springs are ancient “deep Earth” sources that bubble up through the rainforest floor, laden with mineral-rich waters that have been in the Earth for at least 10,000 years. Our waters are rich in bicarbonates, calcium and magnesium, low in sulfur, and slightly acidic -- qualities shared by many of the world's best hot springs.
Five of our 9 organic form hot springs pools are located in the rainforest, and 4 hot springs pools as well as a small and a large cool spring swimming pool are located in a meadow, surrounded by rainforest (see below for more information). The small and large cool springs pools both have water slides, and there is a small water slide in one of the shallow and moderate temperature pools for small children.
The Tree House is built to strict Costa Rican building codes, but as with all tree houses, there is some movement when the wind blows, and this could be uncomfortable for people very sensitive to motion sickness.
You may see our other listings on Airbnb at:
Tucano Casita (Toucan Casita) is listed as "Rainforest Casita with Hot Springs": airbnb.com/rooms/30358
Mariposa Casita (Butterfly Casita) is listed as "Rainforest Casita2 with Hot Springs" airbnb.com/rooms/51518
Colibri Casita (Hummingbird Casita) is listed as "Rainforest Casita3 with Hot Springs"
Tree House: "Rainforest Tree House with Hot Springs" airbnb.com/rooms/50435
You can check availability of each accommodation by clicking on the "Calendar" tab above the main photo on each listing.
Tree House features: (see floor-plan for all details):
• Perched high among the rainforest trees, the Tree House has large screened areas for circulation of naturally cooler breezes. It also has fans.
• All onsite hot springs and recreation activities included, including 24 hour access to the hot springs and cool spring swimming pools
• The Master bedroom with a Queen sized bed with orthopedic mattress and hypoallergenic bedding is in a loft
• One the main floor, two twin-sized beds that can double as settees with hypoallergenic bedding
• Hand-crafted rustic furniture from naturally harvested trees on the land
• Main floor kitchen with refrigerator, micro-wave, coffee maker, basic kitchenware
• Bathroom with flash on-demand hot-water heater
• Wrap around balcony for relaxing and animal and bird watching
• Maid service every 3 days included
• Laundry service at extra charge per load
• Short walk to rainforest and hot springs pools
• No telephone or television
• WiFi internet for your laptop -- if reliable 24 hour internet is essential to you, please message us for suggestions.
• Hosts Kathy and Bernie live onsite
• Languages: English, Spanish, German, limited French
One time $10 cleaning fee; thereafter housecleaning services every 3 days are free.
Bio Thermales Hot Springs features:
• Our hot springs pools are all-natural mineral water just as it flows from the Earth
• Rainforest Pools from 90° - 105°F (31° - 40°C)
• Grotto Pools in meadow flow from the 112°F/45°C source pool onward into two larger and progressively cooler pools which are handicap-accessible and suitable for small children.
• Cool Pool in meadow is 90°F/31°C mineral water flowing from the thermal creek
• 2 Swimming pools with continuous flow of natural cold spring water (88 degrees) - one is 1 to 1.5 meters deep, and the larger is 3 meters deep.
• Bathhouse in meadow with handicap accessible bathrooms and showers
• “Ranchos” – roofed tables with concrete floors and grills for picnics
Other Activities on our 35 acre rainforest reserve:
• Bird-watching: many types of toucans, oropendulas, parrots, hummingbirds, and the rare green macaw
• Rainforest: enjoy it from the casita porch or hot springs pools, take easy walks on paths or more adventurous hikes
• Fossils – enjoy our collection or hunt (gently) for your own
• Wildlife: two-toed sloths, iguanas, capuchin and mantled howler monkeys, tree frogs, birds, butterflies, and many others.
We are a 45 minute drive from the many activities in Fortuna and Volcano Arenal -- such as ziplines, hanging bridges, white water rafting, slow river floats or kayaking through wildlife sanctuaries -- or a 1.5 hour drive to La Paz Waterfall Gardens and Volcano Poas.
Bio Thermales Hot Springs is open to the public for day use of the hot springs, and most of our day visitors are Costa Ricans, so you may also meet new Tico friends. Bio Thermales is generally not crowded, however, except on major holidays and Sundays.
Food/Meals: The Tree House has a kitchen. There are many restaurants and a good supermarket within a 15 minute drive. Traditional Costa Rican meals can be delivered from a local caterer for very reasonable prices (Costa Rican food is tasty but not spicy). Otherwise, for those without cars, we can call a taxi or synchronize a food shopping trip when we go to town for errands.
Driving from SJO airport: Please message us before booking if we are your first and/or last destination in Costa Rica.
We recommend at least a small 4 wheel drive car. The last 3 kilometers are country roads.
Three hours of daylight are needed to safely drive here from the SJO airport before sunset at 5:30 pm. The drive through mountainous cloud forests is splendid in daylight, but prone to fog and rain, especially at night, creating hazardous visibility conditions after dark. Finding our countryside location will also be far easier if you arrive the first time before sunset. If your plane lands in the morning to noon, you can drive here directly from the airport. Otherwise, it is safer to book a room near the airport on your first night, or ask us to book a private driver ($145) and have a rental car delivered at no extra charge.
Last night in Costa Rica:
Driving directly to the SJO airport on the same day is possible if you book a flight in the afternoon. Please be aware that you must be at the airport 2.5 hours before departure. If you have an early morning departing flight it is basically necessary to stay near the airport on the night before.
Five of our 9 organic form hot springs pools are located in the rainforest, and 4 hot springs pools as well as a small and a large cool spring swimming pool(with water slides) are located in a meadow, surrounded by rainforest and one cool fresh spring pool in the rainforest (see below for more information). Tree House guests enjoy 24 hour hot springs pools and 35 acres of rainforest access at no charge. The pools are cleaned daily from 6 am to 9 am but one pool is always available -- there are many factors involved, including weather, that may dictate when the pools are ready.
Interaction with Guests
We enjoy interacting with our guests and making suggestions for and even help book activities in the area, as well as options for transportation. For personal interaction, we take our cues from our guests -- if they prefer privacy, we respect that; if they enjoy interaction, we are open to interaction and have met many delightful new friends in this way. If we are away, our Costa Rican manager, Johan, moves into our house with his lovely wife and baby daughter, so there is always a manager onsite.
We are in the countryside in a non-touristy rural area of family farms, orchards and rainforest, off the beaten tourist track. The last 2 km are unpaved country roads. Guests should expect a natural environment, integrated into the rainforest, with the usual wildlife native to a tropical rainforest (except there are no large jungle cats like jaguars). We are a 45 minute drive from the many activities in Fortuna/Volcano Arenal, including volcano hikes, ziplines, swimming in the pristine waters below the La Fortuna Waterfall, white water rafting and slow "safari float" rafting to see monkeys, sloths and other animals. Closer to us is a slow river raft tour, rainforest hikes or horseback riding, and a visit to the Iguana Bridge with many large iguanas within a 15 minute drive.
Public bus transport is available to nearby locations but not directly to us (the remainder of the journey being easily arranged from Aguas Zarcas by taxi). Public bus transport should be undertaken only by those experienced in public transport in Central America, preferably with backpacks and who speak Spanish. Private shuttles and private drivers are available, in addition to private rental car delivery to the guest's lodging and a special package for our guests, which includes a free cell phone for use in Costa Rica, discounted rates and a 100% guarantee that the quote will be complete and honest (no hidden fees).
Other Things to Note
Day visitors and groups are permitted entrance to use the hot springs and cool springs pools from 9 am to 6 pm. There are usually more day visitors on weekends, especially Sundays, and we recommend booking week days for more tranquility and privacy. If guests book a longer reservation that includes a Sunday, we recommend planning a day tour in the many nearby activities on Sundays. Day visitors must leave by 6 pm, and only casita and Tree House guests may use the pools after 6 pm and enjoy unlimited access to the pools, with the exception of no nighttime use of the forest pools, and cleaning schedule as noted above.
We recommend either ordering a catered dinner in advance for your first evening and/or next morning breakfast, or buying and bringing groceries to cook because we are 4 km from the main paved road and driving after dark is highly discouraged until drivers have quite some experience on Costa Rican roads. Also, most guests prefer to settle in upon arrival and not to have to get back in the car and drive out to dinner. We provide a Catering Menu to each guest once reserved, but the caterer requires advance notice of selected meals and TIMES guests would like meals delivered. We do not have a liquor license and guests must bring their own beer/wine/rum etc. The tap water is safe to drink, and we sell soft drinks, fruit juices, and other non-alcohol beverages, snacks and ice cream.
No children under 5 years of age for safety reasons (height of the Tree House). No smoking or flame inside the wooden Tree House or on the wooden deck. Costa Rica has just passed a law forbidding smoking in any public location, which includes the pools and and anywhere on the grounds where other people may be. The only smoking option is to go to a secluded place in the rainforest or the pasture outside our gate. This is Costa Rican law and will apply to any location in Costa Rica. Barbecue grill is provided below the Tree House on ground level but may not be used on the wooden deck. No glass bottles or dishes at the pools. Children must be supervised at all times in the pools or rainforest, and parents must prevent children from diving or jumping into the pools to avoid injury. Guests must be willing to open/shut the gate if they leave the property after 6 pm. No loud music or noise after 8 pm.
Pura Vida! (“Pure life” is an all-purpose greeting in Costa Rica, as well as a way of life.)
Kathy and Bernie (American and German, respectively) have designed Bio Thermales so guests may enjoy the beneficent hot springs and rainforest while making only positive impacts on the rainforest in our care. This is a very healing and lovely place and we look forward to sharing it with you. We have worked on many environmental endeavors, professionally and as volunteers. Bernie is an engineer, organic gardener, woodworker, artist and great cook. Kathy is a nutritionist, writer, graphic designer, and community and events organizer. We have also been active in many human rights efforts.
We have a friendly dog, tilapia pond and free-ranging chickens.