Read what other Viator.com travelers think about the Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs Day Trip from San Jose. What they loved, what they liked and what they think could be improved, it's all here to help you make the most of your next trip.
This was my first day trip in Costa Rica and it was Average. There were many good points and several bad points.
Pros: Excellent meal at the Arenal volcano, Baldi hot springs is truly magnificent. I highly recommend this place and although mine wasn't a romantic escape, I can see the intoxicating effect this place would have if you were to bring your significant other.
Cons: A 2 hour bus ride that only stops once to buy souvenirs and when we get to the volcano, you really don't go to it. All you do is eat lunch and look at it from afar. It looks like any other mountain, so in essence you are riding 2 hours to look at a mountain. Very lame. As I previously mentioned the hot springs are amazing, but there is NOTHING else to do there. After 3 hours of sitting in a hot tub, you start to prune up and would like to do something else. Other than eat candy at the gift shop or get drunk at a bar (which is WAAAY overpriced), there is nothing. Couple that with a terrible buffet dinner, and I was ready to leave. Also.. a warning. Baldi obviously promotes to schools that are vacationing. There was over 4 tour buses full of teenagers that were at the hot springs. Although they behaved themselves, don't expect a peaceful retreat.
This is a long trip from San Jose. We left around 8 and didn't arrive at the hot springs until after 2. We had lunch en route and a stop at Arenal to take some pgo ictures.
I'd advise you to check which Springs you are going to ... I saw the photo of Tabacon Springs and assumed that to be the destination (I'd been to Tabacon and wanted to return) ... but no... I was told I'd only paid to go to Baldi Springs. It cost me another $48 USD to go Tabacon. Tabacon is beaautiful and the buffet superb.
NICE RIDE TO THE TWO PLACES. AVERAGE SIGHTSEEING SETTINGS. VERY VERY LONG 14 HOUR DAY.
Drive was too long and was disappointed we did not get a closer look at the Volcano after driving for 3 hours. Hot springs was very nice though and the dinner was very good.
The tour was OK. The drive was LONG (3 hours) and the vehicle was very small and completely full. There was no restroom in the van. The van was old and it rattled--made a lot of noise. Seats were uncomfortable. The volcano (which didn't do anything but smoke---and hasn't done in 2 1/2 years according to the tour guide) wasn't anything spectacular. The landscape where we stopped to take pictures was beautiful, but at the end of the day, the volcano was just a mountain. The visit to the hot springs resort was well worth it. Very relaxing. Beautiful resort. Definitely the highlight of the trip. My one draw back was that the water wasn't very hot. The day wasn't very hot, so the waters were pretty luke warm. The food (lunch and dinner) was very good. Tour guide was knowledgeable.
It was a nice day trip. Although, I wish that the group didn't have to split up to go to 2 different hot springs and restaurant locations. Also, we were the first picked up and the last dropped off. It was a lot of time just sitting in the bus....kind of a drag
This trip is a lot longer than described. The way to the volcano took abot 5-hours since they stopped at a souvenir shop. If you get car sick, it is recommended to take some medication with you since there is a very good chance you will get sick. Other than that this tour was very pleasant, the food was excellent and the facilities at Tabacon resort were very, very good.
There were 25 people on the bus. 20 went to one hot spring and 5 of us got dumped at the other.
Poor instructions from the guide . All 5 of us were lost as the guide was with the larger group.
We would have preferred to stay with the group, even if it was a down grade in facilities.
Viator was great but the local tour operator was terrible. They forgot to pick us up and told us it was our fault. We had to re-organize our trip to reschedule the tour and when they were suppose to pick us up a second time, they went to the wrong hostel and told us to take a taxi to another hotel.
Extremely disappointing for time spent and price. Over a three hour drive from San Jose. We did not get to see or hear anything about the Arenal, the excuse being cloud cover. If we had known that all we would do was go to hot springs for several hours we would not have booked the trip and wasted six plus hours on a horrible van ride. By the time the driver picked us up the van was full. I sat on a seat over the wheel well with my legs cramped up for the whole day! The whole day was spoiled because of the discomfort of that van.
Poor! We drove 3 hours to spend 3 hours at a gifts shop, church, and restaurant... To eat barely enough! drove another hour and a half to not see a volcano! Hot springs was ok but food was average! And alcohol was expensive! Then drove 4 hours home with a screaming kid! Worst tour I have paid for!
This tour is not marketed well at all. If your goal is to sit on a bus for 7-8 hours and see the hot springs for 2-3, you'll be pleased. But if you are going to see a volcano, skip over this one.
Unfortunately they were going to take us to Baldi and not Tabacon who is the most beautiful one to visit and a must. Deal 93.99 is no deal it is just the rate charged by every tour company. You have to pay 116.00 to see the Tabacon and Viator makes it look like you are going there for 93.99. Luckily we upgraded with an additional fee.
I booked this tour anticipating that at least part of our day would be spent touring the Arenal volcano itself, and National Park (the day trip was misleadingly advertised as 'Arenal Volcano and Hot Springs'). Instead, we were taken directly to a thermal spa, after an unnecessarily long (2-hour!) buffet lunch stop at a nearby restaurant. The spa itself was nice, if a little too touristy. After spending more than 3 hours there (it was well after sunset when we departed), we were driven around the Arenal lake reservoir, completely pointlessly, as by then it was dark and we could not see any of the surrounding area. Equally pointless was a later stop at a viewing point, which supposedly provided an optimal view of the Arenal volcano (perhaps it would have, if our visit there had been scheduled to take place when there was still daylight!). The tour concluded with another long stop for dinner, at the same restaurant where we had lunch. The service was hopelessly slow this second time, and the food mediocre quality.
To make matters worse, throughout the trip the tour guide's commentary was frustratingly dumbed-down, providing no useful, or substantial information on local history, or the volcano itself. He also kept addressing our group as if it consisted of schoolchildren on an excursion.
In conclusion, I found this tour to be a huge disappointment. It was certainly not worth its price (over £50 per person). I would discourage any tourist interested in seeing and learning about Arenal itself and the National Park from booking it.