Pristine waterfalls, myriad geysers, natural swimming holes, bubbling mud pots, fumaroles, rejuvenating thermal hot springs, hiking, horseback riding, orchids, bird-watching, a canopy zipline, white-water rafting and a quarter-mile waterslide…a visit to Hacienda Guachipelin in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, is anything but boring.
The Hacienda is located at the foot of Rincón de la Vieja (“Old Woman’s Place”), an active volcano approximately 6,000 feet high with almost vertical sides, which provides the activity needed for the thermal springs. My family of four decided on a day of both action and relaxation—the perfect balance.
We began the day with an uphill trek through forest and hanging bridges. When we made it to our destination, we were promptly strapped into harnesses, attached to a cable and zipped through the tree canopy.
Next up, a quarter-mile long adrenaline-rush waterslide. It finished with a sudden drop into a pool which I was thoroughly unprepared for. As a result, I ended my slide feet-over-head with a snout full of water—much to the amusement of my kids!
A quick towel-off and we set out on a guided horseback ride where we enjoyed the natural, rugged beauty of the area.
After a belly-busting buffet lunch, we reached our final destination—the mud baths and thermal springs, which were hands-down the highlight of the day. After opening our pores in the sauna, we made a bee-line for the mud vats where we applied generous amounts of the thick, warm, rich, brown volcanic substance to every inch of exposed skin.
In just a few minutes, the dark slime dried to an ash-colored, dry-packed second skin.
After a rinse in the showers we were off to what I called the “Goldilocks” thermal pools. One was too hot, one not hot enough, but the last was…ahhhh….just right! The pools cast a kind of social spell on the thoroughly stress-free guests who were quite chatty and friendly.
We stayed in the pools until dusk where we were kindly ushered out by the spa staff and not-so-kindly inbound mosquitoes. How much did all this cost? Day passes to access all the facilities cost $80 per person.
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