At Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa in La Fortuna, we interviewed the resort’s Events Coordinator or wedding planner, Jennifer Hernandez, who gave us access to the some of the guest room, and took us on a tour of the venues for weddings an elopements, its common areas, its amenities, and showed its is most notable views. Hopefully, this article helps you find the best resort for your dream wedding in Costa Rica!
LOCATION & TRANSPORTATION
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa is about 3 hours northwest of Juan Santamaria airport on the main highway passing through La Fortuna. The resort provides round-trip transportation to the airport for guests. It also works with a local tour company if you are interested in any of the sites and activities in La Fortuna
REPUTATION, HISTORY & DESIGN
Sitting on more than 900 acres of lush tropical rainforest reserve at the base of the Arenal Volcano that is home to the largest network of naturally flowing hot springs in Costa Rica, Tabacon was originally conceived as a wellness spa where guests could interact with nature in a peaceful, enchanting environment.
After an intensive and complete renovation in the 90s that involved reforesting the surrounding land that was pasture and altering the Arenal River so that the thermal waters would flow through the resort over waterfalls and into pools, Tabacon became an internationally recognized resort and spa, as well as a world-class wedding destination that has maintained its original concept of a wellness spa embedded in beautiful natural surroundings with amazing views of the Arenal Volcano and rainforest.
The resort consists of two sections divided by the highway traveling through La Fortuna. One part consists of the reception area, guest rooms, bungalows, and Los Tucanes Restaurant. The other part consists of the thermal pools, Ave del Paraiso Restaurant, and the spa.
WHY TABCON RESORT SO UNIQUE
Tabacon is internationally recognized for its hot sprigs and its spa. All thermal water feeding its pools are all heated naturally, including the hot tubs at its spa. Its spa is first-class and offers all the treatments a first-rate spa offers, but it does so in private rainforest bungalows. That is is surrounded by acres and acres of rainforest near the Arenal Volcano only adds to its uniqueness.
BEST TIME FOR TABACON WEDDING
There are many factors to consider when planning your destination wedding, especially when it is in another country, such as the weather and the high and low seasons. The climate, the weather, when are the high and low seasons are but a few of the numerous aspect to consider when planning a destination wedding, all of which will affect your overall experience, travel costs, and cost and availability of accommodations.
The most accurate way to describe the weather in La Fortuna is that it defies prediction, to a point. La Fortuna experiences the least rainfall in March and April, whereas December is the wettest month. Precipitation is highly probable in all the other months, with more rain falling from August to December. The rain in Costa Rica is mild. It is a light to medium rain and it can rain for hour on end, usually in the afternoon and night. The end-of-days-type weather particular to Florida in its rainy season are not common here. Tabacon is prepared for this sort of climate and weather. It has several lovely covered and indoor locations for wedding ceremonies, receptions and dinners.
BUSY & SLOW SEASONS
The summer – the busy season – in Costa Rica, starts in mid December and tapers of in late march. This is when many Costa Ricans go on vacation, namely to the beaches, and is when there are more tourists further increasing the amount of guests at resorts. The winter – the slow season – starts in late March and comes to an en in mid December, which is also the rainy season, or green season, due to the amount of rain.
If you want to say I do at Tabacon in the busy season, plan way in advance, plan on paying more for travel and accommodations, and plan on there being many more people than in the slow season.
WEDDING PLANNING SERVICES
One option is to rely on Tabacon’s in-house wedding planner who can help you plan your wedding and provide you with their wedding packages and refer wedding day vendors. Another option is to find an independent wedding planner you feel better accommodates your needs and wants. For help choosing a wedding planner, visit our 7 Reasons You Should Choose a Wedding Planner and How to Choose a Wedding Planner pages.
BRIDAL PREPARATION SERVICES
On your wedding day, there is no need to leave your room to prepare. You can have your hair styled, makeup applied, and your manicure and pedicure all done at the resort, in your room in fact.
CEREMONIES – TYPES & SIZES
Whether you are planning an elopement, a civil ceremony, a traditional or non-traditional wedding, a small intimate ceremony or a large wedding with no more than 60 guests, Ms. Hernandez and Tabacon can accommodate all of your wedding day and lodging needs. According to Ms. Hernandez, Tabacon can manage 1 wedding per day, and will make sure you have a marvelous wedding day.
Tabacon can meet all of your and your family and friend’s lodging needs. Amongst their 42 guest rooms, they have dedicated honeymoon suites, standard guest rooms, and larger suites for families. They have dedicated honeymoon suites among 42 guest rooms at their sprawling resort. All rooms have air-conditioning and views of the Arenal rainforest, and some have a view of the Arenal Volcano.
From the photos below, you should be able to get a good impression of the, design, style, and quality of Tabacon’s Honeymoon Suite and other accommodations for you, your family, and friends.
1. HONEYMOON SUITE
At 700 sq. ft., Tabacon’s Honeymoon Suite is quite spacious and elegant given its higher than normal ceilings and unique wood solid wood furniture. Its floors are covered with tile, and there is a large and comfortable L-shaped couch on a large rug for your lounging comfort, as well a small table and chairs by the sliding glass doors. It also features a king size canopy bed constructed of solid wood with white fabric for the canopy. The bathroom has a Jacuzzi-type tub for two and has natural stone tile on the floor sand walls, and a natural stone vanity top with an ornate glass bowl-shaped sink with refined fixtures. The Honeymoon Suite has amazing views of the Arenal rainforest and Arenal Volcano, so you will feel as if you are alone with your beloved in the jungle in an amazing room.
2. STANDARD GUEST ROOMS
The Orchid Room is what we classify as a standard room, meaning it is the most basic and smallest room Tabacon offers. At 376 sq. ft., do not let this lead you to believe it is any less elegant than Tabacon’s other accommodations. It has been remodeled with modern furnishings, recessed and pendant lights over the nightstands, and has natural stone floors in the bedroom area. The bathroom floor is done in a mosaic-type tile and all the walls, including those in the shower, are completely tiled. The shower has unique woodworking, lighting and a shower head in the ceiling with glass doors giving the shower a very open and clean feeling. The Orchid Room comes with either one king bed or two king beds, and a small wooden table with a loveseat and another chair near the sliding glass door which offers great views of the rainforest and Arenal Volcano. For family and friends staying at Tabacon for your wedding, this is a great option, especially knowing that some Orchid Rooms can be connected.
Tabacon offers other accommodations that are in-between the Honeymoon Suite and the standard room and some that are larger than the Honeymoon Suite. We did not photograph these rooms, but were able to provide a basic description of them.
3. RAINFOREST ROOM
If a Honeymoon Suite is not available, the Rainforest and any of the following rooms would be a great replacement. It is a nice size at 667 sq. ft., has a king size bed without a canopy, a two-person hot tub in the bathroom and a separate shower with glass doors, a terrace or a balcony overlooking the tropical rainforest, a sofa bed, and beautiful, high quality solid wood furniture.
4. TABACON SUITE
At 1067 sq. ft. this is Tabacon’s largest single-room offering that comes with one king size bed or two full size beds and a pullout sofa bed. It comes with the option of an in-room hot tub for two that is fed by a thermal spring or a separate shower whose hot water comes from a hot spring. There is a large area for dining or for socializing that has two couches that can seat 4-5 people. Its views of the rainforest are similarly impressive.
5. TABACON 2-BEDROOM SUITE
This suite, measuring 1560 sq. ft., has a master bedroom equipped with a king bed that has a canopy with white fabric and an additional bedroom with 2 full beds. Its elegant bathroom has dual ornate glass bowl sinks that rest on a granite counter, as well as a two-person hot tub and a separate shower. The master bedroom also has a comfortable couch for passing the time and a sliding glass door that opens to the dense tropical rainforest, as do the sliding glass doors in the second bedroom.
6. SENATOR 2-BEDROOM SUITE
The master bedroom in the Senator Suite has a king bed with a canopy, a complete wall that is a window as well as terrace that both offer a view of the rainforest, an in-room Jacuzzi and separate shower, a second lavatory in addition to a expansive walk-in closet, whereas the second bedroom has two full beds in a spacious room with sliding glass doors and a balcony with a similar view. The living area located in a separate room between the two bedrooms has a two couches and a coffee table in front of a television and a quant dining area next to a large window with a great view of the rainforest. With 2,530 sq. ft., The Senator Suite is a great option for families or large groups wanting to stay together.
WEDDING DAY EVENT SITES
1. BUNGALOW – CEREMONIES & RECEPTIONS
A great option for an intimate wedding ceremony or elopement is The Bungalow, which can accommodate up to 12 guests for a wedding ceremony or reception. It is a square structure with open walls and wood floors that is nestled in the rainforest just out of site of the guest rooms whose roof resembles that of a Caribbean island-type hut made of palm leaves. It is also an ideal location for an intimate, romantic dinner either before or after your wedding or elopement.
3. WATERFALL BRIDGE – CEREMONIES
If you are planning a small wedding ceremony or elopement with up to 7 guests and would like to have it in a truly picturesque location, the Red Waterfall Bridge is the place. It is located atop several cascading waterfalls over which the Tabacon Rivers flows into the resort and is surrounded by tropical plants, flowers, and rainforest.
3. SALON GARDEN – CEREMONIES
For wedding ceremonies with 60 guests, the large rectangular open-air lawn area next to the Tabacon Salon is perfect. It is bordered on three sides by tropical plants and flowers native to Costa Rica, has a view of the rainforest, and is a stone’s throw from the Tabacon Salon where you can have your wedding reception.
4. TABACON SALON – RECEPTIONS
The Tabacon Salon accommodates wedding parties consisting of no more that 60 people and is located on the guest reception side of the resort where the guest rooms are located, making it a convenient location within walking distance, which is important on hot days and if wearing heels.
5. AVE DEL PARAISO – RESTAURANT
Near the thermal pools, Ave del Paraiso, a casual dining experience with delicious dishes, resembles a Spanish-style hacienda or mission with its highly textured plaster-like walls, high v-shaped roof, visible wooden rafters and ceiling, Roman-arched openings, wood railings, and solid wood chairs and tables with straight lines, and adobe-colored floor tiles. The restaurant is L-shaped, with one side overlooking the rainforest, waterfalls, and river flowing through the resort and the other side has a view of the thermal springs pool.
6. LOS TUCANES– RESTAURANT
While at Tabacon, Los Tucanes was undergoing renovations, and we were therefore unable take photos and are not able to provide a complete description. Los Tucanes, Tabacon’s more formal dining experience specializing in international cuisine, is located in a freestanding building nestled in the rainforest that overlooks a large pool fed by water that cascades over a waterfall that stretches along the back of the pool.
Tabacon Thermal Resort & Spa gained international recognition mostly for its thermal springs and spa.
Tabacon is most famous for its thermal mineral springs, which are the largest natural network of springs in Arenal. The magma of the Arenal Volcano heats the water that flows through its five main springs through which flow thousands of gallons of water per minute, forming the Tabacon River, and which flows over dozens of waterfalls throughout the resort, filling pools along the river bed, ranging in temperature from 72 – 105 º Fahrenheit. It is a great way for you to relax before and after your wedding day.
Tabacon’s spa treatments – soaking in a spring-fed hot tub, body massages, and facials – are all given at its open-air spa bungalows nestled in the Arenal rainforest. The hardwood-floored huts are designed to allow fresh air and the scents of the rainforest to enter and to hear the sounds of the rainforest and the hot springs, coalescing to create a ubiquitous, tranquil, hum.
Everywhere you look at Tabacon there is beauty, from its views of the Arenal Volcano and rainforest, to its thermal springs and cascading waterfalls, from its luxurious and elegant accommodations and structures to its incorporation into the environment, you will find no shortage of amazing views before, during, and after your wedding at Tabacon.
Serene. Sublime. Rustic. Modern. Tabacon is all of these. The sound of the water rushing in the Tabacon River and flowing over cascading waterfalls is in itself a marvel to one’s ears. Add to it the soft sounds of the birds and other animals in the rainforest and it adds another level. Its rustic elements blended with modern renovations make it both warm and elegant at once. It is a wonderful and enchanting place for a wedding, for an elopement, for two lovers to become one.