Rainforest Casita with Hot Springs

Cabin - Entire home/apt · Aguas Zarcas, Costa Rica

The Tucano Casita Is a charming new cottage at our the 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.

The Space

We are three hours north of San Jose (airport), 45 minutes east of Fortuna and Volcano Arenal.

Our hot springs are ancient “deep Earth” sources that bubble up through the rainforest floor, bringing 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.

Guests enjoy 24 hour access to the hot springs.
Please note that we do not charge extra for children under 18 years old.

Tucano Casita features (see floor-plan for all details):
• Air-conditioning (but you probably won't need it)
• All onsite hot springs and recreation activities included
• Queen sized bed with orthopedic mattress and hypoallergenic bedding
• Twin-sized bed/settee with thick foam mattress and hypoallergenic bedding
• Hand-crafted rustic furniture from naturally harvested trees on the land
• Kitchen with refrigerator, micro-wave, coffee maker, electric skillet and basic kitchenware
• Tiled bathroom with real hot-water heater
• Porch with handmade rocking chair, swing, hammock
• 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
• Hosts Kathy and Bernie live onsite
• Languages: English, Spanish, German, limited French

Note on wifi -- we are currently working on a system to establish wifi connection with the casita, but at this time wifi is available only to the Tree House or at our reception area. If internet access is very important to your work, the best option is to bring a laptop/device with a USB port and purchase a 3G stick at SJO airport for about $50, no contract required. Remote locations in Costa Rica usually have spotty or no wifi and weather dependent.

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 Thermal Pool in meadow is 90°F/31°C mineral water flowing from the thermal creek
• 2 Cold Spring Water swimming pools (all natural, continuous water flow) from forest spring
• 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, even a jaguarondi if you are lucky and quiet.

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 an hour drive from the less trodden cloud forest of Juan Castro Blanco National Park, with wonderful bird watching, including the Resplendent Quetzal. To see Quetzals, the best season is Feb to early May.

We are happy to help guests arrange activities through trustworthy tour guides and companies.

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.

You may see our other listings on Airbnb at:

Tree House: "Rainforest Tree House with Hot Springs" airbnb.com/rooms/50435

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"

Food/Meals: The casita 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, we can call a taxi or synchronize a food shopping trip when we go to town for errands.

Driving from SJO airport:

We highly 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 or mid-day, you can drive here directly from the airport. Otherwise, it is safer to book a room near the airport on your first night or we can help you arrange a private professional driver.

Last night in Costa Rica:
To drive directly to the SjO airport on the same day as your departing flight, you will need an afternoon or evening departing flight. For early morning departing flights, it is necessary to stay your last night near the airport.

Please email us before booking if we are your first and/or last destination in Costa Rica.

Guest Access

Four of our 8 organic form hot springs pools and a natural cool spring pool are located in the rainforest, and 4 hot springs pools as well as 2 cool natural spring swimming pools, are located in a meadow, surrounded by rainforest. Casita guests enjoy 24 hour hot springs pools and 35 acres of rainforest access at no charge.

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.

The Neighborhood

We are out in a non-touristy rural area of family farms, orchards and rainforest, off the beaten tourist tract. Guests should expect a natural environment, integrated into the rainforest. 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.

Getting around

Public bus transport is available to nearby locations but not directly to us (the remainder of the journey being easily arranged by taxi). Public bus transport should be undertaken only by those experienced in public transport in Central America, preferably with backpacks. 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

Please message us before booking if you wish to drive directly from the airport to us, so we can determine if this is feasible. Sunset is at 5:30 and night driving is highly discouraged until drivers have quite some experience on Costa Rican roads.

Room type: Entire home/apt
Accommodates: 4
Bedrooms: 1
Bathrooms: 1
Beds: 2
Extra people: $12 / night after 2 guests
Weekly Price: $390 /week
Monthly Price: $1000 /month
Cleaning Fee: $10
Check Out: 12:00 PM (noon)
Cancellation: Strict
Pet Owner: Dog(s)

Overall Guest Satisfaction

Check In
  • We had a great time staying in the casita! It was clean and quiet. The hot springs were wonderful, especially when you've travelled a long way to get there! Frank, who gives tours, is great. We kind of regret renting a car, because I'm not sure we needed it. But it was a fantastic place to stay, everyone was friendly, and it got our Costa Rica trip started on the right foot!

    March 2014
  • Imagine a beautiful, comfortable cabin in a jungle clearing, decorated with carved master works. Imagine hiking the jungle trail, spotting parrots, toucans and a tiny red poison dart frog, and hearing howler monkeys, bird songs and insect celebrations. Imagine pools of the hotspring, in the dark night, with a cool mist falling, the jungle alive with activity, and the only light being the stars of Orion overhead. This is the Rainforest Casita.

    Prior to our arrival we received a comprehensive set of maps and directions from Kathy, who also promptly answered each of our email inquiries. Our on-site host, Johan, was very friendly and gave us a thorough briefing and tour of the facilities, both within the casita and on the property grounds.

    The casita entrance is adorned with a beautiful hand-carved wooden door, and other artistic woodworking abounds throughout the interior. The kitchen is equipped with a mini-fridge, hot plate, microwave, and coffee-maker (with complementary coffee). The outdoor patio space provides hand-carved rocking chairs and a hammock for relaxation.

    During our stay we heard howler monkeys, watched toucans, oropendola, and hummingbirds in the trees above the pools, and encountered a poison dart (blue jeans) frog along the woodland trail.

    Hot-spring pools are arranged in a cascade pattern, with water ranging from hot to ambient air-temperature. Although the pools are open to visitors during the day, guests have exclusive access after 6pm and before 9am. We enjoyed visiting the pools located within the forest after dark to watch the stars and listen to howler monkeys while luxuriating in cascading warm spring water.

    Wifi is available, but only at the outdoor reception area, not within the casitas. This could be inconvenient, e.g. during rain, but has the merit of potentially encouraging interaction between guests.

    March 2014
  • This place is amazing--a real highlight of the trip. It was exactly what we hoped to find. It was clean, relaxing, and removed from the bustle of San Jose. We even woke up to the sound of a monkey outside our cabin.

    March 2014
  • Great place. Well worth the trip. A must for seclusion.

    March 2014
  • Very nice, comfortable and clean lodge. We really enjoyed the hot springs in the early morning when other visitors can not enter, especially the ones in the rainforest! Also good breakfast and dinner. We definitely would go back!


    March 2014
  • We had an absolutely splendid time here. The hot springs were very relaxing, especially at night after a long day of exploring. The casita was charming. You can tell from the details that this is a labor of love for Kathy and Bernie: hand-carved doors, bed constructed with felled local wood, hand-engraved bathroom tiles. It feels like you are never more than an arm's length away from something handmade right there on-site.

    We got to see some cool wildlife during our stay too. A keel-billed toucan landed in a tree no more than 25 m away from me while eating breakfast on the casita porch!

    Thanks again! Hope to be back soon.

    -Jay and Carmen

    P.S. We both liked the catering and recommend it to future guests. The price is very reasonable considering that it is delivered by motorbike to your doorstep. Very tasty!

    February 2014
  • Our experience at Biothemales was simply wonderful. Kathy and Bernie are extraordinary people and their place reflects this. It is a small piece of paradise with simple, beautiful casitas and delicious, clean hot and cool pools, as well as swimming pools dotted through their forested area. The road in is rough but drivable. They open Biothermales to locals on the weekends and it becomes noisier and filled with families having great times. I probably would avoid the weekend on a return trip, although it was sweet and special to watch.

    February 2014
  • The hot springs were a perfect start to our holiday. Kathy and Bernie are wonderful hosts and have great recommendations. I would insist on adding this to your itinerary while in Costa Rica.

    February 2014
  • Our Stay at the Rainforest Casitas was great. Kathy and Bernie were so helpful and so kind and made our stay so comfortable. We could tell they take pride in their casitas and hot springs and it reflects with their service. We would definitely stay here again and maybe splurge and go for the tree house:) If you are looking for something private and tranquil this is the place.

    February 2014
  • Getting to the rainforest casita is not for the faint of heart. If you have a 4X4 or are used to driving on Costa Rica's back roads the road really is fine. If you're used to paved roads you may have a hard time with it. Be aware that this is a "rainforest" casita - which means it rains a lot. It's a major undertaking to go out for meals - I'd suggest either bringing your own food (no nearby supermarkets) or buying the catered meals (which we didn't try but sounded good). There are snack type items you can buy on site. I had the impression the kitchen in the casita was not too well equipped, but we had a hotplate, electric frying pan, and plenty of utensils. There's really no space inside to eat or sit, but the porch is under cover and has a small table and chairs. Be aware that the Toucan casita is right next to the workshop. At 7 AM they were using power tools and hard at work, and the work continued much of the day. Not exactly peaceful. The Monday we arrived the pools were full of screaming kids and local visitors. The second day there were only a couple (quieter) families who left early and it was great having the pools to ourselves (also early morning was great). Cathy and Bernie have amazing experiences and are great hosts. Wifi does not reach the casitas, but you can connect right by the office. Trails were too wet and muddy to walk, but you can walk along the road.

    January 2014
    Kathy & Bernie
    Response from Kathy & Bernie:

    Dear Loren,

    I am sorry for the power tools being used so early -- Bernie normally asks guests if or when some construction noise will bother guests, but he was gone that day on a tour with his neice visiting from Germany. And also It was unseasonably rainy so the construction crews could not do their usual early morning work away from the casitas, so without Bernie to advise them otherwise, they worked in the workshop. We will try our very best to make sure this never happens again. Also rain in January is highly unusual in Costa Rica; we usually have brilliant sunshine, as we do today, with an occasional light rain -- as you say, you don't get rainforest without rain. Thank you for the feedback.

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Deutsch, English, Español
University of Minnesota, University of Munich
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 organizer. We have also been active in many human rights efforts. We have a black Lab, horses, cows, tilapia pond and free-ranging chickens.
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