Volcanic springs are a luxury worldwide, and oftentimes resorts like Baldi Hot Springs where we visited build their resorts around the springs to create a spa-like environment where patrons come to be pampered. The idea of sitting in a bath naturally heated by nearby volcanoes was at first a little frightening. I thought of crabs cooking on the stove, and wondered if I had some internal thermometer that would suddenly go off if the volcanic activity suddenly spiked. I assured myself silently that resorts probably could not run a successful business if tourists regularly boiled to death in their care, and dipped my foot into a stone pond with a sign labeled “152 degrees Fahrenheit.” I jumped back from the scalding water, and decided to instead wander around the rest of the resort, trying out ponds that were only around 120 degrees.
There were about a dozen hot ponds to relax in, and I waded waist-deep through a steaming hot pool to the swim up bar. I figured the combination of alcohol and abnormally warm water was a recipe for dehydration (and possible drowning), so I drifted lazily in the sediment-rich water and dragged my feet on the rough stone bottom. I braved the hottest pond for about 90 seconds, then took the rest of the time to explore. We left the resort and drove to see the Arenal volcano—but this time, at night. Standing in the cool night air, we watched from the base as what looked like tiny red fireworks spurted out of the top of the mountain in 20-minute intervals, at which the surrounding crowd would gasp and point into the navy blue sky.