Still a work-in-progress at last visit, this fantastic facility at The Springs Resort & Spa (tel. 506/2401-3313, www.thespringscostarica.com , 8 a.m.–midnight daily, $40 24-hour pass), five kilometers west of La Fortuna , combines 19 thermal river pools and cascades (15 more are in the works) fed by natural thermal mineral water pumped up from 120 meters belowground. This facility uses state-of-the-art filtration and other technology to maintain water purity.
There is a fantastic big-cat exhibit, with ocelots, margays, pumas, and jaguarundis in large, landscaped cages. Some, such as Pito the ocelot, enjoy being petted; the jaguarundis spend half their time hissing at anyone who gets too close to the cage. A Jaguar Island, an open puma exhibit, a walk-through sloth exhibit, a Monkey Island, and a snake center are in the works.
Nearing completion in 2011, the landscaped riverside Club Rio Outdoor Center will feature a climbing and rappelling wall, tubing, a ropes course, and a rapids course for kayaks, for both adults and kids. Mountain-bike and horse trails through 20 hectares of jungle are planned.