I’m watching a young girl who seems to believe she’s posing for Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue. Draping herself over the black rocks in a small, churning waterfall, she arches her back and purses her lips. Steam rises from the warm water and condenses on the tropical flower tucked behind her ear. As her mom snaps her photo, a Jesus Christ Lizard darts across the surface of the water, right into the frame.

This is the Tabacon Hot Springs. When you get right down to it, the springs are the perfect representation of Costa Rica: Submerging in the interconnected lagoons, swirling with Arenal-volcano heated water of up to 102 degrees Fahrenheit, surrounded by succulent plants in florescent pinks, greens and yellows it is easy to think you’re in paradise. And you are. But the occasional cheeky lizard reminds you that this is Costa Rica and you’re not just in heaven, you’re in store for an adventure, too.

www.tabacon.com

jennifer rhodesJennifer Rhodes is a writer and teacher whose big mouth and complete absence of sound judgment make her a liability in most professional and social situations.