Our group (7) opted for the private transportation and guide, and we had a blast! Juan Carlos and Caesar made sure we were comfortable, well informed, and having a great time. We were picked up promptly and made a stop at El Jardin for coffee, restrooms, and souvenirs (20 minutes) ; the souvenirs are overpriced, but that's expected.
Next, we made our way to the national park to begin the hike. The hike itself was a lot of fun, and luckily it wasn't too hot out for us. Definitely bring a couple of granola bars and extra water. Our deet free bug spray worked very well on the hike. We managed to see a tapir, a black iguana, spider monkeys, a forest rat ( I forget the actual name ), and some smaller lizards.
After the hike, we had a short break with the chance to buy drinks, and then we made a 10 minute walk to the waterfall. The water was cool but refreshing and very clear. We spent about half an hour here before drying off and heading to get lunch. Lunch was buffet style with plenty of options and the option to buy drinks (water and tamarind juice were free). We then made our way to the hotsprings where there were about 9 pools over water of varying temperatures. You could also apply some volcanic mud to yourself and then rinse off with some showers. We spent 30-60 minutes here before heading home.
Overall the trip was well worth it and I can't thank Juan Carlos and Caesar enough for such a great time. They were excellent tour guides and they went above and beyond for us! This is definitely a great choice for experiencing a mix of things, just be ready for some sore legs!