Hot springs emerge from the very center of the earth and are known for their therapeutic effects, such as soothing stress and encouraging general well being. Colombia, thanks to its many volcanoes, is a natural source for these hot medicinal waters, which can contain up to 10 different mineral compounds to ease your worries away. The following thermal spas are some of our most popular:
Santa Rosa de Cabal
The thermal springs at Santa Rosa de Cabal, in Risaralda, are probably the most impressive in Colombia, given that they descend in a hot waterfall. Visitors have two options here. The first is the more natural Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal Balneario, which requires a short hike to the foot of the first hot cascade, which collects into several natural pools. The second is to continue to the nearby hotel, where a smaller waterfall runs into dozens of hot tubs, all at different temperatures.
Villa de Leyva
Villa de Leyva is a much-loved retreat from the city of Bogota (a journey of around three hours) and the hot springs are one of the attractions in this colonial town. The open air site includes three pools, which tend to be warm rather than hot, and a restaurant, terrace and changing rooms. Although it’s possible to go during the day, many choose to visit these thermal springs at night, usually after a long day hiking or sight-seeing. The thermal baths are candlelit and, on a clear night, the stars are huge.
The Santa Monica hot springs are one of the key attractions of Choachi, a small town east of Colombia’s capital, Bogota. The water here emerges from the earth at a scorching 80C, but has cooled to 30-38C by the time it reaches the various public bathing pools. These thermal baths are in a lovely natural setting, with plenty of amenities and several large swimming pools that are also heated by the hot springs. Plenty of visitors choose to bathe here after dark too.
The Tierra Viva hot springs are just five minutes from the Coffee Cultural Landscape city of Manizales, on the outskirts of Los Nevados national park. And the park is the only reason they exist at all. Nevado del Ruiz, one of the largest and most famous volcanoes in Colombia, is active and heats the water in these springs to around 65C. The water then cools to around 35-40C before it reaches the pools at the Tierra Viva complex. The nearby Termales El Otoño are also a popular choice.
The San Vicente thermal baths, two hours from the Coffee Cultural Landscape city of Pereira, are some of the most rustic in the country, designed around the cloud forest in which they emerge. The pools are clearly defined but secluded, bordered by trees and plants and warm, natural waterfalls that are also heated by the volcanic activity of the nearby Los Nevados national park. Visitors often hike in the surrounding forests before relaxing in the thermal pools.