Lay back and relax
Spas and hot springs
There are more than 270 hot springs to explore throughout the entire length of Chile, from luxurious tourist springs to rustic, practically untouched havens.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Chile is dotted with thermal hot springs, popular destinations for natives and visitors alike.
Chile is dotted with thermal hot springs, popular destinations for natives and visitors alike seeking to treat ailments like rheumatism and circulatory problems, to improve the immune system, and for skincare and beauty.
Chile Termas is a new Spanish-language website that allows you to search for hot springs by geographic zone, facilities, and chemical properties of the water. Whether you’re looking for a hot spring near your vacation destination in Patagonia, activities for the kids, or oligomineral water (with few dissolved minerals), the professional and easy-to-navigate website will point you in the right direction.
English language information on nearly 20 well-established hot springs throughout the country can be found at GoChile, and English-language travel guides like Lonely Planet and Moon are good sources of information as well. A more comprehensive list of hot springs can be found at termas.cl, a Spanish language site with links to about 50 locations at the bottom of the page.
Here, This is Chile offers an illustrative sampling of the diversity that awaits.
Local residents have visited the thermal water at Termas de Puritama for centuries, but the hot springs only recently opened to the public. Located in the middle of the Atacama Desert at 11,000 feet (3,475 m) above sea level, the spa built wooden foot paths through the natural terrain, adding modern amenities by preserving the authentic, rustic look of the springs. The water runs from the Puritama River and is 92.3ºF (33.5ºC).
When to go: All year, from 9:15 am to 6:00 pm.
How to get there: Puritama is 19 miles (30km) north of San Pedro de Atacama along a dirt road.
Facilities: Outdoor pools connected by wooden footpaths, a waterfall, sauna, food and water, and changing rooms. Towels can be rented and swimsuits bought.
Cost: Adults CP$10,000 (US$22), Children $CP5,000 (US$11). Discount after 2 pm on weekdays, $CP5,000 pesos (US$11).
Nearby attractions: San Pedro de Atacama, Tatio geysers, the Valley of the Moon, astronomical tourism.
In the volcano’s glow
The area around Pucón is filled with hot springs, thanks to the area’s main tourist attraction, the Villarica volcano. Trancura is a well-designed spa with large indoor facilities, including five indoor pools ranging in temperature. There are seven pools outside in a paved area with plenty of lawn chairs for those who wish to cool off and enjoy the view of the volcano’s smoldering peak. Trancura will arrange transportation from Pucón.
When to go: All year, hours are seasonal.
How to get there: Trancura is 16 miles (25 km) east of Pucón, along the Camino Internaciónal.
Facilities: Indoor and outdoor pools, massage service, changing rooms, mud baths.
Cost: Adults $CP6,000 (US$13), children $CP4,000 (US$9), group discounts available.
Nearby attractions: Pucón, Villarica volcano, kayaking and adventure sports, Mapuche cultural exhibits.
Puyuhuapi spa is found in deep Patagonia along the famous Carretera Austral. Bathers can enjoy the mingling of three waters: cold saltwater from the southernmost reaches of the Pacific ocean; hot bubbling thermal spring water; and the cold fresh water delivered by pounding waterfalls. This beautiful spa has a view of the Dorita Bay and the Andes, and is on the grounds of the luxurious Puyuhaupi lodge. The lodge offers spa treatments, including balneotherapy, hot stone and therapeutic massage, and facials.
How to get there: Puyuhuapi is 130 miles (210 km) north of Coyaique on the Carretera Austral, and 9 miles (14 km) south of Puerto Puyuhuapi.
When to go: All year.
Facilities: Hot and cold water pools, jacuzzis with thermal water and salt water, sauna and steam room.
Cost: Negotiated with the Puyuhuapi lodge according to length of stay and time of year. Low season is March to November, high season is November to March.
Nearby attractions: Patagonia, fly-fishing, bird watching, whale watching, Antarctica.