Wherever there is hot, recently formed igneous rock and volcanic activity, there are thermal springs. Sometimes resort areas or spas have developed around these areas offering mud baths, mineral water baths and massages while others have remained in their natural state. Either way, thermal springs offer travelers a respite from their busy days of vacation. Here are three of the best know Peruvian thermal springs for you to consider if you want to enjoy a relaxing bath heated by mother nature.
Spa fit for a King
One of the more well-known thermal springs are the Inca Baths of Cajamarca. The Baths are located about 4 miles east of the city of Cajamarca, which is 8,900 feet above sea level and has a population of 135,000 people. The springs are historically important in that they were greatly enjoyed by the Inca Emperor Atahualpa around the time when the Spanish Conquistadores arrived. The baths have remained relatively intact, with stone canals and fountains dating back to the time of the Incas. The waters themselves contain a variety of minerals and at are a temperature of 70°F. New pools have been built for both individuals and groups, designed for visitors. Comments about the waters revolve around their medicinal and healing powers and they are considered a good way to treat some bone diseases, as well as to relax.
A relaxing end to the Inca Trail
Probably the most famous of the thermal springs in Peru are located in the town of Aguas Calientes, the city whose name means “hot waters”, which comes from the natural, sulfur-heated waters in the small town at the base of Machu Picchu. The waters emerge from the rocky subsoil at a temperature of between 38°C and 46°C and appear to be quite dirty due to the amount of sulfur present. They have long been considered to have medicinal properties and have become so popular that a basic infrastructure of pools and changing rooms along with a cafeteria have been set up for enjoying the waters, particularly if one has just completed the Inca Trail and explored the mysteries of Machu Picchu.
At the bottom of the World’s second deepest canyon – a thermal bath
The thermal springs of the Colca Valley and Canyon are located in various places near to the town of Chivay along the Colca River. Surrounded by mountains affording lovely views, these springs consist of natural and man-made pools built of stone which make good use of the rocky formations of the riverbed and are fed by a spring which has a surface temperature of 80°C. The pools themselves are not as hot with temperatures of between 36°C and 39°C, depending on the pool. Because of the high lithium content of the pools, the waters are found to be very relaxing.
There are many other thermal springs in Peru, many which can be easily visited on your standard a Peru vacation package. Some of the sites are more remote however and require extra efforts to get to see them and enjoy a warm, soothing dip. Even a quick holiday to Peru will provide the chance to enjoy rest and relaxation for the weary traveller, so don’t forget to pack your bathing suit when packing for your next trip!
Gary Sargent is the Managing Director of the tour companies Escaped to Peru and has lived in South America since 1998. Gary is passionate about Peruvian life, people, customs and places. Visit Gary’s website for more Peru travel advice or to book Peru vacations