The Best Place for a Hot Spring Bath in South America

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I have always been fascinated by hot springs, so when I first moved across to South America I decided to take advantage of any chance to soak in them that presented itself to me.

It turns out that there are more hot springs here than I had expected, so I soon found the skin on my toes going all pink and wrinkly on a regular basis (too much detail?)

Baños, Ecuador

As far as I am concerned this is the best place I have ever found for having a good soak in warm water. There are a number of different hot spring baths in the town. I particularly loved the one under a waterfall that I spent an inordinate length of time in. There was a hot pool and a cold one to switch between, which I really loved doing. A trip to the pools just before the sun goes down is an unforgettable experience and something I plan to do again as I can. It is even better if it comes after a busy day of trekking up the nearby hills or taking a trip out on a horse. I can confirm that it also feels pretty great after a day of slothing around in the hotel and eating pancakes and stuff.

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

This is one of those places where you can soak in hot spring water in a freezing cold place. The tour of the salt plains passes the hot springs in the morning, or at last mine did. It had been a freezing cold night in which I had gone to the outside toilet and got treated to both potential frostbite in a delicate area and the most astonishing starry sky I have ever seen. 200px-ThermesBanosEquateurBy the time we reached the thermal waters the following morning my boots still had a thick layer of frost on them and I was shivering cold. The guide asked if we wanted to take off our multiple layers of warm clothing and jump into the warm water. It was a foolish thing to do but my fake llama wool jumper was on the floor before I had time to consider whether hot water cures frostbite or makes the affected part of your body fall off. It was a wonderful, life affirming experience but stepping out of the hot water into the cold air definitely wasn´t.

Potosi, Bolivia

Most travellers who take a trip round this part of the world end up passing through Potosi. It´s not as though getting here is easy but the long bus trip from La Paz or the north of Argentina is well worth it. However, I would imagine that most tourists just visit the famous mines and maybe the old Royal Mint building as well as having a stroll round what was once one of the planet´s most important cities. With just a little bit more effort you can head out to the nearby hot springs. Finding tourist information online for Bolivia isn´t always easy but Laguna Tarapaya is the place you want to go to. You can head out with a tour company or else try your luck with a local bus or taxi. Personally, I would stick to an organized tour to get there. Apparently it is a sacred religious site. While I didn´t find the setting quite as memorable as the others covered here, it is still a fine way to check out somewhere different and add an extra dimension to your trip. From what I saw, the place (the town itself appears to be called Miraflores) is quite popular with Bolivians and I would imagine that it gets busy at the weekends.

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