How would it sound like, to let yourself sink down into a natural hot spring, outdoors in free air in some national park among trees and wild vegetation, and feel 39 degrees of warm water soothe your aching body after a long hike? Well, if you like that idea – the Southamerican country of Chile might definitely be the place to do it.
’Termas’ is the expression for Chilean hot springs. Because of underground volcanic activity, hot springs are found throughout this long and thin Southamerican nation, that many travellers find excellent for outdoor activities. Especially in southern part of the country you´ll find alot of natural hot springs, that have been converted into pools where visitors can enjoy a warm natural bath.
The Chilean ‘termas’ come in all different shapes and sizes. Some are just small and primitive baths hidden away in national parks, containing just a few natural, small pools between rock and volcanic soil. Just if like they were small bathtubs hidden away in the cliffs, they keep a comfortable temperature of 38-42 degrees C. Some of these primitive termas, are usually situated deep within woods and parks – and the only to access them, is by taking a long hike in. There are no car parks, ice cream stands or tour busses – just the springs amidst the great nature. They are usually inexpensive (or even free) to visit and don´t really have any other facilities than the baths themselves.
From rustic pools to luxury spa under skylight
Other ‘termas‘ are more developed and luxurious. Some are even made into spa-resorts with several types of outdoor and indoor pools with different temperatures to choose from. Here you can find yourself zipping a cold drink under a beautiful glazed roof terrace – like one they would have made at Vitral – with skylight windows that will let you enjoy a termal bath even if it rains, and let you see the starlit sky if you choose to take a dip by night.
Some places also offer mud-baths, herbal-baths, jacuzzies and massages. You can really find any type of ‘termas’ that suits you, it’s just a matter of choosing. Some have hotels and cabañas where you can stay the night, which means with a chance to use the termas at nighttime, where there are hardly anyone else arround, and also restaurants to keep you wined and dined. In some places you can also camp your tent, and some close for public use at night and are only possible to visit during the daytime only.