Spas and Hot Springs of South America

Tourists in hot springs of Termas de Polques on the Altiplano, Potosi Department, Bolivia
Ian Trower / Getty Images

It's not surprising that along the volcanic areas of the Andes from Panama to the tip of Patagonia, South America has thousands of hot springs. Hot springs, or thermal springs, and geysers are associated with volcanic activity and recently formed, hot, igneous rocks.

Some of these thermal spots have been developed into resort areas, or spas offering services from mineral water baths, mud baths, massages to exfoliating and moisturizing body treatments.

Others are little more than a widening of a river. Wherever they are, they offer the traveler a welcome ease.

Urban spas may not have the natural, thermal springs to feed their baths, but they do offer all the luxuries to pamper and treat their guests. Plan a vacation with stops at one or more of these all-service spa and resorts and pamper yourself.

By country, north to south and back again, here are some of the spas and hot springs of South America.

Colombia

Volcán de Lodo El Totumo is a mud hill, or volcano. After the mud draws toxins from the skin, enjoy a massage and wash.

Venezuela

Golden Rainbow Maremares in Puerto La Cruz has a lagoon-style pool with a wave machine, cascading waterfalls, spa, fitness center, medical evaluation, fitness testing, nutritional program, massage, and more.

La Limonera in San Francisco de Asis, Aragua offers Aqua-Tonic, steam baths, aquatic jogging, hydrogymnastics, hydromassage, digitopuncture, relaxation exercises, geotherapy, sweat Inipi ceremony, labyrinth, massages (Shiatsu, Lomilomi, reflexology massage, craniosacral therapy, acupressure),.

autohypnosis, visualization, medical evaluation, and lectures.

La Samanna de Margarita Hotel on Isla de Margarita has a Thalassotherapy center, pressotherapy, Scottish shower, vibrosauna, aquagym, analytic pool, affusion showers, balneotherapy, hamman, massage, body wraps, facial treatments, and hand and foot treatments.

There are hot springs in Tabay on the trek through Condor Pass near Mérida in Sierra de la Culata National Park.

Ecuador

Termas de Papallacta are the most famous in Ecuador, offering mineral, crystalline, hyperthermal, hypertonic, sulfate, alkaline terreous waters that are volcanic in origin as well as clear. There are massage and aromatherapy services. Termas de Papallacta Hot Springs boasts of being the best hot springs of Ecuador in beautiful surroundings topped by the majestic glacier of Antisana. Papallacta Hot Springs and Termas de Papallacta offer various perspectives of this popular spa.

Arasha Rainforest Resort & Spa in Quito offers aerobics, biofeedback, and more activities, plus a pool.

Madre Tierra is a garden hotel in Vilcabamba offering virgin clay treatments, wraps, mud baths, colonics with coffee, reforestation of intestinal flora with acidophilus bacteria, steam baths, facials, massage, beauty treatments, aromatherapy, and more.

Machachi in the Central Highlands is famous for its mineral water, springs, and swimming pools. Guitig, a nationally bottled water, is produced here.

La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa in Imbabura offers very luxurious spa treatments and outdoor recreational activities.

There are hot springs in Baños, Oyacachi, and Chachimbiro.

Peru

Peru is a country full of thermal springs. You can find hot springs in the following towns:

  • Churin: a small resort town with natural hot springs
  • Cajamarca: because of its favorable climate and hot springs, was a favored spot among the Incas to relax in 74°C water
  • Tacna hot springs: called Caliente because the water reaches 98°C
  • Calera hot springs: a sacred spot in Chivay
  • Aguas Calientes: at the base of Machu Picchu where travelers can enjoy the natural hot springs after trekking the Inca Trail
  • Hot springs of Upis on the Azungate Trek as well as at stop at the springs on the Lauramarca River
  • Ausangate
  • Colca lodge Hot Springs in the Colca Valley
  • San Mateo
  • Ormina
  • Tambomachay
  • Baños del Inca Hot Springs

Peru's waters also boast medicinal properties.

The seven lakes at Las Huaringas ("sacred lakes" in the Quechua language) have been used since pre-Hispanic times for magical and healing ceremonies.

Bolivia

Hot springs in Bolivia include:

  • Desert in the Sky: Uyuni Salt Lake
  • Agua Blanco
  • Thermals in Sajama National Park
  • The Kamata River next to some hot springs
  • Oruro
  • Chalviri hot springs

Chile

Puyuhuapi Hot Springs: Internationally known, these hot springs are located in an area of exuberant native vegetation and natural beauty at Dorita Bay of the Ventisquero inlet. Its thermal waters reach temperatures of 85 C and they are recommended to treat skin and rheumatic illnesses. Also, Termas de Puyuhuapi Hotel & Spa offers tours to San Rafael Lagoon, Queulat National Park, excursions to this cold wilderness, and fly fishing excursions. Termas de Puyuhuapi Hotel & Spa offers an indoor hot spring pool, two jacuzzi's, a fully equipped fitness room, two outdoor hot spring pools and a hot spring well. Hydromassage, clay baths, algae baths, mud therapy, clay therapy, marine salt bath, massages, sauna, cosmetology, podiatry, beauty shop, physical conditioning, stretching, passive gym, aqua-aerobics.

Huife Hot Springs is a beautiful, modern hot springs located in the middle of Licura River's luxuriant vegetation. The temperature of its water is around 40º C (104ºF) and pool baths can be complemented with soaks in the freezing waters of the river. In addition, this place offers lymphatic massages and reflexology. These treatments are recommended for illnesses affecting the nerves and skin, arthritis, rheumatism, and stress.

Hotel y Spa Termas de Puyehue, near Osorno, has since 1908 provided therapeutic treatments in their mineral waters.

Hotel del Lago Resort and Casino in Pucon offers a beauty salon, gym, sauna, indoor pool, outdoor pool, solarium, hydromassage, Alpha massage capsule, and massage (muscular relax, corporal reduction and reflexology).

Termas de Chillan is an all-season ski and spa resort in the Lake District, offering hydrotherapy, Thalassotherapy, massages, and a wealth of outdoor activities.

Hot springs include Puritama Hot Springs in San Pedro de Atacama.

Baños Colinas, near Santiago in the Cajon del Maipo also has hot springs. There are nine pools of different temperatures that cascade down the side of a mountain.

Argentina

Named the best spa in Argentina, La Posada del Qenti in Punilla, near Córdoba, offers health, revitalization, and spa programs. Qenti Star health program treats nutrition problems, stress, smokers, diabetics, and cardiological recoveries, plus mineral water springs and many outdoor activities.

Agua Club & Spa Villa del Sur in Buenos Aires has a fitness center, yoga, solarium, massage, facials, hydrotherapy, fango therapy, aromatherapy, manicure, pedicure, virtual personal trainer, more.

European Spa in Buenos Aires offers facials, body care, massage, manicures, hair removal, hand and foot care, whirlpool, body scrub, aromatherapy steam bath, and body wraps.

Yacu 'Rupaj Resort-Spa Termal offers hydrotherapy, dermatological and weight management services and more in Santiago del Estero.

Termas de Cacheuta in Mendoza is an all-amenities hotel and spa with outdoor activities and a thermal water park.

Termas de Río Hondo is in Santiago del Estero, the most important "spa-city" of Argentina.

Uruguay

Victoria Plaza Hotel in Montevideo has the Spa Victoria offering weight loss programs, massage, sauna, ultrasound, elctrolipolisis, thermoslim, passive isotonic and isometric calisthenics, criotherapy, mud, scent therapy, facials, and more.

Brazil

The São Pedro Spa Médico near São Paulo treats obesity and its complications.

Costão do Santinho Spa in Florianopolis works with European treatment methods based on detoxifying the organism through healthy and natural nutrition, accompanied by hydrotherapy, thermalism, thalassotherapy, physical therapy, physical activities and natural treatments, as well as by the use of medicinal plants, marine algae, and biomolecular medicine. The Spa also offers nutritional guidance and advice for the prevention and management of chronic diseases.

Plaza Itapema Resort & Spa is a full-service beach resort offering nutrition, massage, thalassotherapy, physical therapy, physical activities, and other services.