Our planet provides us with some great natural resources and hot thermal water is one of them. We are fortunate to be able to enjoy natural hot springs all over the world in the most exotic and unexpected places. From exclusive high end resorts to public spas and even wilderness no-mans land areas, there are countless places to enjoy a relaxing splash in hot water in order to relieve stress levels, or just to enjoy the beautiful and peaceful surroundings.
We asked 21 fellow travel bloggers to share their all time favourite natural hot springs from around the world.
Travel Bloggers share their favourite Hot Springs
Hierve el Agua in Oaxaca, Mexico
by Crystal of Castaway with Crystal
Its name ‘Boil the Water’ in English sounds like the perfect hot spring. But actually, the name is an oxymoron, because the water is freezing cold! But that doesn’t make it any less amazing.
Situated in a mountainous area 70 km outside of Oaxaca City, Hierve el Agua is a petrified waterfall that is quite a sight to behold. Completely frozen as it cascades down the side of the mountain. At the top are several cold hot springs for you to enjoy. The springs are coloured a bright turquoise green from the healing minerals in the water. Because this plateau gets full sun until early evening, you don’t even need to worry that the water isn’t warm.
The coolest things to see around Hiereve el Agua are the gorgeous surrounding landscapes of the Oaxacan mountains. You can walk a 20-minute track to the base of one of the calcified waterfalls winding through a picturesque desert track complete with cactuses. Entry price is only 20 pesos ($1USD) and there are tour buses or cheaper local buses heading there and back from Oaxaca City daily.
Pai Hot Springs in Pai, Thailand
by Thomas & Myrthe of Nomada How Far
Pai, a small mountain town in Northern Thailand, has many hot springs in the area, with the closest (and most touristic one) at a steep price of +300 Baht/person. Luckily, there’s a cheaper -and much better- alternative! After just a short 20-30 minutes ride with the motorbike along a winding mountain road, you are able to soak in the Sai Ngam Hot Springs. These hot springs lie right in the middle of the beautiful, lush nature and are just the perfect place to relax in the natural hot river water while seeing the sun coming up.
The Sai Ngam Hot Springs are also known as ‘Pai’s Secret Hot Springs’, because it’s more difficult to find and more out of town than the other expensive, touristic hot springs around Pai. Go in the early morning, and we can guarantee you’ll have a private pool all to yourself. But let’s keep this a secret between us before this one gets touristic too
The Blue Lagoon, Iceland
by Wendy of World Wide Wendy
After arriving in Iceland, the best thing to do is drive straight to Blue Lagoon. It’s only 23 km from the airport.
The Blue Lagoon is a hotspot in a lava field. The geothermal water is extremely salty (12.5%) and comes out in 1800m deep wells and then has a temperature of 70 ° C. It’s a combination of freshwater and seawater. The water is full of silica and minerals. The temperature in the lagoon is between 37°C and 40°C (98-104°F). The soil consists of a type of white clay that would be very good for the skin, for instance as a treatment of psoriasis. Take a bath so you can start your trip completely relaxed.
Standard entrance fee costs you 49 euro. The Spa is open every day of the year from 7 or 8 am till 10 or 11 pm. As it can be very busy, it’s best to pre-book your tickets.
Mateo Hot and Cold Springs in Irosin, Sorsogon, Philippines
by Maria of Travel with Maria
Mateo Hot and Cold Spring Resort is located in a landlocked town of Irosin in Sorsogon province. Because people flock in here since 1970’s it was turned into a commercial resort that offers two natural springs made of lukewarm water. It is connected deep and down under a volcano called Mount Bulusan in the nearby town. There’s even a special thermometer planted here that’s regularly monitored by the government to study the behaviour of the volcano especially when it is showing signs to erupt. It is believed that the water is therapeutic so don’t be surprised if you see people just dipping their body most of the time than swimming. There are dormitories for budget travellers and rooms for those who want privacy. Frequently featured on TV and in online publications, it is highly recommended to visit during weekdays to avoid huge crowd. There are two smaller pools located in the other side that have hotter water. They say you can drop an egg, see it boiled and ready to eat after half an hour.
Terra Nostra Hot Springs in Sao Miguel, Azores
by Henriëtte of Travel Around With Me
The Terra Nostra Garden Hotel is located on the island of Sao Miguel, which belongs to the Azores archipelago. Situated in Furnas, the hotel is directly adjacent to the botanical garden “Terra Nostra”, which is over 200 years old. The hotel is a nice base for rest seekers and people who want to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Furnas Valley.
In the botanical garden, you will find several small thermal baths and a huge thermal bath. If you are not a guest of the hotel, you can enjoy the hot springs for a fee. As a guest, you can use it for free.
The largest source of hot water that is located in the middle of the botanical garden is especially true in the evening. I enjoyed the warmth of around 35 degrees under an immense starry sky of the surroundings. There was nobody except me and the photographer. So special! Don’t be put off by the dirty brown colour of the water. Draw an old bikini, enter the water, close your eyes and enjoy!
Weeki Wachee Springs State Park in Florida, USA
by Ashley of My Wanderlusty Life
The springs that feed the Weeki Wachee River in Spring Hill, Florida are not only the deepest in the United States (at 407 feet) but are also classified as'”magnitude-1′ meaning they offer the largest output of fresh, hot, crystal clear water-67 millions of gallons a day, to be exact.
The year-round 74°F water makes a visit here a great way to stay cool in the hot Florida summers and an even better way to observe manatees in their natural habitat during the winter. Only in Florida would you go to a hot spring to cool off! In addition to the manatees that flock to these warm waters between November and April, the list of wildlife seen here is pretty typical of Florida: fish of many varieties, deer, otters, snakes, enormous birds, and about a gazillion turtles. (No alligators though—they prefer murky water.)
Weeki Wachee means ‘Winding River’ in the language of the Seminole Indians and, with over 200 curves and bends, its namesake is obvious. Combine this, the incredible wildlife, and the fact that this spring-fed, crystal clear river is fairly shallow (12 feet at its deepest) and you’ve got a kayaker’s paradise and my favourite hot spring
Maquinit Hot Springs in Coran, Palawan, Philippines
by Darren & Shelley of Finding Beyond
With Coron Island in the Philippines only just being discovered by the majority of travellers, there are plenty of destinations to visit that aren’t frequented by crowds of tourists, and the Maquinit Hot Springs can be included in this list. That’s why we love the Maquinit Hot Springs – visit during the day and you’ll most likely have the place to yourself, arrive in the evening and it’s mostly populated with Filipinos adding to its authentic local atmosphere.
One of the only few saltwater hot springs in the world, the Maquinit Hot Springs are a 30-minute ride away from Coron Town Proper. The hot springs contain two pools of naturally warm water with the smaller of the two being a few celsius higher. The temperature of the smaller pool takes a bit of getting used to but once your body has adjusted, you can relax in the therapeutic clear waters.
Add the Maquinit Hot Springs to your Coron itinerary and in the day you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking hot spring-side views of the ocean and nearby islands, while in the evening it has a cosy environment with low light lanterns scattered throughout the grounds.
Dalhousie Springs in Witjira National Park, Australia
by Asher of Asher & Lyric
Dalhousie Springs is a series of magical artesian springs located in the middle of nowhere, a.k.a. The Australian Outback. Dalhousie is my favourite natural hot spring in the world because it is literally a desert oasis like what you’d see in a movie. It is 100s of miles (along 4WD-only roads) from any major city. And the beautiful, tree-lined springs are surrounded by red desert landscapes that remind you of the planet Mars.
The year-round, average water temperature is about 104 Fahrenheit, and there are some exotic, one-of-a-kind fish that live in the springs. The highlight of my time at Dalhousie Springs was to go for a swim at sunset and float on my back taking in the mesmerizing desert sky. Then watching the Milky Way galaxy rise over the horizon with stars so bright they were like a lighthouse illuminating the earth. Visiting these springs is a once in a lifetime experience that you’ll remember forever.
Termas Geometricas in Pucón, Chile
by Nana of Patagonia Dreaming
Pucón, Chile is mostly famous for its beautiful volcano Villarrica and its many hot springs. And how convenient when you have had a long day climbing the volcano and then have the opportunity to dip your tired body into a natural hot water! Just what you needed! Termas Geometricas is the most famous one and my favourite. You get the feeling of being in a rainforest when you enter: it’s like a little oasis between waterfalls, mountains, and jungle. There are 17 pools with different temperatures, and when you get tired of the warm water you can take a dip in the ice-cold waterfall – if you dare! I preferred to be in the hot pools until my skin was wrinkly. The place got its name because of its work of architecture built with strong primitive geometric elements, and it is easy to feel lost and found in nature spending your day here. When you are done relaxing, there is a little café where you can buy food and beverage that you can enjoy at the built-in bonfire. Enjoy!
Hanmer Springs, New Zealand
by Luke Marlin of Backstreet Nomad
New Zealand is a haven of natural beauty with a different feature around every corner. Just north of Christchurch, Hanmer Springs is a quaint town, painted in autumn, known almost exclusively for its natural hot springs.
The complex is made up of dozens of individual man-made pools but are fed from underground springs, rich in minerals and perfect for relaxation, especially in the cooler months. I visited in May, and although it was rough running from the change rooms and between pools in 5 degree Celsius temps, the heat in the pools made it worthwhile, and difficult to get out. There’s even a lazy river so you can get swept around on the current.
It’s a must visit for any trip to the South island’s east coast.
Boiling River in Yellowstone National Park, USA
By Melynda of Yellowstone Trips
Yellowstone National Park sits atop a large (dormant) volcano that fuels the hot springs, geysers, fumaroles and mud pots that draw over four million visitors each year. That volcano also fuels a hot spring, which becomes the Boiling River and flows over a travertine ledge into the Gardner River. Where the two rivers come together, hot spring lovers wade in and soak. It’s an easy 0.5 mile hike on a flat trail to reach the boardwalk and benches adjacent to the hot spring.
The Boiling River is one of two places in Yellowstone where visitors can enjoy geothermal bliss intimately. It makes a great family swimming hole or a place to relax post-hike. The Boiling River is super crowded in the summer, but come the off season, locals have it mostly to themselves. Our Christmas Eve tradition is to soak in Boiling River and ski around the Mammoth Terraces. There’s nothing quite like sitting in hot water and watching ice float down the river next to you and elk graze on the snow-covered slopes. Swimsuits are required and there isn’t a changing room other than the pit toilet at the trailhead. Change before you hike or dress under a towel.
Titoku Hot Springs in Arenal, Costa Rica
by Denise of In Het Vliegtuig
The Arenal Kioro hotel lays hidden at the foot of the Arenal Volcano in Costa Rica. It offers incredible views and is surrounded by two streams that flow from the Arenal Volcano National Park. Here you can find 7 natural hot spring pools that look out at the Volcano. The unique pools are surrounded by lush green trees and colourful flowers.
Can’t get enough of all the natural treatments? Indulge yourself in more warm waters at the Titoku Hot Springs closeby. The 8 different hot springs are set 3 miles from the hotel and town of La Fortuna. Every pool had a different temperature. These luxurious facilities are part of the Arenal Kioro Hotel but are located on a separate piece of property, thereby allowing non-guests to come and enjoy the pools for a small fee. It’s a magical experience for all visitors.
Terme San Filippo in Tuscany, Italy
by Briana & Javier of A Dash of Life
San Filippo hot springs (or Terme San Filippo) in Tuscany is something out of a fairytale. It is by far the most beautiful natural hot springs I have ever experienced. The clear and milky-opaque waters reflect the beautiful pine, birch and maple forest that surround it. A ten thousand year old limestone formation aptly named ‘Balena Bianca’ or ‘the white whale’ after the famous Moby Dick of Melville will astonish you. The rich hot waters that cascade down the rock surface have formed natural pools, some large enough for a group and some small enough for one. With temperatures ranging between 21-41 degrees Celcius, it’s no wonder that this was once a destination for Roman aristocracy. The mineral enriched mud is great for face and body masks, leaving your skin, body and mind feeling invigorated. Terme di San Filippo is hidden in the small village of Castiglione d’ Orcia in Tuscany. The town boasts one hotel, about 4 restaurants and a single road that divides it. This location is a favourite of locals and thankfully remains untouched by hordes of tourists.
Mainit Hot Springs in Malabuyoc, Cebu, Philippines
by Jackson Groves of Journey Era
The Mainit Hot Spring in Malabuyoc is a little hidden gem in the jungle. Not far from Alegria you can take a short trek of 30 minutes through villages and along the stream until you reach the hot springs. The Mainit Hot Spring entrance fee was 20 pesos or 40c USD. You don’t need a guide but many locals may request to accompany you.
There are several hot springs here all with different temperatures. Some of the pools are so hot you can hardly sit while others are the perfect temperature. They are all signposted with their temperature, which remains constant. One hot spring was a crazy 42 degrees. Sitting in that hot spring looking up at coconut trees with the last light of the day glowing in the sky is an experience you must put on your Philippines bucket list.
Mataranka Thermal Pool in Mataranka, Australia
by Tom of The Travelling Tom
When I started my Adelaide to Darwin road trip, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I didn’t know an awful lot about the places that we would be visiting along the way. One thing I certainly didn’t expect was to visit hot springs! It’s safe to say, I was pleasantly surprised when we stopped at the Mataranka Thermal Pools on the eight day of our journey.
I had absolutely no idea this place existed before the trip. Mataranka is located in Elsey National Park along the Stuart Highway which connects Adelaide to Darwin. You come to Mataranka as you pass Daly Waters and it’s a few 100km from Darwin. The best thing about the Springs is that they are free. The temperature of the springs is around 30.5 degrees. It’s the perfect place to relax for a few hours, and get out of your car after a long drive.
As it’s not that well-known, it’s not full of tourists, which makes the experience all the better. If you’re travelling through the Northern Territory, you simply have to visit the Mataranka Thermal Pools, you won’t regret it!
Rio Negro Hot Springs in Rincon del la Vieja, Costa Rica
by Isabelle of DominicanAbroad
Just 27 kilometres from the Liberia international airport is Rincon de la Vieja Volcano National Park. This park spans over 34 thousand acres and includes a variety of rejuvenating nature sights and activities including an active volcano, cloud forests, hiking trails, zip lining, horseback riding, waterfalls, and my favourite natural hot springs. Oddly, there is little information on tourism sites about the Rio Negro Hot Springs here. But visiting Rio Negro Hot Springs was one of the top highlights of my time in Costa Rica. It is a complex of several pools with natural hot spring water flowing from the volcano.
Getting there you will cross over some hanging bridges that overlook the gorgeous layout of hot spring pools and the surrounding lush nature. The pools range from extremely hot to warm. At the bottom of the complex is fresh water river. There, you can lather your skin in volcanic mud and finish off with a cool swim in the river. I found the experience very soothing, especially after a long hike. My skin felted refresh, soft as if just leaving out of an expensive spa. You will feel pampered by nature.
Millennium Hot Spring in Beitou, Taipei
by Eva of Trevallog
The Millennium Hot Spring in Beitou, Taipei, is one of my favourite natural hot springs. It’s easily accessible (walking distance from Xinbeitou MRT), extremely affordable (NTD 40), and doesn’t require visitors to take off the clothes (swimwear is required). It is a public hot spring where men and women mingle around, sharing jokes and life stories amidst lush greeneries. It’s a real retreat from the hustle and bustle of Taipei. There are several pools with different temperatures, the highest being the hottest. Some of the pools are covered, some are not.
The hot spring is closed at certain timings for cleaning, so do budget some waiting time in your itinerary. I certainly think that a visit to Taipei is not complete without soaking in this hot spring. After your dip, I urge you to visit Thermal Valley located just nearby the hot spring. The lake is filled with steaming sulphur water, and you can literally see steam rising up from the lake, it’s so magical!
Red Rock Hot Springs in Valencia, Philippines
by Katherine & Hali of Tara Lets Anywhere
Red Rock Hot Springs is one of the few hot springs located in Valencia, Negros Oriental, in the Philippines. As is the feature of landscapes in the municipality of Valencia, the stones surrounding the hot spring are a curious rusty red. The colour is said to have come from the nearby Mount Talinis, while the water in the pool comes from a naturally occurring spring.
Red Rock Hot Springs is small, but it has a more “natural” feel compared to other commercial hot springs in the area. It has a few tables and cottages, as well as a mini convenience store. The hot spring sits on a mountain with a great view. It’s a great place to relax and receive the therapeutic benefits from the warm water. Red Rock Hot Springs receives only a small crowd, especially on weekdays. Entrance fee as of 2017 is P30 ($1.5). Guests are asked not to wear anything white to prevent staining of the clothes.
Caldeira Velha Park in Sao Miguel, the Azores
by Megan of Meganstarr
The hot springs inside of Caldeira Velha Park on Sao Miguel in the Azores were one of my favourites I’ve visited in terms of beauty and scenery. The springs are located on the slope of Serra de Água de Pau in a Jurassic wonderland and offer many areas where people can enjoy them. There are baths where people can sit together in a hot tub fashion and another area that is heated from underneath while being able to enjoy a waterfall at the same time. Perhaps one of the most interesting characteristics of Caldeira Velha is that you can witness so many different colours due to iron in the boilers and fumaroles. The springs were all very crowded when I was there, but I am determined to get back and enjoy them one of these days! If you are visiting Sao Miguel in the Azores, Caldeira Velha National Park is a must-visit!
Zebedee Springs in Kununurra, Western Australia
by Emma of Small Footprints, Big Adventures
Ahh, Zebedee Springs. It was our favourite place of all when we visited Kununurra last year, and we went twice as we couldn’t get enough of it! Zebedee is one of the amazing natural formations within El Questro Wilderness Park, and it’s a stunning oasis of red rock face, warm-as-a-bath rock pools and lush greenery. The rock pools are mostly shallow and are many different sizes and shapes, making for new discoveries within each one. Some are large enough for big groups, and some are just the right size for a toddler!
Zebedee Springs is free to attend and open to the public until 12 pm each day. (After 12 pm it is reserved for exclusive use of some guests staying at El Questro). The morning sun on the rock face glows with a golden warmth that is the icing on the cake of this amazing setting. Zebedee is about 100km north of Kununurra and is definitely worth the drive. If you’re hungry after all that rock-pool hopping, there is a café within El Questro that’s open for lunch and isn’t far to drive to.
Beppu in Oita, Japan
by Ha of Expatolife
Have you ever heard about the hot springs in Beppu? This city is one of the most famous hot spring locations in Japan. Although it is not well-known for foreign tourists, many Japanese have chosen this place for their vacation. With a large number of hot springs around the city, you can easily find and enjoy the best Japanese service with a relaxing day in hot springs. Also, all the ryokan in Beppu, which is Japanese style hotels, have equipped a small version hot spring inside the room. Therefore, you can enjoy your time with your partner or family. Interestingly, when you enter a hot spring in Japan, you are not allowed to wear any clothes, swimsuit or towel, so you will be completely naked when you get inside the room. Therefore, there are hot springs for women, for men and the ones for both genders for you to choose.
What is your favourite natural hot spring?
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This is awesome! My mom just told me a few weeks ago that she really wants to visit a natural hot spring some day. I’ll have to show her this list 🙂
What a great list! Although, technically, the one in Florida is just a spring, not a hot spring! (difference of about 30 degrees!)
There are a ton of hot springs in Colorado and New Mexico, too, if you’re ever in the Southwest US!
A slightly warm spring perhaps? 😉