Did you ever dream of sinking into a pool of warm water that guarantees soothing your mind and body? In Chile this is possible in midst of the nature! Enjoy a unique moment, where there is no time for worries and, best of all, without having to pay a single peso. And here we present the best free hot springs in Chile.
A gift for all your senses, these hot springs allow visitors to come into unparalleled contact with the environment and the opportunity to discover the exceptional landscapes of Chile year-round. One of the most extraordinary experiences when going to the hot springs is to enjoy their pleasant warm waters while it rains, snows or watching a desert sunset.
Additional rewards for hot spring goers involve the medicinal and scientifically proven therapeutic benefits of the thermal waters. Thanks to the high temperatures and the minerals present in the waters, hot spring pools increase the oxygenation of the body and blood circulation, contribute to the elimination of viruses and toxins, heal damaged tissue and skin conditions, increase the metabolism and stimulate the digestive tract.
There are approximately 270 known hot springs in Chile (and perhaps even more yet undiscovered). You can de-stress and benefit from their therapeutic properties in the middle of the Atacama Desert or surrounded by the exuberant vegetation in the Patagonia.
This unique quality in possible thanks to Chile´s location in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an extension of the Andes Mountains with hundreds of volcanoes that feed the hot springs with magmatic energy from north to south for over 4,000 kilometers.
Pure natural energy! That being said, here goes our list of the 3 free hot springs in Chile for you to start enjoying the route along the so-called “waters of life”.
POLLOQUERE, HOT SPRINGS AND FLAMINGOS
In the breathtaking landscape of the Salar de Surire National Monument, in the extreme north of Chile, you will come across the Polloquire hot springs: two lagoons with some of the hottest thermal waters in Chile (about 60°C / 140° F). The high concentration of minerals makes these hot springs an instant revitalizer for its visitors.
At an altitude of over 4,200 meters (13,780 feet) above sea level, you will be amazed to find the world’s largest number of flamingo species near these hot springs. If you are lucky and silent enough, you may be able to swim not far from them, as well as by rheas, juarjual ducks, vicuñas, alpacas and llamas, among other species that inhabit the beautiful Salar de Surire.
It is advisable to arrive to these natural hot springs during the morning, to not make loud noises that affect the environment, to move slowly in order to prevent altitude sickness and to take enough drinking water.
LAGUNA VERDE HOT SPRINGS
Laguna Verde, meaning Green Lagoon, is less than 300 kilometers (186 miles) northeast from the city of Copiapó in the north of Chile. More than just a lagoon it is a hyper saline lake at over 4,300 meters (14,100 feet) above sea level.
The severe salinity of the lake’s beautiful green water, added to the arid scenery and the extreme oscillating temperatures, make this place seemingly devoid of life. The silence is astonishing and its breathtaking views in every direction will blow your mind when you come face to face with the grandeur of nature.
Laguna Verde is set at the far side of a deep and almost circular valley that is surrounded by snow-covered volcanoes, such as El Muerto, Nevado Incahuasi and the incredible Nevado Ojos del Salado, the world´s tallest active volcano that reaches 6,891 meters (22,600 feet) above sea level.
Many mountaineers stop to relax in the hot spring pools that are near the lake, where they can acclimatize before setting off to attempt their conquest of the summits.
These hot springs are located on the international road that leads to the San Francisco Border Pass, east of Copiapó. Here there is no infrastructure, but you will not have to pay a single peso to enjoy a marvelous bath. Nature gives itself to you generously, expecting only your admiration and respect in return.
AGUAS CALIENTES HOT SPRINGS, ON THE WAY TO ANTILLANCA
As expected, many hot springs are located within Chile´s National Parks, especially those in the mountain range areas, and one of these is Puyehue National Park. It became a National Park in the 50’s with a surface of 107,000 hectares that belong to the Southern Andes Temperate Rainforest Biosphere Reserve, which possesses some of Chile´s most beautiful landscapes, including free hot springs.
East of the city of Osorno, on the way to Antillanca and on the International Route 215, you will find a privileged landscape where the Aguas Calientes natural hot springs are located. Here there are several hot springs with different entry prices, but if you just approach the riverbank, you can enjoy handmade pools, completely for free.
The views in this area are spectacular and they invite you to go trekking along several of its trails that are also free of charge. What’s more, you can bring your own shovel to dig up around the riverbank almost anywhere and create your own thermal pool of the size that suits you best.
The possibilities for getting to know and enjoying the surroundings of these hot springs are extraordinary: the exuberant rainforest presents a huge variety of native flora species, impossible to find elsewhere.
Pay attention to your surroundings because with some luck you will be able to spot one or more of the native fauna that inhabit Puyehue National Park while you´re trekking, which includes pumas, grey foxes, ferrets, coypu, the guiña or wild cat, the vizcacha, the little mono del monte (mountain monkey) and the chingue, a local species of skunk.
Can you imagine being immersed in the warm, healing and relaxing waters amidst the rich green forest while you´re listening to natural music of the singing birds? An unforgettable experience that is priceless… literally.