Healing Waters: The Planet’s Best Hot Springs
Collected by Becca Blond , AFAR Local Expert
Some of the best natural springs are hidden in the wilderness, reachable only by foot, while other healing waters are more accessible, contained in modern pools in developed areas. Whether you prefer a natural swimming hole outside Yellowstone or Aspen or a tranquil, spa-like environment in Costa Rica or Japan, here we have listed our favorite places to take a soothing dip.
Nordurljosavegur 9, 240 Grindavík, Iceland
Iceland’s largest and most famous geothermal spa lies around an hour outside Reykjavik, quite close to Keflavik Airport. With a dramatic setting amidst large black lava boulders, the steam-filled, creamy-blue pool area is a striking and surreal...
39171 Tassajara Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA
In 1967, Tassajara (already a storied hot springs resort) became the first Zen monastery outside Japan. Run by the San Francisco Zen Center, the monastery is open to the public from May through September and closed the rest of the year for...
1 Chome-31-１ Asamaonsen, Matsumoto-shi, Nagano-ken 390-0303, Japan
At the new Kai Matsumoto inn, located in the historic town of Matsumoto in the Japanese Alps, the spa offers 13 different traditional Japanese bathing rituals in its eight baths. The alkaline water is drawn from nearby Asama Hot Springs, which...
No. 18, Zhongbu Cross-island highway, Xiulin Township, Hualien County, Taiwan 972
These beautiful hot springs are located several kilometres into the gorge. To get there you must drive or cycle to the parking lot and then walk down a long wooden staircase built into the cliffside. At the bottom you'll find a quaint...
Alajuela Province, La Fortuna, Costa Rica
Hike up to El Arenal’s gray volcanic cone for a magnificent view of La Fortuna, one ofCosta Rica’s most celebrated destinations. Locals and expats alike are mad for the area’s hot springs, fun locavore restaurants, irresistible bakeries (don’t...
Ruta Provincial 82, Km 38, M5507 Luján de Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
If you’re looking for a day of grape-free respite in Mendoza, head off-the-grid to the hot springs of Cacheuta. The Terma Spa welcomes guests with an assemblage of thermal baths overlooking the scenic Mendoza River flowing downstream from the...
Guanacaste Province, Liberia, Costa Rica
The thermal hot springs in Rincón de La Vieja at Rio Negro (Black River) may not be as well known as those in the Arenal area, but we had the pools and surrounding forest to ourselves. From where we stayed at the Hacienda Guachipelin...
52068 W Fork Rd #38, Dolores, CO 81323, USA
Among the most lauded hotel openings in recent years, Dunton Hot Springs is a glitterati mainstay, with its batch of former mining community cabins that look straight out of a Ralph Lauren catalogue. You don’t have to book a pricey stay at this...
The Guanziling Hot Springs (關子嶺) are located in the foothills of the mountains of Taiwan, about 70 km northeast of Tainan City. These hot springs produce a fine, silty mud which is found in only three places in the world. It's said to be...
Loc. Follonata, Saturnia, 58014 Manciano GR, Italy
The Maremma region of southern Tuscany, about an hour south of Siena, is an area of olive groves, wooded valleys, and ancient legends. One such tale, dating from the days of the Etruscans and Romans, chronicles an epic battle in which Jupiter...
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