Thermal Pools Under a Waterfall

Trip Start Sep 09, 2006
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Flag of Colombia  ,
Monday, February 12, 2007

We took a detour from our main travel route to an outdoor spa heated by volcanic underground thermal activity...whenever we make the effort to get to a hot springs, or to enjoy a SPA day, we´re always well rewarded.  We can think back to the excrutiatingly hot saunas in Laos, followed by massages by the monks at the temples in the forrests, the Hammams we enjoyed with the marble floors in Turkiye, Syria and elswere throughout the Middle East, jumping into the outdoor icy lake in northern Sweden and then heating up in the dry sauna, or the recent eucalyptus spa box in Ecuador...we seem to always have fond, relaxing, and well deserved memories of those times.


We arrived on a Chiva, a funky looking mode of transport that has become a national symbol.  With no doors, plenty of cargo space on the roof, and long wide padded benches, they were originally designed considering the mountainous geography of the Andean Region of this country, and were used by famers or campesinos carrying their merchandise and animals.  They characterize themselves with great colorful motifs, predominating the yellow, blue and red, colors of the national flag.  An airy and fun way to take in the scenery.

The thermal springs, known as Termales de Santa Rosa de Cabal beat our experiences at the Banff National Park hotsprings in Alberta, Canada by a long shot. Set in splendid scenery at the foot of a 170m icy waterfall, with a 50 degree boiling thermal bath just below it, was as picturesque as you could imagine.  A clean, therapeutic, relaxing afternoon was just what we needed after all those long, excrutiating, sedentary hours on buses.  We watched groups of Colombian tourists sun tanning, sharing bottles of Aguardiente (the local firewater flavoured with Anise seed, quite nice!) and Ron (rum), and were invited to share in all the fun.


Leaving the springs behind, we moved on northward through one of the most spectacular busrides we've ever been on.  The route took us through the city of Manizales to the town of Andes in the the Western Cordillera.  Our bus whizzed through the Canyon de Cauca, closely skirting the Rio Cauca, showing off pleasant rolling pastures, spectacular tri-colored mountains, and thousands of white birds idly soraing over the surface of the picturesque river.  The scenery then transformed to cloud forrest and jungle.  We were the only ones on the huge bus twisting and turning along magical mountain roads...and felt like we were meant to be there at that exact place and time.

- From Perreira to Santa Rosa de Cabal (1300 pesos, half hour)
- Chiva to the Termales Antigua can be caught by the market at 7am and12pm ( 2300 pesos).  The last Chiva back to Santa Rosa is at 4:30pm.
- Entrance to the Termales Anigua is 20 000 pesos per person, pricey, but worth it.
- Getting to the town of Andes allows you to take a short busride to the highly recommended town of Jardin.  Which is the next travelogue entry.

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sweeetbea on

Aha!! You went to my birth town!! Santa Rosa de Cabal. A trip to the thermal springs is always a must.

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