Hot Springs in Chile
Hot Springs are one of the main tourist attractions in Chile. There are more than 270 thermal springs in our country, many of which are still unexplored. Some are placed within modern spas and tourist centers at sea level, while others are in rustic wells at over three thousand meters msl. With GoChile you can visit the most important springs, enjoy their services and attractions, and experience their relaxing and curative properties.
You can take a look at our hot spring tours clicking here.
Hot Springs in ChileIt is a well known fact that Chile has intense seismic and volcanic activity. This is given due to its location across the Pacific Ring of Fire, where huge geological plates converge in constant movement. Besides, Chile has quite a lot of geothermal activity which is the very inner heat of the Earth warming deep waters. When ascending to the surface as hot waters, they evolve into thermal springs or boiling vapor as in the case of geysers.
Geothermal energy has been used for multiple purposes since the times of the Roman Empire, as heating source, for relaxing centers, among others. Nowadays, improvements in drilling and pumping methods allow the exploration of geothermal energy in numerous parts of the world, mainly as a simple and reliable method for producing electrical energy. The main sources of this kind are found in Italy, Japan, New Zealand and Iceland.
Besides its use for generating electrical power, geothermal energy can be used to supply hot drinking water or as a heating source for homes, offices, public buildings, swimming pools and agriculural facilities (greenhouses). In our country, all these types of uses are still in research.
In Chile there are near 270 thermal sources, many of them still unexplored. They range from sources located at sea level, to others placed on top the mountains, more than 3000 meters in height. Some of them are very small and others real tourist centers stretching over many kilometers.
Broadly speaking, thermal water sources are concentrated in three sectors:
- Northern Altiplano sector, from San Pedro de Atama to Putre. This area gathers nearly 20% of the total amount chilean thermal waters. Their main features are its location in high altitud and its very hot water.
- Falla de Pucuro (Pucuro Fault) area, in the central valley, which has 35 water sources.
- Falla de LiquiÃ±e-Ofqui (LiquiÃ±e-Ofqui Fault) area, in Southern Chile, from Llaima to Hudson volcanoes. In this area there are more than 70 thermal sources, characterized by varied landscapes and temperatures ranging from 20 - 25Â°C to 80Â°C. This temperatures are not apt for the human body.
Thermal springs infrastructure in Chile vary from very simple outdoor wellsÂ to luxurious spas and facilities with private cabins and marble bathtubs. Different alternatives to choose from, suitable to tastes and budget.
Thermal springs located in the North, suitable for tourist use, are pretty scarce compared to the ones found in the South. In most of cases, thermal springs in the northern Andean foothills correspond to outdoor swimming pools placed in salt flats and streams. They're surrounded by beautiful landscapes, of difficult access but without comforts, suitable only for adventurers.
There are as well, thermal springs located on the mountain range which are more accessible and populars. This is the case of MamiÃ±a, in RegiÃ³n de TarapacÃ¡, whose waters have been favourly rated given its curative properties since before the spaniards arrival. Also, there's the Puritama Baths (RegiÃ³n de Antofagasta), the Termas de JuncalitoÂ Â (RegiÃ³n de Atacama) and Termas de Socos in RegiÃ³n de Coquimbo.
In the Central Valley there are some older thermal center, like Jahuel Thermal Springs, to the North of Santiago, which were visited byÂ Charles Darwin himself in 1834, during one of his research trips. Most of the thermal springs in this area have great infrastructure and facilities, family oriented, with sports area and games for kids.
Next to Jahuel, there's Termas del CorazÃ³n in regiÃ³n de ValparaÃso, and Termas de Colina and BaÃ±os Morales in RegiÃ³n Metropolitana. To the South you'll find Cauquenes, a traditional thermal center opened since the 19th centurym and Termas del Flaco, both in RegiÃ³n de O'Higgins. In regiÃ³n del Maule you can find PanimÃ¡vida and QuinamÃ¡vida.
In Southern Chile, from regiÃ³n del BiobÃo to AysÃ©n, there are near 30% of thermal water sources, thanks to a mixture between volcanic activity and the LiquiÃ±e-Ofqui fault which allows water from rains and snow being filtered. Facilities in this area vary from simple natural well, surrounded by exhuberant endemic vegation, to luxurious bathtubs in first-class hotels.
In these areas you'll also find the Termas de ChillÃ¡n, located in RegiÃ³n del BiobÃo, surrounded by diverse facilities that combine ski and springs. In RegiÃ³n de la AraucanÃa there's the Termas del Huife, located amid the endemic forest; MenetuÃ© springs with family-oriented facilities; San Luis and Palguin springs. Further down South, in regiÃ³n de Los Lagos, there's the CoÃ±aripe and LiquiÃ±e Springs; Puyehue, famous by its mud baths and ski centers; Aguas Calientes and El Amarillo springs.
Further, in the Far South, in regiÃ³n de AysÃ©n, next to the Carretera Austral, you'll find the Puyuhuapi springs. According to many experts, this is one of the best thermal springs in the coutnry, surrounded by an spectacular native scenery and high-quality facilities.
Today thermal water is not only used for therapeutic and cosmetological purposes. Currently springs like MamiÃ±a, Chusmisa, Socos, PanimÃ¡vida, QuinamÃ¡vida, ChillÃ¡n, and Puyehue, amongst others, bottle it to produce drinking mineral water. The benefits of mineral water are of chemistryÂ origin, caused by subustances and minerals they have, and of physical origin, given the temperature of the water. This is why some thermal springs are more beneficial to heal particular body health problems than others.
Types of water
From the point of view of geological origin, thermal waters are divided into magmatic and telluric or infiltration water. The first born out of metal or eruptive veins and feature high temperatures, volume flow and degree of mineralization; most hot springs in Chile fit into this category. In turn, the later type, appear on any terrain and are characterized by an inferior volume flow and degree of mineralization.
According to mineral composition, thermal waters are divided into oligomineral (of low amount of minerals), half-mineral and minerals. Regarding the two latter, Chilean waters can be divided given geographical areas:
- In the North of the country, most thermal mineral waters are chlorided, with a great presence of salt, potassium, calcium and magnesium. These are very hot waters, reaching 90Â°C and sometimes they're not apt for use by the human body as thermal sources. Nevertheless, they're useful for recovery of traumatisms and rheumatism control, neuralgia, respiratory conditions and skin diseases. Also in the North there's presence of radioactive waters, due to the presence of radon. This type of water has analgesic and sedative properties that are much recommended to fight stress and anxiety.
- In the South, in turn, mineral waters are mostly sulfated whose main componentes are magnesium sulfate and regular salt. These waters present lower temperatures varying from 23Â° to 70Â°C. They can be: sodium-magnesium, recommended given its laxative properties and postive dermatological effect; sulfate-calcium waters,Â recommended for gastric, liver and vesicle conditions, and to help to expel the excess of uric acid; and sulfate-chloride waters, that help to control digestive conditions, acne and psoriasis.
When visting any thermal spring you need to consider they do not cure diseases by themselves but they do help to control and improve health, relax and alleviate stress. Its benefits become evident once we realize the human being has been using them for more than two thousand years, seeking peace of both body and mind.
The combination of thermal water with other elements such as volcanic mud, honey, algae, or milk and other ingredients, used for therapeutic and cosmetic purposes, is becoming more popular every day. Nowadays, more people are seeking out nature and all its virtues.
The thermal baths boast multiple benefits and are highly recommended to relieve traumas, joint inflammation processes such as arthritis, rheumatism, and muscular aches. Combined with physiotherapy, they help diminish rigidity that comes from muscle atrophy.
Regarding its dermatological use, thermal water applied in baths and steambaths, works in favor of the skin by removing toxins and bettering the general condition of the skin. Thermal water steambaths is also beneficial for relieving sinusitis.
There are also baths that combine hot thermal water with cold water. This helps constrict the blood vessels and aids in blood circulation and elimination of retained liquids.
One of the more widespread uses of thermal water, is in mixture with volcanic mud or silt. This is known as fangotherapy, used by ancient Egyptians for therapeutic purposes about five thousand years ago. Even in those days, health experts noticed that natural sediments could be used to relieve rheumatic pains and that it could ease skin irritations and revitalize the body's tissue.
The mud is nothing more than thermal water mixed with the minerals from the ground, oligominerals, remains from micropulverized rocks (silica, quartz, and mica), and animal and plant fossil remains, dragged to surface.
Originally, mud was only mixed with the water. But nowadays plant extracts, sea algae, honey, clay and aromatherapy oils are integrated as well. Some of their properties, depending on use, are the next:
- As part of dermocosmetic therapies, thermal mud favours blood circulation and helps to cleanse dead cells and skin toxins.
- Thermal water or mud combined with aromatherapy oils like eucalyptus, lavender, and grapefruit, for example, produce a relaxing and calming effect and help combat insomnia, colds, fatigue, exhaustion, stress and tension.
- As a facial mask, or just mixed with clays, mud is highly recommended in erythema and acne cases. Thermal mud causes a peeling effect that can be spread all over the body, thus eliminating dead cells and revealing a fresh, cleaner, young looking skin. This type of mask treatment is not recommended in serious cases of psoriasis, because of its drying effects.
At some thermal springs facilities like Puyuhuapi in the RegiÃ³n de AysÃ©n, complementary treatments are also used such as thalassotherapy, that combines warm sea water and sea algae, thus offering a peeling effect on the skin and relaxing properties.
Other treatments offered in thermal resorts include lymphatic drainage massages that stimulate the elimination of retained liquids in the lymphatic system and other massage techniques with decontraction and relaxing properties used to combat stress, relieve back pains and relax muscle tension.
Just like in any other therapy, there are some contraindications to the use of thermal waters, especially as hot baths and steambaths. Thus, people with cardiovascular problems, acute hypertension, psoriasic arthritis, and pregnancy are strongly recommended not to take baths in thermal waters. Thermal waters must not be ingested by those with chronic gastritis.
|Jahuel Hot Springs|
|ChillÃ¡n Hot Springs|
|AraucanÃa y volcanoes|
|Huife Hot Springs
|Malalcahuello Hot Springs
|Â||The Lakes and ChiloÃ©|
|Â||Puyehue Hot Springs
|Â||Aguas Calientes Hot Springs|
|Â||Puyuhuapi Hot Springs
- BaÃ±os de San AndrÃ©s
- Del Tatio Geysers
- Puritama Baths
- RÃo Negro
- Laguna Verde
- BaÃ±os del Toro
- Socos Thermal Springs
- El Gordito
- El CorazÃ³n
- BaÃ±os Morales
- BaÃ±os Colina
- El Plomo
- Del Flaco
- De ChillÃ¡n
- Del Avellano
- RÃo Blanco de Caburgua
- Huife alto o Toledo
- San Luis
- San SebastiÃ¡n
- RÃo LiquiÃ±e
- Aguas Li Ancahue
|Hotels and Thermal Packages|
|More Activities in Chile|
| Home Guide
| Atacama Desert
|Termas de Puritama|
|Geysers del Tatio|
|Termas de MamiÃ±a|
| Astronomic North
|Termas de Socos|
| Central Valley
|Termas de Cauquenes|
|Termas de Colina|
|Termas del Flaco|
| AraucanÃa and Lakes District
|Termas de ChillÃ¡n|
|Termas de CoÃ±aripe|
| Termas del Huife
|Termas de LiquiÃ±e|
|Termas de Tolhuaca|
|Termas de Aguas Calientes|
|Termas de Puyehue|
| Northern Patagonia
|Termas del Amarillo|
|Termas de Puyuhuapi|