A country as volcanically active as Chile is blessed with numerous sources of hot water. Which makes us wonder why the shower water is so tepid some days. Anyway, it does sometimes feel as though one can't drive 10 km without passing a sideroad advertised as leading to a "termas", or thermal bath. It was time to sample one, so having canvassed opinion on "the best", we rented a car and spent the day taking a lovely drive around Vulcan Villarrica. Our goal, situated on the far side of the mountain and at the end of a long gravel road through rugged country, was Termas Geomtricas.
After leaving the paved road encircling the mountain, the first section of the "real" drive seemed vaguely Swiss, passing among sheep and dairy farms. At times, we shared the road with the livestock.
Our pace was slow and relaxed, as were the spectators of our progress.
Patchy sunlight gave way to clouds and fitful drizzle, which progressed to steady rain as we arrived at our destination.
The facility boasts 17 slate baths ranging from "hot tub" to "swimming pool" size scattered along a quarter mile wooden boardwalk that crisscrosses a mountain stream. As may be evident from our photos, the name, "Geometric Thermals", was taken from the builder's design. It was most pleasing to the eye. For the bold, some pools bordered on scalding. For the boldest, there were the bracing natural waterfalls. (Not quite the plunge through sea ice that Ginger experienced in Finland, but quite shivery enough for us.)
We spent the entire day relaxing in the rain in our own personal hot tub. (No one else wanted to join us... Have we maybe been on the road just a bit too long???) Note the prolific foliage and the flowered vine climbing the tree trunk. It was so beautiful, it appeared, if not fake, at least carefully trained. However, having seen similar displays on our subsequent hikes, we can assure you it was not.
This hot spring was something I will never forget -- remote, natural, elegant, and as night fell, romantically candlelit.