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  • The Curious Traveler

Some Like it Hot (tub)

I love the water. One could even say, I live for the water. Not only is my house on a pond, but I often swim before work, kayak and canoe with my dogs, and usually plan personal trips to include being in, on, or near some type of water.

One of the most tranquil and relaxing water experiences is that of soaking in natural hot springs, heated by the earth itself, and simply a way of life in many cultures. The minerals and heat are great for your skin and muscles after a day out exploring. Here are five great destinations to go for a soak. 

Iceland is famous for its volcanic activity, and this includes plenty of natural hot springs or “hot pots” as they are more often called. On both our summer hiking adventure and our winter Northern Lights itinerary we indulge in a soak or two, including at the renowned Blue Lagoon and other spots where the locals go.

Along Japan’s Nakasendo Trail, we have the opportunity to soak in onsens at our traditional inns. Onsens are beloved by the Japanese, and there is very strict rules around this cultural ritual. Read more about onsen etiquette…

Our new Spirituality & Wellness Special Departure to Bhutan we venture into the Gasa District to a remote hot spring (called a tshachu) few travelers visit. The Bhutanese believe hot springs have healing powers. which also bear holy significance and are often the source of famous legends in Bhutanese folklore.

The Azores Islands, a Portuguese archipelago in the middle of the Atlantic, have both ocean pools that are heated by underwater vents as well as inland mineral hot springs. We visit the 19th-century spa village of Furnas, nestled in a huge caldera, for a soak in the rich thermal pool at the Terra Nostra Park.

On both of our new Costa Rica trips (a private family departure and a Nature’s Wonders group itinerary), we enjoy the exclusive hot springs at Arenal Springs Hotel located in the middle of the rainforest. In addition, on the family adventure, we have the opportunity to swim in a thermal river in Guanacaste.

Amid full days of adventures and hiking, soaking in hot springs is the perfect way to slow down and relax in an incredible setting—wherever you are! 

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