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High up in the páramo, at 10,800 feet above sea level, the Papallacta thermal springs are the epitome of bliss. At an average temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the pools are a welcome retreat from the chilly daytime temperature of 57 degrees. Whilst being very peaceful to loll about in, the pools are also purported to have healing properties.


Slide into the steamy waters and worries seem to slip away; it’s not hard to believe that these waters can help flush toxins from the body. Framed by rugged, bleak peaks, the vistas are almost as refreshing as the water. Relaxing and unwinding in the springs against a panoramic backdrop of jagged, isolated mountains is quite extraordinary. A kaleidoscope of colors—blues, greens, and grays—melt into one another in the steamy setting. This swirl of colors collides with the sight of soaring peaks and delicate hummingbirds fluttering about to form an image that is captivating and picturesque. Pulling away from the warm embrace of the water is as difficult as the views are beautiful.


The surrounding beauty is breathtaking—and so is the cold air that greets the bathers exiting the pools. Despite the initial chill, the combination of cold air and hot pools is oddly, yet delightfully refreshing.


Drift lazily from pool to pool and experience all the varied temperatures that the springs have to offer. A romantic, night-time dip in the pools under clear skies and twinkling starlight, or an early-bird bathe accompanied by the rising sun are both invigorating. At the break of day, the pools are especially peaceful and the sight of the mountain peaks through the mist rising from the pools in the morning sunlight is truly magical. After an afternoon dip, don woolly clothes and head for the warmth of the restaurant for a tasty, wholesome meal of fresh trout, the regional specialty. For those who tire of bathing in the pools, massages and other luxurious and therapeutic treatments in the spa add a delightful finishing touch to an already indulgent stay.

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