In this episode, we are taking you on a majestic trip to some of the coolest hot springs in America. Hot springs are these magical places that you have to have the in on to find and enjoy. Some require hiking in the snow to get to, and some leverage man-made pools to harness the natural hot springs water – all of them are amazing and we’re big fans of hot springs here at the squad. We’re sharing some of our favorite hot springs we’ve been to that you should too!
- Gold Fork Hot Springs in Donnelly, ID
- Kirkham Hot Springs is one of the best hot springs near Boise Idaho
- Wild Willies Hot Springs in Mammoth Lakes, CA
- Jerry Johnson Hot Springs in Lolo, MT – a very cool outdoor hot springs near Missoula
- Hot Springs, AR – there are many right in the town!
- Grtuas Tolantongo, Cardonal, Hgo., Mexico – an absolutely ICONIC hot springs near Mexico City. it is 1,000% worth the eight-hour round-trip drive.
- Ojai Hot Springs/Ecotopia in Ventura, CA – a super convenient hot springs near LA that may or may not be clothing optional, wink wink.
- Panicuason Hot Springs in Luzon, Phillippine
- Termas de Papallacta, in the Ecuadorian Andes Mountains
- Blue Lagoon, Iceland – we haven’t been here, but are dying to!
Hot Springs in America – Episode Transcript
Fellow Travelers.Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we’re gonna talk to you all about Hot, Springs, Hot Springs domestically here in the United States, even a couple international destinations for you as well at the Squad. We love Hot Springs and we’re gonna talk about these Hot Springs locations that are very close to major tourist destinations that a lot of people go to. So you can even plan trips around these specific destinations to go to them, or you go to one of these places and just, Hey, here’s a Hot Springs for me. Why not? Right?
4 (1m 29s):
I love Hot Springs. Hot. Springs are definitely my jam along with waterfalls. It’s all about like rest and relaxation, rejuvenation. You just have to slow down, sit in the Hot, Springs, soak it all in. A lot of the times they’re great scenery around it. So it’s, it’s super beautiful and we’re so excited to share this list with you today. And Spring is right around the
5 (1m 50s):
Corner. We are huge fans of Hot Springs, not just because they’re said to cure illnesses. You know, we have a story about that one. They’re just amazing. They are relaxing. They are almost like a wonder of the world. Like how is it hot when you’re in the middle of like say a snow covered forest? It, it’s just amazing.
3 (2m 10s):
I’ll tell you, Kim, it’s thermal activity,
5 (2m 13s):
Okay? All right. So if we wanna get in the science of it, we can. But when you’re there, you’re just like caught up in this moment. It’s just amazing. I think one of the best experiences I’ve had is at Gold Fork when it was snow and it was like in a forest and it was just beautiful. But every single experience we’ve had has been amazing and I’m so excited to talk about it and get you all excited to go
4 (2m 36s):
Yourself. And as always, we’re gonna start with some tips cuz we have some general tips about Hot Springs in general. So we’re gonna dive into those first before diving into the episode.
3 (2m 45s):
Tip number one makes a lot of sense. Pack a towel. You know, if you’re going to this location, you’re gonna want to bring a towel. If you’re checking into a hotel, do you necessarily want to bring your hotel towel with you and have that towel be wet and dirty, dirty for when you shower when you get back? I don’t think so. Pack a towel and I’m just gonna throw it out there on our website. You could find the link to our Amazon store. We have the Turkish towels, perfect ones for you guys to actually pack. They dry really quick and they can act as blankets and they don’t take a lot of space in your suitcase or backpack or wherever you’re gonna put
4 (3m 19s):
It. Another tip for you is to bring a change of clothes. You know, you’re out there, you could be getting wet if you’re leaving your regular clothes out. It could get a little muddy, dirty, all of that stuff depending on what area you have to put your clothes down on. So always good to pack a change of clothes just in case.
5 (3m 35s):
And depending on where you’re going, you might pop in from pool to pool and get dressed in between and that can definitely mess up your clothes.
3 (3m 44s):
As always, download offline maps. Hot Springs often are in remote places or off of like hiking trails, things of that nature. So you’re gonna wanna have that so you don’t lose service. And one thing that I’m not seeing here on the tips, but I’m gonna throw it in, bring it in a dry bag, bring your towel in a dry bag, your change of clothes in a dry bag. It’s gonna be really useful. And again, depending on the situation, is it muddy? Where are you gonna set it down? The dry bag keeps it from getting dirty and just can clean it right off. So perfect item for you.
4 (4m 13s):
And we have a dry bag listed on our Amazon list, so definitely check that out as well. And the last tip we have for you guys is be aware that the Hot Springs can actually smell like sulfur. So they might smell a little eggy,
5 (4m 25s):
But not all of
4 (4m 26s):
Them do. But not all of them, some of them can. So just be aware of that. And typically when you’re out of them they, you don’t smell like a rotten egg, it’s just while you’re in the area, you
5 (4m 36s):
Just don’t think you do.
3 (4m 38s):
And it’s that geothermal activity that talking about that make them actually hot. So it’s part of the territory, right? Not every location has that strong smell but some of them do. So just know that going in there, but all around great relaxation experience and one to attune yourself with the earth and the land around
5 (4m 55s):
You. All right, so I wanna talk about the first one. I think this might be the first one I ever went to. Really Gold Fork Hot Springs in Idaho. It’s located technically in Donnelly, Idaho. It’s about two hours north of Boise when we went on our Boise trip Boise, we actually have an episode on that episode 38 if you wanna go here all about it. But I loved gold, Fork, Hot Springs. How we even discovered this place in the first place was through Instagram, just seeing these amazing cascading pools surrounded by a snow-covered forest. So you’re in a bikini in the pool with a beanie on beanies and bikinis,
3 (5m 36s):
Beanies and bikinis, bikinis. And you’re pink timmies and
5 (5m 40s):
Pink timmies, beanies, bikinis, pink timmies, you have the whole look there. It is an iconic photo that you have to get if you go here or any Hot Springs where it’s gonna be in a mountainous snowy region, 10 out of 10 get that photo.
4 (5m 54s):
And so this one is privately owned so you have to, to pay to use it. It’s about $10 for adults cash only. And we went in winter. And so if you are going in winter or spring when there is snow on the ground, we would recommend getting an suv. We did see someone spin out in a sedan and the snow on our way there because the road becomes unpaved at some point. So just keep that in mind,
3 (6m 17s):
Right when you’re off the main highway and on the road that leads to the gold four Hot Springs, that’s where we did see it. You’re going slow at that point but it’s winter, you never know what’s going to happen. But like Britney said, this is on private land so they do charge that fee. $10 for adults you can actually change. And this little almost yurt that they build up half one side is men, half the other side is women. Don’t worry, there’s a curtain in between. So you’re not sharing and seen from one side to the next. But at the same time these are naturally fed Hot Springs that create the water to be warm. But the pools themselves here, I won’t lie obviously are manmade to contain that natural water, right?
3 (6m 59s):
So this one in some areas look a little bit more rustic because they really do it with natural rocks and build the pools. And then they have another pool where the top layer and hotter water cascades down so it gets cooler and cooler as it goes. And those pools start to look a little bit more obviously manmade, but still a great experience with the forest around you. And when we went in the snow, just that slight snow coming down while you’re in these Hot Springs, it’s really, really amazing out there and we enjoyed it a lot.
4 (7m 29s):
Yeah, they actually have six pools that are formed and the temperature range is from 85 to 110. The biggest largest pool is the one that is the hottest because it’s right at the source of the water. You can actually feel the water cascading down the rock in some areas and you can feel how hot it really is. And so that was really cool. And then on this property there are some amenities cuz you’re kind of out in the middle of nowhere. We didn’t eat beforehand, we were kind of getting hangry by the end of our trip here. But they do have some snacks and drinks for sale. Jamal mentioned the your locker room. They do have two porta potties and while it was cold, the changing rooms had a heater inside that we were like gathering around while we’re trying to get dressed again.
4 (8m 12s):
And they even offered bags to put your wet bathing suits in. So that’s also handy as well. We probably spent a few hours here. Yeah, like two hours, maybe even three. Just relaxing in the Hot Springs wearing our beanies and our bikinis. Jamal and his swim trunks, not his bikini.
3 (8m 33s):
Yeah, I didn’t have a bikini. I felt a little left out. My top was off on this one.
5 (8m 38s):
I like Hot Springs because all you do there is Relax, it’s just meant to float around and feel the water. And the water is from a natural spring. So there are, whether they’re legitimate or mythical benefits to this water, you do feel better after being in them for whatever reason
4 (8m 59s):
You always do. Yeah. So we did this one of the days, but then we also went to another hot spring while we were in visiting in Idaho called Kirkham Hot Springs. And this is also another two hours away from Boise and we use Boise kind of as our hub. But what was really cool about this hot spring is it’s so scenic along the way. We saw so many deer while we were driving there. We’re in the Mountains, it’s remote and it’s actually a true natural Hot Springs. None of it’s manmade. You actually have to do a little hike to get down to the Hot Springs area. So this was really scenic and it’s right next to a river.
3 (9m 37s):
Yeah. So this is off of the main highway and that highway is going through the mountainous areas, following along parallel to the river that they have flowing through there. Now if you go during a time of year, which we did in winter where there’s a little bit less traffic in there, you know you can park on the street on the appropriate spaces along the highway, but they do have designated parking lots. If you park in the designated parking lot, it’s a $5 fee. However it’s free to get into the Hot Springs themselves. But what was really cool about these Hot Springs, again natural Hot Springs, but they cascade out of the rock. So it’s almost like a hot waterfall. Yeah. That comes down.
3 (10m 18s):
And then what people have done is take natural rocks from the riverbed and create little shallow pools. So these areas like honestly is no more than like two, two and a half feet of water. And obviously your top portion is gonna be a little bit more exposed to the, but it’s really cool because they make these natural pools with the rocks in the true river that’s actually cold. But here you are sitting in a segregated area that’s warm. So it created a lot more unique environment. I mean it’s natural in terms of where you are, but unnatural that fact that they made the rocks but they look a lot more natural than where we talked about before, which was gold Fork, where they really truly made pools so to speak.
5 (11m 2s):
Right. And you’d be sitting in a natural pool with a rock barrier just on the other side of that rock barrier. It’s a freezing cold river and you’re in the hot pool. So that was cool.
4 (11m 12s):
I will say that hiking down here, it’s kind of like what do you wear? Do you wear tennis shoes because you’re doing this kind of hike down? Do you wear flip flops because you’re gonna be in the water? But we didn’t bring water shoes and I feel like I wish we did because that would’ve helped with all of the rocks on your feet. Especially when you’re even going between the different pool levels. Yeah, because it does hurt your feet a little bit. You’re walking on natural rock.
5 (11m 35s):
Well also when you’re sitting in it, you’re sitting on rocks. Yeah.
4 (11m 38s):
5 (11m 38s):
You know you’re gonna feel it. But I liked it. We were grounding,
4 (11m 42s):
We were, and while you’re
3 (11m 44s):
4 (11m 44s):
Sitting in them, the water goes up to about your stomach or chest depending on how big each pool is. Kim and Jamal did mention like there is a waterfall of hot water coming down and there was this guy, do you remember that? Who while we were taking picture
5 (11m 58s):
Trying to slap your ass or
3 (11m 60s):
Something, well he was like only bathing in his box of briefs and he was kind of like a big burly guy and he was there alone. I think he was. But then like he wanted to take photos with random strangers who was doing something a little weird. He didn’t slap her’s ass but he did a mock photo of like a fake slap of her ass or like and
4 (12m 19s):
He has to take a picture with me.
5 (12m 20s):
Yeah, we do have those photos. Oh
4 (12m 23s):
My god, that was so weird.
3 (12m 24s):
He’s getting a little Wild. I think his story was is like he said, he goes there and actually does cleanup of things that people leave behind, like beer cans, trash.
5 (12m 32s):
He said he’s been going since
3 (12m 33s):
He was a kid. Yeah. Which I guess is a great psa. Like whatever you pack in, pack out, that’s his story. I mean if, yeah, that’s his story that he claims and he goes there and likes to take photos with women as keeps skating keepsakes maybe, I don’t know. But nonetheless point of that story beyond that is really pack in Yes or pack out what you pack in because
5 (12m 51s):
At these natural ones a lot of people do drink and you should pack it out for sure.
3 (12m 56s):
And I feel like if you’re gonna go enjoy something beautiful like that, why do you want to trash it for other people? Like those are the people that really no definitely don’t bother me the most. So take it out, be respectful so others can enjoy it.
5 (13m 8s):
In Austin we have a lot of cool Springs, a lot of natural fed Springs that aren’t hot and you don’t want them to be hot cause it’s hot here. As I learned more about the history as we tour them, the story goes back say a hundred years ago or so, where there weren’t any rules of regulation or ownership that a lot of people partied and there was just tons of crap trash, all the stuff left and they had to like clean it out to make it what it is now. And it’s right. You know people have been trashing places for centuries but don’t keep it up. Yeah. We wanna keep these things nice.
4 (13m 40s):
So another Hot Springs we’re gonna talk about is called Wild Willie’s. Hot Springs. And I don’t think you’ve been there, Kim. No Jamal and I did go and it’s near Mammoth Lakes in California, which is on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. And it was actually our first time driving up on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. Cause we’ve always driven on like the west side of it, growing up in northern California and like the Tahoe area. And we visited in November, 2021. It’s a free hot spring, but you do have to go down this little dirt road to get there. And they have on the dirt road a ton of like manmade speed bumps. And so it’s a little rough but it can be done in a sedan,
3 (14m 19s):
You can do it in a sedan. But if you have a higher rise vehicle, I would recommend it. But just be aware that you, once you get off the main highway, you will have to go off that dirt road. But just for a little bit of geographical context, I mean I know Britney said like east side of the Sierra Nevadas, for those of you who aren’t from California, the Sierra Nevadas is the main mountain chain here in California, home to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, couple other national parks. And so where Mammoth Lakes is, is literally almost on the opposite side of where Yosemite Valley is. So Yosemite is on the western side of the Sierras and then if you go across Yosemite, they have a main highway that’ll get you through Yosemite Valley.
3 (15m 2s):
If it’s open during the spring and summer season, it’s close for winter, it will get you to the Mammoth Lakes area. And that is where we are talking about right now. So you’re at the foothills of the Eastern Sierras and where this hot spring is is in a valley. And then you can look up and you can see the jagged Mountains that is the Sierra Nevadas from the east side. So it gives it a really quaint scenic look. And if you know where Yosemite is, this is on the opposite side of the Mountains of where Yosemite Valley is.
4 (15m 29s):
And so there is a parking lot area and then you have to take a quarter mile trip down the boardwalk. It’s like an elevated plank boardwalk that you walk down and you walk that all the way down to the Hot Springs. There’s no amenities here. So it’s pretty rustic. There’s no bathrooms, no changing areas, nothing.
5 (15m 45s):
You just squat behind a tree.
3 (15m 47s):
You’re lucky if you find a tree. It’s like a little open plane Meadow.
4 (15m 50s):
3 (15m 51s):
It’s meadow. The
5 (15m 51s):
3 (15m 52s):
4 (15m 54s):
The water at the deepest is that’s
5 (15m 56s):
Why it’s hot,
4 (15m 58s):
Is like three feet deep. Most of the time you’ll be sitting near the edge and you’ll be mostly submerged in the water. But re like Jamal said, really gorgeous views of the Mountains. Like that is the highlight. You’re just there again bikinis and your beis And then the Mountains that are snow like snow capped are in the distance really scenic. And we got there in the morning. There was actually several cars parked there. But by the time we made our way down on the boardwalk, we had the Hot Springs to ourselves for probably 20
3 (16m 28s):
Miles. Yeah there’s several pools but everybody was leaving at that time. So we had it alone and by the time we were down to our last like five to 10 minutes that we were spending in there, people started to actually come. So we got to experience it on our own. I will say this, like Brittany’s saying, there is no amenities. That is very true. There’s no restrooms out by the Hot Springs cuz it’s literally just random Hot Springs that are flowing from a few rocks in this little meadow that’s at the foothills of the Mountains here. But I believe in the parking lot they have a couple porta-potties themselves maybe if I remember correctly, porta potties. But yeah, I mean this one is a little bit more rustic but it is in the beautiful or at the foothills of the beautiful Sierra Nevadas.
3 (17m 9s):
And so you’re gonna be there in this region and I would highly recommend checking out Wild Willy’s Hot Springs because it is a unique experience there in the valley or meadow. And then just looking at the beautiful Mountains
4 (17m 21s):
And Mammoth is known for snowboarding skiing. It’s where a lot of snow pour. So after a long day on the mountain, like I’m sure you’re pretty sore going to soak in the Hot Springs. It’s just relieve your muscles would be really refreshing and really nice. Just Relax. That
5 (17m 36s):
Sounds so nice.
3 (17m 37s):
That’s Wild Willies.
5 (17m 39s):
I went to another Hot Springs out in Montana called Jerry Johnson. Hot Springs, I believe it was just outside of Lolo Montana. And to get to these rustic free public natural Hot Springs, I would say the trail out and back is about 2.6 miles. Okay. And you gotta work for it. Yeah. And it did remind me a lot of Kirkham, Hot Springs in Idaho because you park in a parking lot and then you kind of walk through this forested trail. When I went it was in February so it was snowy. And so the trail that you actually walked on was kind of not snowy because of the foot traffic, but everywhere else was covered in snow.
5 (18m 20s):
And you’re walking through the forest and again, there’s no bathrooms or anything like that out here, but you walk so people pee in the pool or the trees, there’s a lot of trees. Okay. My friend Katie actually went to go pee behind a tree and she ended up getting sunk into the snow, like up to her chest. Oh my gosh. There was a lot of snow out there. But we walked in and there’s lots of different pools. So we went into the first one that we saw, which was kind of like down the side of the mountain a little bit, but they were smaller and they were right next to the river so they weren’t warm enough. So we sat in there for a little bit and then we checked onto the next one. And that’s exactly what I was saying about maybe you’ll try this pool out and you’ll try the next pool out.
5 (19m 2s):
So you’re like, we put our shoes back on and of course everything’s getting muddy and and wet and all that. So we walk a little bit further down the trail. There’s a huge hole in the ground, just looks like it comes out of nowhere, like a crater out of the ground. Huge hole, probably could fit like 30 people. And then there’s a couple of other Hot Springs that are closer to the river that are also pretty big with a lot of people. This Hot Springs location had more people than I think I’ve ever seen at a natural hot springing. Really? Really. How many people would you say were there? Well between all those pools, 50 to a hundred people. Wow, that’s a lot. And there were a lot of of holes, but yeah. Did you go like midday in the morning?
5 (19m 43s):
At night? It was midday, yeah. And by the time we left it was kind of becoming dusk. Okay.
3 (19m 48s):
Well when you say it was in Lolo, Montana, what big city if you will, was it closest to,
5 (19m 55s):
I would say the closest big city of Montana would be Missoula, Montana, which is actually where we stayed. And funny enough, we stayed in a hotel that also had like 12 different hot tubs. Oh okay, nice. Including one in our room. So they’re really big on Hot. Springs soaking there. But it was close enough to drive just a couple hours from Missoula. Okay, that’s really nice. It was really good. Hot Springs. And I think the most iconic way to soak is when it’s winter, it’s snowing and you’re in a forest. There’s just nothing that beats that. Well you don’t wanna go in summer. You think you’re gonna be cold though cause it’s winter but you’re not. But you’re not like even when we went to Kirkham in Idaho, I did a snow angel in the snow in my bikini.
5 (20m 38s):
3 (20m 38s):
You did. I mean eventually you’re gonna want to get out because you sit in a hot tub or jacuzzi or natural Hot, Springs long enough you’re gonna get warm and start getting a little bit sweaty. You know? Know. Yeah. So you want, you want that coolness and I really think the snow and cold weather lends itself to be ideal time for the Hot Springs.
2 (20m 55s):
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4 (22m 59s):
So the next Hot Springs we’re gonna talk about is Hot Springs Arkansas, which is a Squad trip that we took together. Also
3 (23m 6s):
A national park, Hot Springs National Park in Arkansas. Fucking loved it. Episode 22, we talk all about it, we rave about it, hyping it up right here if you haven’t been for sure, go. It’s
2 (23m 17s):
A hidden gem
4 (23m 17s):
I think. Yeah, I feel like people don’t know about it and when they think about Hot Springs they’re just like, well what are we gonna do there? But it’s actually, there’s a lot to do there. And so it, it has a rich cultural past and it’s literally in the middle of town. They’ve built a town around it. But it has these ancient thermal Springs, mountain views, forest hikes, and a whole bunch of creeks. And so the, the main downtown area is called Bathhouse Row because in the 1890s to like 1920s, they used these houses as Hot Springs houses where they had true traditional bath houses. But then they kind of wouldn’t add a business in some sort of sense because they used to have I think eight and now they’re down to two.
5 (24m 2s):
Well this is where we learned that they used to think Hot Springs cured syphilis
3 (24m 8s):
And other diseases and things like that. Yeah,
5 (24m 10s):
Polio. And so they went out of business probably cuz people realized like it doesn’t true.
3 (24m 15s):
But I mean these are really done up. So again, these are natural Hot, Springs natural hot water that comes out of the earth right here in Hot, Springs, Arkansas. And you
5 (24m 24s):
Can see it
3 (24m 25s):
Coming up. Yeah, you can see it even from the manholes and the steam that’s cool to where it’s running under the streets that it’s coming up and you can see the steam forming. But what’s really cool about these is again now the national park administers these areas and these historic buildings and these buildings were done up nice. I mean if you think like real classy style spas these days and what they look like, this is to a like a complete other level of how they did these bathhouses. I mean you can go through see the old style like stainless steel contraptions that they would put you would like just literally in a steam bath or in a steam room with beautiful stained glass windows. Well
5 (25m 3s):
Maybe the men because I don’t know what was going on in the 1890s, but men’s rooms were nicer than women. Yeah,
3 (25m 10s):
Well the men’s ones looked really good, but point being on the tour, you get to see it. And now they’re not segregated by men and women. But I mean these are historical buildings and bathhouses that are now administered by the National Park Service. But the cool thing about it is you yourself can still go in there and soak in these baths now. So really
5 (25m 30s):
3 (25m 30s):
Was, I know really, really awesome. I would highly recommend everybody go out there and be on the bathhouse themselves. A cool little downtown quaint stretch area that you’ll definitely enjoy your time. Could do wine tasting afterwards, have a brewery where they actually use some of the hot water and the natural thermal water to make the beer. You’d think oh weird. But you know how we were talking earlier, some of them have that sulfuric smell, some of them don’t. This is a location where their water doesn’t have that sulfuric smell and they actually have free water stations throughout the city where local residents even get natural water for free.
4 (26m 7s):
So we went and soaked at Kopa Bathhouse and they had four different thermal pools there that were varying temperatures and they also had a steam cave, which I don’t think is open yet up again since Covid. But it was like a hundred, almost 110 degrees in there. It was this nice steam cave and you can just watch all of the sweat. Well
5 (26m 26s):
For most people,
4 (26m 27s):
For most people beat out of you.
3 (26m 29s):
Yeah, I don’t think Kim was sweating
4 (26m 30s):
And they had these, it was huge.
5 (26m 32s):
Mob Jamal doesn’t sweat.
3 (26m 34s):
I don’t sweat for my face for whatever reason the rest of my body yet. Not yet. But my face was not sweating. All the girls were just dying there in the steam cave. And then I’m sitting here like ladi da, you know like I’m fine.
4 (26m 45s):
And they have these eucalyptus scented towels and that they gave us and that are ice cool to cool off with. It was amazing. I would recommend Qu Paw but if we were to go back again, I would wanna check out the other bathhouse there. It was called a Baff Bathhouse. And it’s more of a luxurious spa experience where they have private pools and you can do like 20 minute full body massages and like the Lofas and all of that. And they also have other spa services there as well. So I would try the other bathhouse since we’ve already tried Kapa. Right?
3 (27m 18s):
You go back And Buck staff I think is more how it was traditionally back in the late 18 hundreds, early 19 hundreds. Whereas Kpa, even though both these facilities are administered by the National Park Service, kpa has more catered to, I’m just soaking and what amenities they had in the past. They’re just there as really as relics to look and they still keep ’em nice and pristine, but you can’t enjoy those experiences. Like you can’t buck staff
4 (27m 42s):
Backwards. I mean I do think they’re in the national park but they’re not administered by the National Park Service.
3 (27m 46s):
Oh, I thought Buck staff was That’s still outside of it.
4 (27m 49s):
3 (27m 50s):
Owned. Okay, my mistake then. But yeah, I would still want to go
5 (27m 53s):
Buck staff. I think Hot Springs is one of the most unique national parks in America
4 (27m 57s):
And it’s so underrated.
5 (27m 58s):
Yeah, it really is. The next Hot Springs on our list, ISRU Tolantongo, this is in Mexico. It’s about three to four hours driving northwest of Mexico City just to plot it on the earth. It’s an amazing place. If you’re coming from America, I’d probably recommend going with a Vior tour, which is what I did. It was around a hundred bucks per person and it’s door-to-door service. Pick you up, Mexico City from your hotel, Airbnb, whatever they take you there, your entrance fees included, they bring you home, you’re looking at like a 12 hour day. You spend a lot of time here. So let me just try to describe this property because it’s not like any of the other Hot Springs we’ve mentioned so far.
5 (28m 41s):
It’s a massive property that leverages what’s natural and also leverages some manmade features. So a couple of things that they have. One is the river. It’s not manmade, it is natural, but it looks like it’s manmade because it has this almost like tiered shelf formation about it. And it just goes down, goes, goes down, goes flat and it’s like a crystal beautiful light blue. It’s a gorgeous color. The water is not necessarily hot though, so it’s not like Hot Springs, it’s like Luke warm, Luke warm or just a temperate temperature for cold or hot and it’s just gorgeous, clear waters.
5 (29m 24s):
It’s amazing. That’s one thing. The second thing they have is a cave with a huge waterfall at the entrance of it. Oh
4 (29m 31s):
5 (29m 32s):
So you are walking up, you’re seeing this gorgeous waterfall. Beautiful. You walk past the waterfall or into the waterfall I should say into the cave where you can swim. It’s a swimming cave and you go back and as you’re swimming in there it kind of like pulls you in with the current and you kind of swim around. It’s like pitch dark in there and then like there’s ropes on the wall to hold cuz it kind of like pulls you out on the other side too. It’s a really cool experience. And then lastly, which is the most iconic thing that you can see in pictures of it are all these pools ver in varying sizes from very large to very small built into the cliff side of this just amazing overlook canyon.
5 (30m 17s):
It’s fucking phenomenal. When you look
4 (30m 20s):
At pictures of Grtuas Tolantongo, that’s what you normally see is like the all the pools. All the pools that are built into the cliff
5 (30m 26s):
Side. And you can only probably get like max 50 pools in a picture but there are hundreds of pools and then there’s even a suspension bridge that goes across and there’s more pools. Oh wow. So it’s a huge property and we spent, like I said, probably four to eight hours there and I could have spent longer. You can actually rent a small little cottage there. They have a whole bunch of ’em and you can spend like a week there if you wanted. I
4 (30m 50s):
Would definitely want to go there. I know you went Kim, but I’m interested in hitting up this Hot Springs.
3 (30m 55s):
I would really love to go and I like exactly what you said, do it like with a Via or some sort of guided to tour because it is relatively far from yes Mexico city in terms of like drive time. However, if you’re gonna be in Mexico City a few days and can afford to spend a day doing this, cause I know you said it’s like a 12 hour venture, you know four hours each way plus your time there. But I think it would be well worth it. I know we’re gonna post a photo on Travel Squad Podcast of this one cause it’s one of the prettiest Hot Springs. So go to our website, check it out. But even look online at photos of this just to obviously put a picture to how you described it Kim because it is like breathtaking when you look at it and just see like Hot Springs tiered into a mountainside.
3 (31m 37s):
It’s like what the fuck? Like this is someplace that I can actually go. Yeah, it’s really cool.
5 (31m 41s):
And there’s restaurants there, there’s plenty of drinks you can get. There’s bathrooms, there’s locker rooms. It’s fully built out resort property but it’s affordable and attainable.
3 (31m 52s):
Well I can’t wait for us to go back to Mexico City and go cause I know you go again. I know. Yeah, exactly. So we’re gonna have to put it on the list and you squats definitely need to check it out too. Next on our list that we’re mentioning here of awesome Hot Springs for you to go to is going to be the Ojai Hot Springs or now as it’s known Ecotopia. So just if you haven’t heard of where Ojai is, it is south of Santa Barbara, north of Ventura along the California coast. But a little bit inland again, just to give geographical context. So in the Southern California region now this area, the Ojai Hot Springs again is now under the umbrella of a company called Ecotopia.
3 (32m 35s):
But it was on private land. Still is private land actually. And it used to be free to go to but with Social Media being what it is these days and influencers and blog posts and writings, it’s become really popular over the past 10 years. So much so that a lot of people have gone, we talked about this before, left trash behind in certain places and kind of like dirty it up a bit. So the owners of that land have actually now privatized it. So you do have to pay a $25 fee to utilize it. But they’ve done it up really well by making natural pools from the natural flowing Hot Springs. And this is located in the Los Padres National Forest.
3 (33m 17s):
So in a forested area in the hills of Southern California. Really, really beautiful. I haven’t gone since they’ve redone it and privatized it. I’ve only gone when it was free, but nonetheless it was still a really cool experience.
4 (33m 30s):
Clothing optional at this one too.
3 (33m 31s):
Yes. I forgot the good call and that one. Cause
4 (33m 34s):
Jamal went with
3 (33m 34s):
Josh clothing option I, I kept the clothes on but I’ll tell you what, a lot of people in there took the clothes off, started mudding themselves up with the mud that’s in the pools and go at night. Actually at this location is when I first heard of Slenderman and got freaked out cuz it was so dark at night. But you
5 (33m 52s):
Were out there
3 (33m 52s):
At night? Yeah, we went out at night
4 (33m 54s):
With Josh. Oh
5 (33m 55s):
And a clothing optional.
3 (33m 57s):
I kept the clothing on, he kept the clothing on lots of people
4 (33m 60s):
3 (34m 0s):
All. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah,
5 (34m 2s):
Yeah. Have you ever gone son’s clothing
3 (34m 5s):
At Hot Springs? No, it’s not my forte. It’s not my forte, you know, so you wouldn’t have, I’m a shy guy. I really wish I could be the type of person, I really just whip it out. But that’s not my style. I can’t do that, you know, so yeah,
5 (34m 17s):
4 (34m 18s):
Well the next Hot Springs we’re gonna talk about is actually located all the way in the Philippines. And so it’s called Pan Cosan Hot Springs. We went here way long ago, it was like 2011, but it was a graduation gift from my mom to me from for graduating college. And so I have a lot of family that lives in the Philippines. So my, and it’s pretty close to our home, my mom’s home city. It’s only about 15 minutes away from there. And so it’s actually located within a national park called Mount is aag and it’s in a nice secluded forest area. If you guys are familiar with like foreign transportation in the Philippines, they used a thing called a Jeepney, which is like a big school bus almost.
4 (35m 3s):
But instead of the seats being right across from each other, they’re these long benches and so everyone just kind of piles in them. And we took two of those to take my entire family to the Hot Springs. When you get there there’s these covered cabanas where you could set out food and picnic stuff. So we brought a whole bunch of Filipino food. There’s a river flowing next to it. That’s where all of my uncles were sitting and drinking.
3 (35m 28s):
Oh yeah, I mean, I mean this is really cool. I mean for context, I mean these Hot Springs again natural Hot Springs, but they’ve done it up to create pools in there. But they, they really have a national river that flows down below also. So you can see the river flowing and then you’re sitting up above the river in these elevated pools. It is in a jungley environment, so not forested jungley. And they actually have to put nets over the Hot Springs themselves because along the cliff wall snakes could fall down and you’re in the jungle. So they keep ’em from going in with that netted area. So again, I say that so one, you could get a picture of the environment in the jungle, but two also feel for that safety. But one of my fond memories of when we were actually here is again beyond the experience of the Hot Springs, Britney’s mom ordered a full leche, which is like pig, almost like luau style.
3 (36m 19s):
And everybody was feeding on it and then her uncles pulled out a bottle of Jack Daniels and then we were just sitting in the river, we got outta the Hot Springs itself and in the river, the Cold River on the rocks just passing around the bottle in a circle and doing all this and that. So having a really good time. But I would highly recommend, you know, if you’re in the Philippines, you give this place a tribe because a really unique Hot Springs environment in another country in Southeast Asia on some islands, it’s freaking awesome.
4 (36m 47s):
Yeah, there’s four outdoor Hot Springs pools. We pretty much had the whole area to ourselves. It was amazing. And I think this is probably one of the first Hot Springs I’ve been to back in 2011
5 (36m 58s):
Setting the bar high.
4 (36m 60s):
I know it was really cool. But we’re gonna end with our favorite, probably our favorite Hot Springs. And it’s something that we did all as a Squad, which is which was in Ecuador.
5 (37m 11s):
Oh my God. This place was amazing.
3 (37m 13s):
It was amazing on Shadow Gate one to taking us to the unique places. This was a gate one tour Termas, they Papallacta was one of the locations and hotels that they took us. And this hotel is a resort area, so they have the natural Hot Springs where you can soak, but on top of that they also have it set up to where you can get massages also. So it is true spot experience way up high 10,000 plus feet in the Andes Mountains. That
5 (37m 38s):
Was the coolest thing is being in the Hot Springs seeing these gigantic Mountains right there. It’s foggy, it’s cloudy, it’s like got a whole vibe to it. But even more so that the Hot Springs pools were five feet from your front door.
4 (37m 54s):
Yeah. Even to get to your hotel door, you’re on this like wooden boardwalk to get there and then you have to go down these steps to get right into the pool. So right in front of the doors.
5 (38m 4s):
Oh my god,
3 (38m 5s):
I wanna go back. I know. And that was one of the really cool things, right? Because you can pay to do a spa experience where you would have your own private thermal pool that you can sit in, do your massages, which we absolutely did. But everybody who’s staying there can enjoy the thermal Springs themselves because the pool area, if you want to call it that, is connected. But in small little sections of like little pools that you can sit into right out front of your door. So what’s out front of your door unfortunately isn’t just yours. They’re all kind of like interconnected, but they’re such small areas that not a lot of people can really sit there to make it feel crowded. But it was so cool like oh here’s like kind of a courtyard area if you will for everybody that’s natural.
3 (38m 47s):
Hot Springs for you to sit in. And then just with the views of the Andes Mountains 10,000 feet in the air with the clouds. It was, it was beautiful. Yeah. Wish, I mean it really was
5 (38m 56s):
Beautiful. I wish we could’ve stayed more than one night.
4 (38m 59s):
Yeah, absolutely. That would’ve been amazing if we could have spent another night
5 (39m 4s):
There. Yeah. The only thing about that trip that sucked was it was so go, go, go that we just didn’t have a lot of time in a lot of places and I would’ve loved to just like stay up late and soak, but we’re tired cuz you have to be up at seven, 6:00 AM So yeah, I definitely need to go back, just spend a week there literally.
4 (39m 22s):
And the restaurant that they had on this property was so good that quinoa,
5 (39m 27s):
The quinoa soup
4 (39m 28s):
And the fish we had that night. I know you don’t like fish, but no
5 (39m 31s):
4 (39m 32s):
Doesn’t like fish. I had
5 (39m 33s):
4 (39m 34s):
Had the, the fish. The fish was amazing. The food there was just great and it was just such a relaxing afternoon. I would definitely go back. Well those are all of the Hot Springs that we’re going to talk about that we’ve been to. But we do have a few on our Hot Springs a bucket list.
5 (39m 51s):
Oh there are many Hot Springs on our bucket list. Like everywhere I go now I look for Hot Springs. But there’s some iconic ones. Number one, the Blue Lagoon in Iceland.
4 (40m 1s):
5 (40m 2s):
Mean, I mean is there anything better? Like I think,
3 (40m 4s):
Well we haven’t been there yet so we don’t know. But in terms of like what’s hyped up to be an awesome place, yeah Blue Lagoon is probably one of the best, one of the,
5 (40m 13s):
It looks really cool and you can do a mud mask and you can walk around in robes like can you beat
4 (40m 18s):
That? I’m sure there are high end places that you can, but this is like open to the general public and you do pay for that experience. But that is definitely high on my list to do a day trip to the Blue Lagoon and just spa all day. Yes. Little champagne, little face mask. The steam cave thing. Little rogue. Yeah. I’ve
5 (40m 41s):
Been to a spa that is in Corona California called Glen Ivy Hot Springs and I, we didn’t put on our list cuz it’s, I mean it is a Hot Springs, it’s, it’s naturally fed, but there’s all these different pools and there’s like a hot pool, the pool, there’s a sulfur one. And I’ll tell you, after spending a day at a spa place where you’re in these pools and you’re relaxing, you are exhausted at the end of the day. And it seems silly to say cuz all you’ve been doing is relaxing but you Relax so much it exhausts you.
3 (41m 13s):
Another location that’s on our bucket list, Hot Springs is gonna be Pali Turkey if I’m saying that correctly. It’s spelled P A M U K K A L E. And again, just do yourself a favor and Google this. These are natural Hot Springs that are in this natural like salt formation. So when you look at it, it almost looks like these crystal clear blue waters with ice. But it’s actually really salt and minerals that form these natural pools. It is so unique. You’re allowed to soak in them. Really, really want to go. And I’m so excited about this when we finally go to Turkey, just
4 (41m 51s):
The pictures looking at them, it kind of reminds me of what the ones in Mexico city look like or near Mexico City. Yeah. But it, it’s completely different, you know? Yeah. So I am dying to go there for sure. And another one that I would love to go to, they’re called Dermas Geometrical in Chile. And it’s located in Chile’s lush Lushka National Park. And it has Hot Springs that have like, there’s 17 different pools, a maze of different red walkways and then some cooling waterfalls along the way as well.
3 (42m 25s):
Yeah, these ones in Chile look absolutely amazing. What really sells it too is really that red walkway that they have going through there and the little lush jungle environment that they have. It looks really, really cool. So I really do want to go there. And again, I think it’s really unique. If it’s in Chile, it’s in the Andes and you know it’s fed from those volcanic activity that’s going on in the Andes. So I think it makes it all the more cooler on that one.
5 (42m 50s):
We’ve been talking about going to, I’ll try to pronounce this one too. Boks Hot Springs that is located in Big Bend National Park here in Texas. They’re actually located only a few yards from the Rio Grande River, which is really cool. So it’s like right on the edge of two countries. It’s got this just natural look to it, it looks really cool. We wanna hit big band national park already. And so to add this on, ideally in the winter and not in the a hundred plus degree summer. Yeah, that’ll be a good experience when we go
3 (43m 24s):
There. Oh yeah, I’m looking forward to it. So those are four of our bucket list hot spring destinations that we haven’t been to. If any of you guys have been to these locations, wanna share any information about it, please let us know. We definitely want to hear it. Or if there’s anywhere that we didn’t mention that you think that we should know about, share it with us too cuz we definitely want to know for ourselves and bring that to other squats, attentions.
5 (43m 48s):
All right, squats. It’s that time of the week. Questions of the week.
4 (44m 1s):
Question number one was from Gabby from Denver. She asks of the Hot Springs we listed what location was our favorite?
3 (44m 8s):
Oh that is so tough. I think in its natural element, I’m probably like in favorite like is different than best memory cuz the one in the Philippines was really fun. But favorite natural element. I’m gonna go with Kirkham. Hot. Springs. Wow. I, yeah, I really, really enjoyed that. I think it was because of the snow coming naturally from the cliff side and it’s like, like a hot waterfall. Yeah, that was cool. But an overall experience though, I would say Hot, Springs National Park and Art. Really. It’s like I loved it. I think the bathhouse has given a whole nother vibe to it too. Yeah,
4 (44m 43s):
I would say my favorite from the, what we’ve listed is their musty Papa Yk. Like I just feel like the Mountains in the background, you’re in the Andes, you’re staying at this nice hotel resort area, the thermal pools right at your front door and then you can book a spa package. That was amazing.
5 (45m 1s):
Yeah, I mean it’s hard to beat the Hot Springs right outside of your door. It’s like a tie between that one and Grtuas and Tolantongo in Mexico for me just because of how sprawling it was and it was natural and they were gorgeous and you could just spend so long there. They’re all amazing. They all have something to offer.
4 (45m 19s):
But really good question Gabby. Question number two is from Rachel, who’s from Chicago. She asks, are all Hot Springs clothing optional?
3 (45m 29s):
Unfortunately they are not all clothing optional. I know the one we mentioned in Ojai definitely is. But the gold four Hot Springs that we mentioned, first off the bat, definitely you’re not going naked in there. There’s families in there. It’s really popular. Lots of other locations. I mean what we just told Tolantongo Kim, can you just go straight skin out at that one?
5 (45m 50s):
I didn’t see anybody. In fact, in Mexico they don’t really always wear swimsuits even so people are wearing like shirts and shorts in the
3 (45m 57s):
Water. Yeah. So definitely not only select few locations and more in those isolated regions, like I would wager to say Wild Willies that we were talking about just right outside Mammoth, even though it’s popular because it is kind of just like an open area for you to go. Like you could probably do that, but there are families that come. So it’s do you want to do that in front of families and younger kids? I don’t know. But I think that’s another location where you probably could go skinny dipping.
5 (46m 23s):
I will say I would like to try it once.
3 (46m 26s):
There you go. Well you’ve been to Black Beach in San Diego
5 (46m 30s):
And I’ve been to Nude Beach in Florida. There you go. It’s freeing. It’s
3 (46m 34s):
Liberating. Sun’s out, buns out. So what, what’s the saying for the Hot Springs in the winter? We can’t think of one. We’ll come up with one. We’ll come up with one. I’m
5 (46m 44s):
Trying to think. Witty on the fly. Yeah.
4 (46m 46s):
The last question we have is from Gavin and he asks, what is a piece of Hot Springs etiquette that no one knows or everyone forgets?
3 (46m 55s):
I was gonna say really good question. I would say, I don’t know if it has to do generally with the Hot Springs, even though I know that’s your question. But as a nature lover, I’m just gonna say it again. What you pack in, pack out, lots of times people leave trash beer cans and then it really destroys the experience for the next people. So even though you would think that’s common etiquette, it’s actually not due to the fact that we have to say this. And even when we go to places like this, you see trash all the time.
4 (47m 20s):
I also feel like if you are going to an area where the Hot Springs are kind of small, there is an etiquette about like how much time you should spend in the pools if there are other people coming. Like if you’ve had your time there, you don’t wanna be the person like hogging all the space all day.
5 (47m 37s):
So yeah. And there’s not like a time limit. No. Or any time we could even say, but it’s just about like letting anybody enjoy it.
4 (47m 44s):
5 (47m 45s):
And being aware because they’re amazing and everyone should get a chance to dip in. All right, squaddies, thank you so much for tuning in with us this week. As always, follow us on Instagram YouTube TikTok at Travel Squad Podcast, and send us in your questions of the week.
3 (48m 1s):
If you found the information this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just playing funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.
4 (48m 16s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.
3 (48m 21s):
Bye everybody. Bye.