Amid forest-covered hills, where coffee beans grow and cities pulse with life, Colombia is home to healing hot springs. The popular spa destinations of Santa Clara in the coffee hills, Paipa in the mountains and Coconuco, near the historic city of Popayán, are all set around natural hot springs. The hotels in each area use these restorative waters to supply their own private spas. Sound good? Here are the best spots to sample the hot springs of Colombia, bookable on Culture Trip.
This exclusive hotel for couples has just four rooms, so you know the service will be exceptional. You’ll enjoy views of the verdant plantations from the setting high in the coffee hills of the Eje Cafetero. Each room is like your personal spa, with a jetted jacuzzi tub and a private space to sit outside and enjoy the view. It’s 7mi (11km) from the hot springs at Santa Rosa de Cabal, and the hotel’s own spa takes advantage of the healing waters. People visit just to attend the day spa, with its couple’s treatments, facials, Turkish hammam and a hot tub strewn with petals, sure to soothe aching muscles.
Foodies looking to unwind should look no further than Santa Clara Hotel Hacienda. On the outskirts of the hot spring town, this hotel takes full advantage of the healing river water and the locally grown produce of the lush green hills. The restaurant uses home-grown ingredients from the vegetable plot – cooking classes are on offer – and the coffee shop serves nothing but the locally grown beans of the Eje Cafetero. The on-site spa has plenty of local flavor too, with treatments based on ancient rituals of the restorative river and springs.
Gazing out over endless horse-filled fields as you enjoy breakfast on the terrace, you know you’re away from it all here. Set in manicured grounds, this spa hotel enjoys a position on Sochagota Lake, where you can spend the day fishing or embarking on an array of watersports. Work up a sweat on the tennis courts, or cycling the mountain trails that lead from the hotel. It’s all about outdoor activities – until you hit the spa, which is fed by the hot spring waters of Paipa. Indulge in some hydrotherapy treatments, or perhaps a couple’s massage.
You can feel the heritage radiating from the collonaded walkways of this rustic hotel in the heart of Paipa spa town. History was made here in 1819, when it was the meeting place of Generals Bolivar and Soublette after battle. Today, it retains its 19th-century charm. Timber-beamed ceilings and exposed stone columns whisper of the past. The restaurant serves a fusion of Spanish and Creole cuisine in ancient surrounds, while the spa is fed by the waters of Paipa’s hot springs, including an emerald green thermal pool in the beautiful courtyard.
In the historic center of Popayán – known as the White City of Colombia – Hotel Dann Monasterio brims with colonial-era charm. The colonnaded courtyard is like the cloisters of an ancient monastery. Rooms are furnished with tables and chairs that are as ornately carved as church pews; religious reliefs adorn the walls. Reflecting Popayán’s status as a Unesco City of Gastronomy, the restaurant serves local cuisine shaped into fine dining, alongside a long wine list. Visit the Coconuco hot springs, a 45-minute drive away, for a warming dip in the emerald water. Or, stick with the hotel spa and indulge in a Turkish bath, sauna or massage.
Dating to the 18th century, this boutique hotel sits perfectly amid the historic buildings of Popayán’s old center. Rooms are set around the courtyard, with a stone fountain at its heart. Some have a balcony overlooking the street – ideal when the lively Holy Week processions take place. Although there is no spa at the hotel itself, the 24-hour concierge can arrange for trips to Coconuco hot springs for a dip in the thermal pools, a 45-minute drive away.
This is an updated rewrite of an article by Chris Bell.
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Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
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