Chile Honeymoon -- Day 2: Baños de Colina
When: Friday, October 10th, 2014
Where: Andes Mountains
Weather: 40s and chilly!
On our second day in Chile, Alex and I had the
not so bright
idea to drive up into the Andes to find some hot springs he had read about
online. Reviews of Baños de Colina describe the drive as easy and possible to
do with any kind of car. Let’s just say that I’m really glad that we just so
happened to rent a four wheel drive utility vehicle. Yeesh.
The road out of Santiago turned from urban to rural, then from rural to remote, the pot holes came closer and closer together until the road dropped off entirely and gave way to a gravel path replete with deep muddy puddles, wild horses blocking the way, and enormous coal-hauling trucks streaming by at unspeakable speeds. The directions from online were minimal but according to the cowboy and coal miner I shouted at from the car window, it was simple, just go "straight, straight, straight, higher, higher, higher!"
The terror that was the drive up was all made worth it when we finally got where we where going. We didn’t even realize that we were there when we finally arrived. A gate blocking the roadway almost had us turning back for home, but when I got out and yelled “Hola? Buenas dias!!” in the direction of the only building in the area, a gaucho came out and demanded 8000 pesos. A little bewildered, we paid him the money he asked for, and he presented a very official receipt for our admission into the baths. It didn’t seem it to us, but he was the literal gate keeper to the hot springs. He lifted the gate and on we went.
The baths were amazing. The first one, closest to the spring was boiling hot, so much so, that we had to sit far away from the mouth in order to avoid being burned. The other baths got progressively cooler as they moved down hill. We spent a couple hours soaking in the water and covering ourselves in the mineral-rich mud in order to avoid sunburn. Before we became thoroughly pruned, we pulled ourselves from the pools, loaded back in the car and heading back towards Santiago.
Before we got all the way back down the mountain, we stopped a quaint little restaurant simply called "Rio Vista." We sat overlooking the water and ate our fill on a variety of meat and potatoes. It was still light out when we got back into Santiago, so a stroll through Parque Forestal was perfectly in order to walk off our enormous lunch.