Hot Springs in Puerto Vallarta
We’ve been shanghaied on some wonderful trips in Puerto Vallarta but one of our all-time, oft-repeated favorites has been the hot springs on the way to Las Palmas. Over the years we’ve been informed of other hot springs on the coast but not as easy to get to, usually requiring hiking and boat rides. The hot springs by Las Palmas are less than an hour from Puerto Vallarta and you can drive straight to them with a (sturdy) car.
The first time we took this excursion from Puerto Vallarta, we had a vague idea of where we were going and stopped to ask questions several times. Everyone was helpful, of course, as they always are in Puerto Vallarta but they don’t always give the correct information and we have found, when in doubt, we ask every single person we encounter.
We had a very determined person in our group on our initial journey; she’d heard about healing properties of these warm waters and was suffering from ailments that doctors had dismissed. With purpose and resolve, no map and a lot of laughs, we struck out with typical adventurous motivation.
We turned off the main highway (200) at Ixtapa/Las Juntas and followed signs that led to the Carretera a Las Palmas (Highway to Las Palmas). This is Route 544, which is now the course we take to Guadalajara, considerably improved over the years. We passed the university, which at that time was in the early process of construction, and followed the road, taking a sharp left to head inland and across the Rio Mascota. The main task has always been to find the metal, rusted sign on the left side of the road that says HOTSPRING. (If you arrive at Las Palmas, you’ve gone too far.) Once you’ve turned off the main highway, there are a couple forks but our advice is to stay left. The road is bumpy, at best, full of hills and valleys. There was a large pasture that held a small herd of beautiful white Brahmas but relying on transient animals is not the greatest landmark. Amazingly, over the years, the hot springs has been there; subtle changes more ubiquitous than anything. The snack bar, which had great botanas lasted a short time; colorful chickens in elaborate cages disappeared; buildings have been abandoned and reoccupied. Someone is usually present to collect admission at the gate of the hot springs with their distinct sulfur odor. There are varying degrees of heat in the seven concrete pools… warm to lobster-boiling-hot. Whether the waters are healing or curative is debatable but it’s a lovely trek, visited by tourists and locals alike.
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article! (opionons expressed are his own)
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