Addicted to that “beginning of time” feeling? Can’t get enough of sulphur’s rotten-egg smell? What follows is a list of areas around the world where you can still experience primordial earth goo by morning and be relaxing in a hot spring the same day.
10. El Tatio, Chile
The Tatio Geysers are found on the Andes Mountains. Setting them apart from the rest of the list is that they are at the highest altitude out of all the hotspots mentioned (although the Puchuldiza Geyser Field, also in Chile, is even higher up). At 4,200 meters up, El Tatio sports an impressive display of eighty plus geysers, making it the third largest geyser field in the world. Having numerous geysers in a relatively tight area means that none of them erupt with an excessive amount of force. Instead, they shoot only a handful of meters high, tops. The field is hazardous, though, since thin layers of dried crust can conceal boiling mud. A guide is highly recommended. Like many of the geothermal sites in the world, El Tatio has been a point of contention between those who would harness it for power and those who rely on the field for its touristic value.
9. The Great Rift, Kenya
Africa is a continent blessed with a plethora of geographical distinctions. There are many geothermal spots throughout, but The Great Rift in Kenya is one of the most impressive. This area provides utilitarian and pleasurable uses. It provides geothermal energy for the country and relaxation for travelers frequenting the resorts in the area. The Great Rift Valley Lodge is an ideal location for golfers to play a few rounds then explore the nearby bush and geothermal features via safari. If you are looking for other places to visit, the rift itself is a part of the East African Rift, which runs up the east coast of Africa. It is in Kenya, though, that perhaps The Great Rift exhibits its largest presence in everyday life.
8. Tuscany, Italy
Tuscany is the site where the first ever geothermal power plant was built (in “Devil’s Valley”). Early Romans used geothermal heated water for many uses including the warming of their houses and for public baths. Modern Italians have made similar use of this resource, running geothermal water to places such as hotels and medical centers. However, there remain many unaltered spots available to locals and informed travelers, such the Saturnia Springs. Rolling green hills are scattered in the area that once fed Rome and continues to grow food for Italians today. With ancient places such as Florence and Pisa to visit, Tuscany is a great place for history buffs to explore while taking time out to soak away their travel aches.
7. Beppu, Japan
Beppu is the second listing from Japan. What makes it distinct from the others on this list is that it is a thriving metropolis. Beppu is a city that encompasses eight (yes, eight) different zones of hot springs. Beppu’s city streets offer little clue as to the geothermal underground, but the mix of urbanity and nature makes for some special architectural designs. Numerous onsen steam bath and spas dot the city scape. From straw huts on the outskirts to modern buildings with a traditional twist, these hot springs are housed in many distinct structures. In Beppu, travelers get a mix of true Japanese culture (both urban and traditional) with geothermal curiosities and relaxation.
6. Camiguin Island, Philippines
The Philippines itself is probably small enough to warrant its own geothermic region, and it is a country that is surprisingly riddled with geothermal hot springs. However, there is one particular island off its coast that offers hot spring relaxation in an unspoiled setting. All it takes is a flight from the Manila Airport and you can be landing on the island of Camiguin. This jungle island paradise has a vast array of places for pleasure soakers to seek relaxation. The Tangub Hot Spring is a little off shore and a great place to view sea-life in the comfort of warmed waters. Other hot springs mixing with waterfalls makes for adventurous treks while world class resorts provide the comforts of civilization. The island is equally renowned for its cold springs that make for a cool alternative to the tropic atmosphere.