Uruguay is one of South America’s hidden gems. Often flying under the radar of international tourists, the country offers pristine beaches, thriving commercial centers, and authentic traditional towns to those who visit.
Mostly located in the northwest of the country close to the Uruguay River and the Argentinian border, you’ll find several hot springs and mineral bathing resorts in Uruguay.
Hot springs in Uruguay range from adults-only relaxation centers to family-friendly resorts complete with restaurants and tennis courts and are known as termas in Spanish. You can find both natural hot springs in rustic settings, as well as those that are located in more lavish and refined environments.
The number of hot springs along the river has led to the tradition of tourists embarking on “hot spring hopping” adventures in Uruguay, traveling from resort to resort in search of healing mineral waters and a relaxing experience.
Origins of Hot Springs in Uruguay
The abundance of hot springs in north-western Uruguay stems from the subterranean Guaraní Aquifer, which is one of the world’s largest groundwater reservoirs. This underground water system has also given rise to hot springs in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay.
Since the beginning of recorded history, the Uruguayan hot springs have been sought out for their high levels of mineral salts and have historically been used for immersion baths as well as health drinks (via Welcome Uruguay).
Traditionally, the local water has been marketed for its stomach sedative and diuretic properties under the banner of health tourism.
Some Popular Hot Springs in Uruguay
Situated in Punta Ballena, the Alive Health Spa Resort is home to an outdoor pool where guests can soak in mineral-rich hot spring water.
While many spas in Uruguay are family-friendly, Alive Health only permits guests who are 17 years old and above. However, this makes it a good option for those interested in a deeply relaxing experience marked by quiet and tranquility.
Besides the hot spring pool, guests can enjoy a restaurant and bar on the grounds, as well as a complimentary breakfast buffet, and an 18-hole golf course.
If you’re looking for saltwater hot springs, then Termas de Almiron is the answer. Featuring three pools with differing depths, the hot springs are abundant in minerals such as magnesium, calcium, chloride, and sulfate, and are coveted for their healing powers.
Along with the three hot spring pools, which are generally heated to 42 degrees Celsius (107 degrees Fahrenheit), Termas de Almiron is home to one cold-water pool and one indoor pool.
Also known as Arapey Thermal Resort & Spa, Termas del Arapey is Uruguay’s northernmost thermal bathing facility.
The spa, which is nestled in the scenic countryside, offers several amenities beyond the healing properties of the hot spring waters, including an on-site bar and restaurant.
The water at the resort is sought after by locals for its natural health benefits. It is generally at a temperature of 39 degrees Celsius (102 degrees Fahrenheit).
The property is set on a wide acreage with horseback riding trails and tennis courts, which guests of the resort are able to use. In terms of accommodation, there’s a range of options available, including four and five-star hotels, and a network of bungalows and motels.
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Termas de Guaviyú is a swimming complex in the town of Departamento de Paysandú that features hot spring water in its various pools. The variety of pools caters to the comfort levels of people from all walks of life, whether you prefer a cooler soak or a steamy one.
The pools on the property, which is open year round, are located both indoors and outdoors. Guests are permitted to book a campsite on the grounds, which will give them access to amenities such as barbecues.
You will find Termas del Daymán less than four miles to the south of the city of Salto, in a region known for its fresh produce and agriculture as well as its hot springs. According to Pasaporte Uruguay, Termas del Daymán is the country’s most popular hot spring resort.
Guests can stay overnight or longer at the resort, which offers accommodation for up to 3,000 guests and no less than 12 thermally heated swimming pools. There are also sports facilities, rest areas, and an aquatic park on site.
The temperatures of the pools vary between 27 degrees Celsius (82 degrees Fahrenheit) and 48 degrees Celsius (116 degrees Fahrenheit).