Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Republica del Ecuador: Thermal Hot Springs

Roughly two hours east from Quito, up at 10,800 feet in the Andes, lies the town of Papallacta.  The bumpy dirt road just skirted by the town and minutes north was a gorgeous hot springs resort and spa called Thermas Papallacta.

I'd never seen a place like this before.  Pools fed by fresh thermal water were EVERYWHERE.  The mountains around were so close and seemed to just shoot straight up from the little high valley where the resort rested.

Our room with the closest pool being...oh...10 feet away?
View from our room.  Check out those Andean mountain tops!
We checked in and then the boys took off.  Leni, his dad, and his brother were decked out for a 3 day backpacking trip.  It was Tuesday and they were going to drive back out on the road we came in on and then hike back through the mountains to Thermas Papallacta, returning some time on Thursday.

Staying at the resort, Leni's mom, Karisse, and I lived it up!  We'd wake up around 8 or 8:30 and meander down to the restaurant for breakfast around 9ish.  After breakfast, we'd sit in the thermal pools and solve the world's problems for about two hours.  No need to really shower after sitting in the's the same water coming out of the showerhead!  After lunch, it would be time to rest.  Sometimes a book, sometimes a nap, sometimes both.  On Wednesday, we wondered down to the spa and hooked ourselves up with massages.  It was the most luxurious thing I have ever afforded myself.  Words cannot describe how wonderful we felt after that hour was over.  The afternoon brought another couple hours in the water and then we'd wonder back down to the restaurant at about 6pm.  They actually didn't serve dinner until 7 so we'd order a glass of wine and sit by a fireplace and watch whatever was on the huge flatscreen TV at the bar.

Speaking of food, we definitely ate DECADENTLY at that restaurant!

In the afternoon on Thursday, the boys came sloshing into town.  They were soaking wet.  The place where they were hiking, the paramo, is basically a rain forest at 14,000 feet and higher.  It gets 400+ inches of rain a year and there is NO way to stay dry.  But don't feel sorry for these guys!  They've done it many times before and knew 100% what they were getting into.

After the return of the guys, we stayed one more full day so that they could enjoy the resort as well.  A few hours before they arrived, Karisse and I had taken a hike on a loop trail behind Thermas Papallacta, so we just had to show it to the guys.  It was so green and lush.

The entrance to the trail

One of many waterfalls.  I desperately wanted a vine to swing on across the scene.

Found some llamas
Thermas Papallacta was a gorgeous place and I'm so glad we got to go up and see it and spend so much time there.  It was nice to be pampered in so many ways.  But Saturday came quickly and it was time to pack up and leave to prepare for the next destination: the coast!

Check back from the last installment of the 3-blog series coming soon.

Keep It Real!

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