There’s nothing quite like taking a break from the strain of every day life for a little R & R.
After a few weeks of braving the Bolivian altitude, I decided to book a relaxing day tour to the lovely Urmiri hot springs through the Gloria Hotel. I figured that this particular hotel would be reliable since they have several locations throughout Bolivia.
The Urmiri hot springs are about a three hour drive from La Paz and among many other things, they are also very well known for their therapeutic qualities.
Wedged deep in the mountains of a beautiful canyon, three fresh hot springs bubble up into two pools. The waters flow with a mixture of magnesium, sulfur, limestone, iron, and form a gentle hot (72°F) waterfall that pours it’s way into a lovely swimming hole. Located deep within the mountains, inside a beautiful canyon, this magical oasis is tucked away from the world and sheltered from the altiplano winds.
The only connection between the Urmiri hot-springs and the rest of the world is a very narrow dirt road sandwiched between a vertical wall and a steep cliff.
On the day of my trip I arrived at the hotel 15 minutes early only to find out that the tour bus had left without me. The concierge told me to wait there and he would see what he could do for me.
Thirty minutes later I was told that a cab would collect me and drive me to meet the bus that was waiting for me.
Finally, I exited my cab and climbed into the small bus. The only available seat was in the front, between the driver and the passenger next to me. To my great disappointment there wasn’t enough room for my legs to fit in front of me, so, I painfully positioned them diagonally from the rest of my body – ouch! 🙁
After three rocky hours of bouncing through some of the most beautiful Andean mountain sceneries I have ever seen, we arrived at the last stretch of the journey – a steep, narrow road deep into the canyon that is home to these magical hot springs.
The road was incredibly uneven and frighteningly exposed to the edge of the steep drop below us. I silently prayed to myself that we wouldn’t meet a truck traveling in the opposite direction. There simply was not enough room for two lanes on this tiny dirt road.
Slowly and carefully our small bus clanked it’s way over a seemingly ancient bridge and through a narrow tunnel that is carved into the mountain side.
Finally, we arrived!
Tune in next time for part two of this fantastic story!