Full thanks must be given to nature for the outdoor spa installations so thoughtfully put aside for those who are willing to seek out its succour. Here in Guatemala at Finca el Paraiso – off the road about halfway between Rio Dulce and El Estor – one can find a large hot spring waterfall and a mud pool where you slather on mineral laden goop.
What makes it such an organic experience is you are left to yourself to soak and treat your skin with the clay-like compound. Sorry, no terry cloth robes or slippers on offer here. You will need a bathing suit though, which is not on offer either.
That Is So Hot!
We were met at the entrance of the finca by an attendant and paid 10Q ( about $1.30 ) to enter the land. A short stroll brings you to the falls where a pristine pool of water awaits at its base. Have a splash around! The water in the pool is not hot, for it is a mixture of cool water from one source and a much smaller source of hot water that flows in from the water fall.
That water has formed some cool deposits on the rocks behind the falls. As you swim up to the cascade you grab hold of the rocks and stand on ledges and let the warm water splash over you. A thermal therapeutic power shower! This is the first spa treatment.
That Wonderful Afterglow
The real star of the show is just above the falls, which can be easily climbed either side of the cascade. At the top you can enjoy the view of the pool below. Behind you now is a very short little path that brings you to the simmering spring. This is where you grab the mud from the bottom of the stream and cover yourself.
Step out of the muddy pit and stand in the sun to dry the mix; it will tingle and tighten. When you are ready just hop back into the hot spring flow and wash off all the mud. It smooths the skin like you would not believe. They pay a fortune for this stuff in Beverly Hills! When you are all done you will feel like a boneless chicken.