The World’s Top Five Natural Baths
A volcano gave birth to the picturesque Santorini archipelago off the coast of mainland Greece in the area that, as legend has it, was the location of lost Atlantis. Here the surface waters have curative properties and, since the volcano hasn’t seen any real action since 1950, swimmers can relax and indulge directly in the warm waters heated by its core or roll around in a pleasant mud bath.
Geologists believe that the water around the islands has more highly concentrated levels of iron and manganese, and that the waters closer to the active core have high levels of sulphur dioxide; all these lovely minerals are known to do wonders for the skin and help with rheumatism, arthritis and other aches.
High Altitude Hot Springs of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Many tours to the surreal landscapes of the Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia land ultimately at a geyser basin of hot springs that are best enjoyed in the early morning air. The geothermal activity under the surface of Uyuni creates all sorts of wonders for travellers to explore. Sol de Manana is a cluster of boiling mud pools where geyser pressures spurt up to three metres. Extinct volcanoes, such as the Nevado Sajama and the Licancabur Volcano, rise along the horizon. At the foot of the Licancabur Volcano is Laguna Verde, a green lake coloured by arsenic, lead, copper and other heavy metals.
Thermal Baths of Antsirabe, Madagascar
After venturing out to explore Madagascar’s outstanding biological diversity, head to the central city of Antsirabe to relax in one of its many medicinal hot springs. Guests staying in the Hotel de Thermes can take advantage of an on-site thermal bath that comes out at a steaming 52°C at a depth of 22 metres, but reaches just the right temperature at the surface. There is also a naturally heated indoor swimming pool. Many of these springs have been in use since the 19th century, when Norwegian missionaries came and named Antsirabe, which means “the place of much salt”.
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