From the category archives:

Colca Valley

The Thermal Springs of Peru: Heal Thyself

by admin on October 12, 2008

In August of this year we visited the warm mineral baths in the Colca Valley of Peru, for the second time in our lives. The Thermal Springs of Peru come from deep inside the earth crust, where water is heated by geothermal heat. I found myself once again whispering thanks to the Universe for its abundance as I took in the spacious skies, aware of the thin air of the “altiplano”, and immersed in the soothing warm water. Well, hot actually as it first pours into the pools. The springs this water comes from are usually at temperatures between 97.1 degrees F. and 99.6 degrees F., but can exceed 122 degrees F. When the water emerges, it brings minerals and metals from within the earth with it.

The first time we visited five years ago, with a family of friends, I was deeply aware that I was experiencing something not likely to be repeated. To have made it there again with my sister and her family was just another moment of incredible good fortune.

Since ancient times people have reported that the mineral and metal content of these hot springs can provide spiritual and natural medicinal healing. Everything from calcium, lithium, iron, sulfur, phosphorous, arsenic, and even radium, has been found in the heated waters. Some of the purported medicinal purposes are: arthritis, hepatitis, rheumatism, psoriasis, wound healing, and even some types of cancer. While most of the minerals and metals are dissolved in the water, you can still see some glistening in the water. In the early 1990’s I visited thermal springs en route to Huancayo that were more rustic, located in cave-like structures on the banks of a river and known only to locals. In Colca, the waters are directed to actually cement pools that are surrounded by amenities like locker rooms and showers and they are enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

We stayed at the Casa Andina and enjoyed a lovely dinner and buffet breakfast in the dining room as well as clean, well kept rooms and baths.

You know I’ve been saying here that the Colca Valley is one of the most scenic places to see in the country of Peru. Home to the Colca Canyon that has a depth of 13,100 feet from rim to riverbed, one of the deepest canyons in the world, the Valley is considered to be home of the Andean Condor.

It’s one thing to be told that the Andean Condor is the largest living bird on Earth, and it is an entirely different and amazing sight to see. The main lookout point is 4000 feet above the river below, and from this vantage point at the rim of the Canyon, you have the opportunity to look down on the birds while they are in flight. If you watch long enough you may get the surprise of your life, as some of the Condors have been known to fly just overhead of those spectators that are watching. Some of these amazing creatures have a wingspan of 10 feet and can weigh as much as 35 pounds. To see one floating on the thermal air that rises from the Canyon as it leaves in the morning in search of food is a sight that will take your breath away.

Forgive me for repeating myself: make sure that you visit the Colca Valley during your trip to Peru, you will not be disappointed.