When you’re in or around La Antigua Guatemala, finding non-drinking activities can be hard after a while. Especially if you’re on a tight budget. If you like swimming or just splashing around in the water, odds are that you’ve heard of or have been to El Pilar in San Cristobal el Bajo at some point. The place is cool and all, but what if we told you that there are some nearby hot springs you can also go to?
Now, take the term “Hot Springs” with a grain of salt because, at 33ºC (91.4ºF), their main “hot pool” is lukewarm at best. At any rate, if you’re looking for a different experience or a cool place to go chill, by all means head to El Balneario de Aguas Calientes y Afrodisíacas (literally, “Spa of hot and aphrodisiac waters”, no joke).
The Balneario is located in San Lorenzo El Tejar Pastores, better known as “Pastores” or “that one place where you go get some kick-ass custom-made leather boots at a sweet price”. The town’s just 6 kilometers north of Antigua. If you’re going by car or camioneta, it’s on the way up to Chimaltenango on the “new road”. It’s roughly a 20 minute drive from Antigua. There’s a small billboard that says “Balneario Aguas Calientes” and it has a stencil of a red mermaid on it.
The spot has fresh turquoise waters and it features a trail that leads to a hill with a panoramic view of the volcanos. The entrance fees are Q.10 for adults and Q.5 for children. For an additional Q.25, you can rent a small private pool right next to a sweet kitsch mural of a tropical sunset. The place has ample parking and huts with grills and swings, so you can have a nice cookout with your friends.
Oh, wait… you didn’t bring any food, you say? No worries! There are plenty of stores near the entrance where you can buy some.
Also, during the hot days of Holy Week, a small dam is used in the premises to create a different pool filled with cold mountain water. That way you can cool off after hanging out in the hot springs. Again, life is better shared, so be sure to bring your friends to set up the grill and have an awesome time.
Balneario de Aguas Calientes y Afrodisíacas is a small, nice and very clean getaway. Just remember: stay away from the geese that you might find there because those motherfuckers are evil and they will fuck you up.
UPDATE: Sept 8-2016
According to comvite readers it has come to our attention that the pools have lower water and that there’s no more hot water. The reporting of the story was done in May 2016.