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Colombia is one of the most beautiful countries that we’ve ever visited. With the incredible jungles, steep mountains, and green EVERYWHERE, every view is jaw-dropping. We were shocked when we went to Santa Rosa Hot Springs (Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal), as they were even more beautiful than the rest of the country. The Santa Rosa Hot Springs are easily the most beautiful hot springs in Colombia and are a must-visit stop on your Colombia travels.
During our 2-month family visit to Colombia, we traveled all over the place, discovering the most beautiful places we could find that was safe and great for visitors to Colombia. From couples to families with kids like ours to single backpackers, we can’t recommend Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal enough. We visited here as a quick side trip on our way to Vale de Cocura and we loved it so much that we ended up staying there for 2 days.
Visiting Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal
Nestled near the base of the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano and several other volcanos and massive mountains, things here feel extra magical. The clouds often cling to the mountains, making the scenery seem rather otherworldly. While driving there on our trip from Medellin, we left the highway and started to wind through the town of Santa Rosa. As we left town, we saw the cloudy hillside ahead of us, and it soon started raining. From what the locals told us, rain is an almost daily occurrence here, which combined with the steep mountains and jungle, feels really incredible. The road quickly turned to dirt, and soon there were little restaurants and shops along the side of the road, a sure sign that we were headed somewhere worth going. Coffee plantations were all over the hills and the green was so vibrant that it almost hurt the eyes. The road got bumpier and windier, leading us to question where we were going…until we saw it. The massive, cascading waterfall tucked back on the hill, just waiting for us to explore it. Things were even more beautiful than the pictures looked.
As you park in the large parking lots, you’ll stroll across the street to the entrance gate. The entrance was quite basic and we started following the path alongside the river. The farther we walked the more beautiful things became. At this point, we were all half in awe by how beautiful things were and then quickly took pictures of everything around us the other half of the time.
The river that you walk up alongside is warm, but not hot like the hot springs. There are several really great places to take photos along the banks of the river and actually in the river itself.
When you get to the pools near the biggest cascade, you’ll and just hang out and admire the view…likely for a LONG TIME! Once you go through the gates of the hot springs building at the top, you’ll see several pools of different shapes, sizes, and temperatures that are perfect for hanging out in. Some of the pools are bathtub warm (like the one that’s designed for little kids), and others are scorching so that you can’t stay in for long at all. Each of the pools has a spout filling it with cool water as well, so if things are getting too hot for your taste, simply move closer to that and the water will cool down.
The pools are naturally heated by geothermally warmed water, and the pools at Santa Rosa Termales are filled with minerals. It’s hard to describe, but the water almost feels like it has a thickness to it. It’s really refreshing and soaking in the pools feels fantastic.
When you’re ready for a change of pace for your body, walk over to the bottom of the cascade, and got for a swim, and dunk yourself under the water. It feels incredible and the cool water is so refreshing after a long soak in these Colombian thermal hot springs. The combination of the cold waterfall and the hot springs nearby feels wonderful to the body and also does wonders at clearing the mind.
We had originally planned on staying that day for just 90 minutes or so but quickly found ourselves there for nearly 4 hours. Thankfully, we had some sunscreen with us, and there was a place where we could buy food. The food was typical Colombian food for the most part and was a good price and quality.
What Is The Best Time To Visit Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal?
The best time to go to the Santa Rosa hot springs in Colombia is first thing in the morning. We arrived at 7 am on a Friday morning and had the place nearly all to ourselves. By 11 am, the pools were starting to fill up with other people and there was a pretty steady flow of people walking up the trail towards the hot springs. If you’re looking to get pictures at Santa Rosa Termales without a lot of other people in them, you need to be there early in the morning.
Price to Enter Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal Hot Springs in Colombia
The price to enter Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal was $41.000 pesos per person (just under $10 USD). Kids under 120cm were free. While this felt expensive compared with the price of most things in Colombia, when we compared it to the price of other hot springs around the world, like the famous hot springs in La Fortuna Costa Rica, these are incredibly affordable.
Hotel at Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal
If you’re making the long journey out to the hot springs, you might as well just stay there as well. About 1.2 km farther down the road is the Termales Santa Rosa Hotel which also has its own set of hot springs pools. We stayed there and it was FANTASTIC! In fact, if we had not known how incredible the setting was with the waterfall down the road, we would have been thrilled to just enjoy the hot springs here.
The hotel at Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal is tucked against the mountain with a rushing river right next to it. It’s a beautiful mix of jungle and mountains and we loved our stay there.
At the hotel, there are 4 hot springs pools that are exclusively for guests. We loved soaking in them and it was so convenient to have them right outside of our hotel. We got a lot more hot spring time in here because we could just walk outside any time that we wanted to and go for a soak. We especially loved the pool with the natural waterfall next to it that was FREEZING COLD, since it felt so wonderful to transition from there to the hot springs and back again.
There are tons of options for rooms and were in the Superior Family Room which sleeps 8 and has lots of space. There is an on-site restaurant where the food is fine, but prices are slightly higher than at the hot springs down the road. This is the best place to stay for visiting the Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal in Colombia.
How to Get to Termales Santa Rosa
Santa Rosa Termales, also known as Santa Rosa de Cabal Thermal Springs, is located near the town of Santa Rosa de Cabal in the Risaralda Department of Colombia. It’s in a more remote area, but you can easily get there by bus or by a small national flight to a nearby airport. Here are the general steps to get to Santa Rosa Termales:
- Fly into Colombia: Most international travelers will fly into Bogotá or Medellín. Both cities have international airports – El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá and José María Córdova International Airport in Medellín.
- Domestic flight or bus to Pereira: From either Bogotá or Medellín, you can take a domestic flight to Matecaña International Airport in Pereira, which is the closest city to Santa Rosa de Cabal. Alternatively, you can take a bus from Bogotá or Medellín to Pereira, but keep in mind this will take considerably longer.
- Bus to Santa Rosa de Cabal: From Pereira, you can take a local bus or taxi to the town of Santa Rosa de Cabal. The bus station in Pereira is located in the center of the city, and buses run frequently between Pereira and Santa Rosa de Cabal.
- Bus or taxi to the Thermal Springs: Once you’re in Santa Rosa de Cabal, you can take a local bus or taxi to the thermal springs. It’s approximately a 10 km journey, which takes around 20-30 minutes by car.
You can also very easily drive to Santa Rosa Termales from either Medellin or Bogota. This is what we did and the scenery was AMAZING! There are lots of tolls on the highways near there, so make sure to have plenty of small bills on hand (most tolls were $12.000-$17.000 pesos). Having a car makes it really easy to get around and explore the area more than you could by bus or with just a taxi.
Do I need A Reservation To Go To Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal?
No, you do not need a reservation or to purchase advance tickets. When we went in May of 2023, we had neither and had no problems getting in.
What Time does Termales Santa Rosa de Cabal Open?
The hot springs open at 6:30 am and close at 11:30 pm. While the tickets on their website have designated time slots that you can stay, we bought out tickets directly at the front desk and we stayed well after what was supposed to be our designated time slot and no one ever said anything to us. This appears to be a remnant of a C-times protocol that wasn’t updated on their website.