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Termales Santa Mónica Choachí Colombia day trip Bogotá

Thermal baths Santa Mónica in Choachí | A relaxing day trip from Bogotá

by Sabine
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Colombia is bursting with thermal pools set in beautiful nature. One of the most famous thermal baths can be found just 1.5 hours away from Bogotá, namely Termales Santa Mónica in Choachí. A well-known place among Bogotans to spend the weekend. But this is also a good place for travelers to end their round trip or escape the cold in Bogotá, for example. By the way, you can perfectly combine these thermal pools with a visit to the highest waterfall in Colombia, as we did. In this article you will read all about Termales de Choachí and I will tell you how to combine it with a hike to the waterfall La Chorrera. Includes all the practical tips.


Termales Santa Mónica in Choachí


The hot springs in Choachí, also called Termales de Choachí, are a perfect day trip from Bogotá to enjoy the heat, fresh air and relaxation. In addition, these thermal pools are located in a beautiful green setting among the mountains. Because of its lower elevation than Bogotá, it is also immediately a lot warmer, quite nice after chilly Bogotá.

The thermal baths

The water in the thermal baths comes from a hot spring and has a high mineral content. Which minerals are in the baths is indicated for each bath. Because of the minerals, the water smells a little. The water from the hot spring is 80°C hot and is distributed to several baths with a temperature between 30 and 38 degrees Celsius. There are exclusive baths for guests of the hotel and public baths for everyone. These consist of large pools, smaller pools for children, Jacuzzis and small hot tubs.

Sauna, steam room and spa

There are also saunas and Turkish steam baths. These are always open, but on weekdays only 1 sauna and 1 steam bath. The steam room is a bit higher up and is heated by the thermal spring below. Because of this, it smells very much like sulfur and is great for relaxing for a while. The view of the mountains and the thermal pools is beautiful. There is also a separate Spa area with a waterfall and a separate area for massages, among other things. This was closed during our visit, but looks very nice in the photos. More information about the Spa here.

Other facilities

Termales Santa Mónica also has a restaurant and bar where you can eat. You will find plenty of changing rooms, lockers, (cold) showers and deck chairs. Although I can so imagine that the latter fill up quickly on weekends.

More information can be found on the website.

 


Combine Termales Santa Mónica with a hike to Colombia’s highest waterfall: La Chorrera


Since you undoubtedly don’t get to Choachí every day, it’s a good idea to combine the beautiful waterfall and the hot thermal pools. You can read all about Colombia’s highest waterfall, called La Chorrera, here. How do you divide your day if you want to visit both?

How much time do you need for the thermal baths?

To enjoy everything the thermal baths have to offer, you need about 3 hours. It can, of course, be done in less (or more) time, depending on what your own requirements are. The thermal pools are open until 6PM, except on Fridays, when you can lie in the pools until 12AM. The saunas close at 4PM. So if you want to be in the thermal baths for a few hours, you have to be there around 3 o’clock at the latest. If you want more time, plan to arrive earlier.

How much time does the hike to the falls take?

It is ideal to rest at Termales Santa Mónica after the hike to La Chorrera. But you will only manage this if you leave very early from Bogotá. Depends on whether you travel by bus or your own transportation. By bus, you first spend 1.5 hours on the trail leading to the entrance of the waterfall. From there you still have to walk about 50 minutes to that entrance and then the circular hike along the falls also takes about 3 hours. Unless you skip parts of the route (see article on the waterfall). Then you have to walk back to the main road for another 50 minutes to catch the bus towards the thermal baths. So in total, you will be on the road for the waterfall (if you travel by bus) for about 6.5 hours.

How do you combine Termales de Choachí with Colombia’s highest waterfall?

Now that you know approximately how much time you will spend on both visits, you also know that you need to leave Bogotá very early if you are traveling by bus. By the way, you can read exactly how to get there under ‘Practical’. The bus to Choachí leaves Bogotá from 5:15AM about every 15 minutes. Thus, if you leave around 6AM (or earlier) you will have plenty of time to visit both the thermal pools and the waterfall. If you leave around 9 a.m., it’s better to choose one of the two.

Have you rented a car for your trip through Colombia? Then you can take it all a little easier. We ourselves came by car from Sopó, which is also about 1.5 hours away, and had plenty of time for both the waterfall and the thermal pools. We began the hike to the waterfall at about 9:30AM.

Lodging in Termales Santa Mónica

Of course, you can also spend a night in Choachí. Or even spend the night in the thermal baths. In fact, Termales Santa Mónica also has a hotel from where you can enjoy the thermal pools, saunas, Turkish bath and massages all day long. Click here for more information about the hotel.

 


Brief review: are the Termales Santa Mónica in Choachí worth it?


Jimmy and I loved the combination with the waterfall. But just that whole drive for the thermal baths I wouldn’t have wanted to do. Now this is also a personal preference: neither of us very much like doing nothing all day in a pool and lying on a chair. But for a few hours, it was wonderful!

What are the massages like?

We booked an additional massage on the spot, which was not given in the beautiful spa area, as it is only open on weekends. The massage was okay, nothing more. It was in a cold and chilly room and was done rather heavy-handedly. Jimmy had the same experience. If you really want a fantastic spa and massage do a day of wellness in Bogotá. Maybe we were just unlucky with the massage and other options are better, of course, that’s possible. By the way, the costs and options for various spa treatments and massages can be found here.

Plus points

  • Many baths to choose from
  • Truly wonderful hot water
  • Many cold showers in a nice place in a kind of cave
  • An extraordinary natural Turkish steam bath
  • Nice climate and beautiful surroundings

Negatives

  • Large crowds on weekends/during puentes
  • Many closed during the week and fewer amenities available
  • Massage was not to write home about
  • Not total tranquility, for example, a soccer game was loudly on

All in all, I thought it was well worth a few hours. It was great to rest in the warm water and especially nice to walk in bikini for a while so close to our cold home. However, I would not book a massage here next time 🙂

 


Visit Termales de Choachí | Practical


When is it best to visit these thermal baths and when is it best not to?

As mentioned, these thermal pools are hugely popular among Bogotans. On weekends and during puentes and vacations , therefore, the place is full and crowded. Want to enjoy the thermal pools, saunas and steam baths in peace without having to share them with hundreds of others? Then come during the week and avoid weekends and puentes.

Costs and opening hours

Facilities, costs and hours of operation vary by day:

Mondays (no holidays!)

What is open?

1 Public swimming pool
1 Swimming pool for children
1 Jacuzzi
1 Sauna

Opening hours

Pools and thermal pools: 8AM – 6PM
Jacuzzi: 8AM – 6PM
Sauna: 10AM – 12PM and 2PM – 4PM

Prices

Children from 2 to 10 years old: 17,000 pesos
Adults: 21,000 pesos

 

Tuesday to Saturday

What is open?

1 Large pool
1 Romanesque bath
1 Swimming pool for children
2 Jacuzzis
2 Saunas
1 Turkish bath

Opening hours

Pools and thermal pools: 8AM – 6PM
Jacuzzi: 8AM – 6PM
Sauna: 10AM – 12PM and 2PM – 4PM
Turkish bath: 8AM – 6PM

Prices

Children from 2 to 10 years old: 19,000 pesos
Adults: 26,000 pesos

 

Sunday and holidays

What is open?

2 Public swimming pools
1 Large pool
1 Romanesque bath
2 Swimming pools for children
3 Jacuzzis
3 Saunas
2 Turkish steam baths

Opening hours

Pools and thermal pools: 8AM – 6PM
Jacuzzis: 8AM – 6PM
Sauna at the thermal pools: 8AM – 5PM
Sauna at the spa: 9AM – 4PM
Turkish bath at the conference area: 8AM – 5PM
Turkish bath at the spa: 8AM – 6PM

Prices

Children from 2 to 10 years old: 26,000 pesos
Adults: 36,000 pesos

 

Friday night

What is open?

1 Public swimming pool
1 Swimming pool for children

Opening hours

Pools: 6:30PM – 12PM

Prices

Children from 2 to 10 years old: 14,000 pesos
Adults: 16,000 pesos

 

Saturday Night Spa

What is open?

1 Large pool
1 Turkish bath

Opening hours

Pool: 6:30PM – 12PM
Turkish bath: 6:30PM – 12PM

Prices

Children from 2 to 10 years old: 19,000 pesos
Adults: 26,000 pesos

Learn more about the baths and other spa amenities here.

 

To consider

In Colombia, it is mandatory to wear a swim cap in swimming pools. You can get/buy these in Santa Mónica. It is also mandatory to wear swimwear in thermal pools as well as saunas and steam rooms. There are plenty of changing cubicles where you can change and lockers where you can safely put your belongings.

Even though you can find these thermal baths just a 1.5-hour drive from Bogotá, the climate here is considerably warmer. Especially during the day. It cools off quickly in the evening, so bring something warm to wear.

Bring your swimwear and your flip-flops (in Colombia no one walks barefoot in this type of facilities), a towel, sunscreen, something against mosquitoes, your sunglasses and a swim cap if you have one. You can pay the entrance fee by cash, pin and credit card.

How do you get to the hot springs in Choachí?

Did you rent a car? Then type Termales Santa Mónica Choachí on your navigation and drive.

If you come by bus go first to Terminal Transoriente in Bogotá, from there there are buses going to Choachí every 15 minutes. This station near La Candelaria, in a not too good neighborhood, but next to a police station. You can easily walk it, but be careful not to show valuables (including your phone) and memorize the route. It makes a difference that there is a police station around the corner, but the park you pass isn’t safe either. So don’t stop, it’s not a place to just sit and look around.

Safer is to catch a cab or bus to this station. Not staying in La Candelaria or don’t want to take the risk? You can use the transmilenio to Tercer Milenio, there it is around the corner.

 

Once at this bus station look for the bus to Choachí. Two buses go there frequently: Transoriente and Cootransfómeque. Once in Choachí, continue by cab or minibus. If you go by cab, you can ask for the driver’s phone number to call for the return trip. So it is very easy to get there by bus!

What time do you leave Bogotá?

Coming to Choachí just for the thermal baths and don’t want to see the waterfalls? Then it’s fine to leave during the morning. Would you also like to hike to the highest waterfall in Colombia? Then read the description above in this article. Learn more about the falls here.

 


Escape the cold of Bogotá or a relaxing end to your trip through Colombia? Go relax and enjoy the heat in the thermal pools of Choachí! Do you ever go to a thermal spa?


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