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Chumulca spa3.jpg (52737 bytes)Healing waters of a Thermal Spa  

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      When we  met some RVers at the market in Lake Chapala south of Guadalajara, Mexico who told us they were camped next to a thermal spa and I just had to investigate.  We both love our RV lifestyle but John misses his big screen TV and I haven't figured out how to have a hot tub on board ready to climb in.  The only thing I really miss by living in an RV is my bathtub.

These RVers must have thought I was obsessed because I kept asking more and more questions. Soon after, we visited their park just outside of the small village of Villa Corona. When I saw their incredible campground/water theme park complex, a most sensational feeling Chumulca spa5.jpg (39330 bytes)engulfed me. Taking a swim in the beneficial 'silky' therapeutic water of a Mexican 'Balneario' (Thermal Health Spa) suggested an incomparable experience.  It was easy to imagine the pleasure of warm spa waters swirling around me, I knew camping in this complex could become an ultimate period of relaxation. We also found a second campground/thermal spa facilities in the city of Villa Corona, state of Jalisco. Both were located 50km south of Guadalajara on Highway 80 and within an hours drive of Lake Chapala which means extensive shopping is close at hand.  

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       These expansive entertaining parks not only include thermal spas and private enclosed pools, they are also the home of every imaginable waterChumulca spa.jpg (48640 bytes) related amusement amenity.  Such attractions as colossal water slides, wave pools, ancient ships to explore, lazy river rides, water volleyball, children's playground, and  much more helps to entertain every family member. Non camping visitors can rent hotel rooms or bungalows on site. The parks decorative gardens and vast parklands contribute a tranquil flavour to the spa - especially during non busy times, Both campgrounds routinely provide a specific thermal pool solely for use of park members. Each evening the staff refills one pool with fresh thermal water especially for campground clients and overnight guests.

         Following highway 80 through Villa Corona, the first Spa we came to was  'Chimulco'. Several Olympic sized thermal pools in this Balneario nestle among abundant artistic flower gardens. Giant trees shade the vast picnic area alongside the lake.  This is such a spacious location for the entire family to enjoy a fun filled day enjoying the outdoors. Rental bungalows include kitchen conveniences and all services, however an appetizing,  inexpensive menu at the snackbar can provide lunch for those without a picnic basket.  

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       Balneario Chimulco not only invites day visitors to use the theme park amenities...cost is reasonable, the economical overnight camping Chumulca spa4.jpg (41294 bytes)rate and low charges for hotel rooms or bungalows encourages vacationers to extend their holiday. Guest have 'free' use of most spa facilities. This park has mainly transient RV clientele, although a number of Canadians and Americans call Chimulco their winter home. RVers spending time in such an extraordinary place think they found heaven. Chimulco's full service trailer park has 50 generous sites, 3 way hookups, potable water and a good source of power. A club house, park activity schedules, satellite TV, and much more helps to keep RVers busy. The  reasonable daily rate of the campground, decreases up to 30% for month extended stays.

      The other spa near Villa Corona is 'Aqua Caliente'.  This park boasts of an additional adventure section -- one with immense water slides andAgua Caliente.jpg (58692 bytes) exciting toboggan  rides.  Of course it also offers all the spa amenities mentioned above.  

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      Agua Caliente Balneario provides a full service 62 site campground with a variety of amenities including a coin laundromat as part of their amenities.  Many park residents at Agua Caliente are families from Guadalajara who rent a site for the season. They leave their trailers there all year and visit to relax and enjoy spa life whenever work commitments allow.     

      At Agua Caliente, overnight guests and trailer park patrons have the use of all main pools and facilities as part of their rental rate. Day visitors pay a basic fee for use of these Olympic size thermal pools including the wave pool and many facilities. However all customers must pay an extra charge to use the Toboggan Park. In this spa too, aesthetic surroundings enhance the tasteful grounds throughout the complex.

       Absolutely nothing comes close to the sensation of the medicinal hot smooth waters of the thermal spas massaging your body.  Of course here, as in most thermal spas, enclosed private pools are available by the hour - costs are reasonable for a minimum of three to five hours.

 While we were investigating these special campgrounds, we also discovered other spas in the Lake Chapala area. Each one we visited was unique in layout.  Most had one main gigantic swimming pool of warm medicinal thermal water alongside several other immense pools containing water of varying temperatures...the warmest -- approximately 104oF.  

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Mexico has numerous spas throughout the country. As we've seen, some combine camping facilities with their many amenities. The majority of pools contain natural untreated warm water which spouts from deep Chumulca spa2.jpg (44187 bytes)underground. No chlorine or chemicals are necessary to purify or cleanse these baths. Management drains and refills each one depending on usage; changes may occur daily or at regular hygienic intervals.  

Frequently the medical profession suggest a swim or relaxation therapy in a thermal spa to ease symptoms of arthritis, rheumatism, stress, fatigue, and sleeplessness. Persons recovering from fractures and certain operations discover the elevated spa temperatures helps to increase mobility. Balneario personnel skilled in massage and physiotherapy adds to client satisfaction.

     'Motel Balneario' in San Juan Cosala sits alongside picturesque Lake Chapala beneath a mystical mountain. It's a mere 60 km south of Guadalajara and 20 km west of Chapala en route to Jocotepec. This quaint Balneario and Motel complex has  several large pools and jacuzzi's. Each one is kept at varying degrees from extremely warm to invigorating cool. There are no campsites here but comfortable motel rooms and apartments nestle amidst a variety of fragrant colourful flowers. The bathroom of each suite includes thermal running water for your private bath. If this tub is not luxurious enough, residents can rent a large private enclosed Thermal Hot Tub by the hour...for a complete relaxation experience; ask a friend to join you.  

      Both public and private pools at Hotel Balneario in San Juan Cosala are open to overnight guests and to those enjoying extended vacations.  This spa  also encourages day visitors to partake in the Balneario facilities - for a low fee of course. Children too are welcome at this facility. A comprehensive playground area provides amusement for younger family members.

      The hotel's full service restaurant offers nutritious meals for guests who wish to spend a pampered few days, or an entire season. This spa has an added attraction - a geyser erupts at full heated strength of 78oF from deep below ground every eight hours.  

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     We found another spa in San Juan with medicinal high temperature water flowing through it's many private pools and jacuzzi's...including the hotels several large thermal swimming pools. Overnight guests at Villas Bonaventura Cosala can rent furnished apartments complete with avilla Bonaventura.jpg (80054 bytes) kitchen, TV and a bath with thermal running water. Attractive surroundings and beautiful gardens at this picturesque Balneario enhance the pleasure of  the guests. The feeling of being part of a very exclusive private place is overwhelming because this spa is only open to hotel guests, no day visitor passes are available. 

      In the centre of cosmopolitan Chapala, we found one more spa overlooking the lake...the hotel 'Villa Montecarlo'. This spa has been the social centre of Chapala for many years. Two large thermal swimming pools surrounded by exquisite gardens and several massive, century old trees punctuate  these elegant grounds.  An aura of grandeur is evident everywhere throughout this historic landmark.

      Villa Montecarlo is a full service hotel/spa complete with an elegant dining room. Thermal pools are open to both hotel guests and daytime visitors as well.  A convenient and reasonably priced month long 'day pass' is available. Many residents of the community as well as Chapala visitors enjoy the benefits of this spa on a regular basis.  

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Mexico has approximately 30 luxurious spas scattered throughout the country, but like campgrounds when one closes another usually opens their doors.  No matter which spa you visit, the experience should be overwhelming. A hot tub is merely a hot tub until you spend a day or longer at a Thermal Balneario (Spa) in Mexico. Why not add adventure to your RV travels? Visit a soothing spa today.  What better way to experience how warm Mexico can really be.

 

Side Bar to this story..

      Mexico Mike researches life and travels in Mexico and he knows Mexico better than anyone. Mike has written several books on Mexico's Thermal Spas. For more information about Spas or any other questions about traveling in Mexico, please visit our RV WebLink page for numerous links about Mexico.

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