Hot Springs and Hiking

IMG_2532I spent the past weekend soaking in hot springs, hiking and relaxing in a place called Urmiri. I call it a place because there was no town, only the hotel built around the hot springs. Hotel Gloria has hotels in a few different places in Bolivia, including the one at Urmiri. Three of us from the office decided to take advantage of their shuttle from the hotel in La Paz to the hotel in Urmiri.

We left bright and early Saturday morning in the hotel shuttle, stopping just outside of El Alto for breakfast at a restaurant where there was fresh cheese and bread. The first part of the drive was on a paved highway, but the second part was on a dirt road. The last 15 minutes of the drive were slightly nerve-racking, but to be expected in the Bolivian mountains.

Upon arrival, we checked-in and headed to the pool! The hotel has 3 pools fed by the hot springs – two square pools, and one more natural pool with a waterfall coming directly from the hot springs, which is surrounded by lovely gardens. The water is so hot that they mix it with cold water in the pools. After soaking for an hour or so, we headed in for lunch. All of our meals were included in the package. The food was your typical meat and rice, but there were vegetables
(which were not over-cooked!!!) and it was all quite good. After lunch we went on an hour and a half hike up the hill from the hotel to see what views could be seen.

My friend and I booked hour-long massages for late in the afternoon. She had the “relaxing” massage. I had the “shiatsu”. I knew going in that I probably should have opted for the softer of the massages with a masseuse that I didn’t know … however I like a good hard massage so went for it. Most of it was pretty good … but my shoulders are still kind of sore!! Next time I will opt for the soft one.

After that was dinner, followed by a short walk to see some stars – we managed to see 5 falling stars between the three of us (well, really two of us, because one friend managed not to see any of them!). After playing a few rounds of Jenga (or Yengha as it is called in Spanish), to bring back our childhoods, we headed to bed.

Sunday started with breakfast followed by a 3 hour hike. We left the hotel in search of a trail that branches off from the road. We started down the path and decided that it would be pretty cool to walk back along the river to the hotel. The river was quite a ways down in a gorge. The major problem was we didn’t take a good look at the geography near the hotel. However, we started along the river until we hit a waterfall that was impassable. After trying to get up out of the gorge a few other ways (well, Linda was our scout scrambling up the rocks), we eventually turned back and walked up the way we had come down. All in all a good decision, because as it turns out, we would never have made it back to the hotel along that river! The river near the hotel empties into the river we were following, but there is a significant difference in altitude!! But we made it back to the hotel in time for lunch and a final soak in the springs before boarding the bus back to La Paz.

It was a pretty good weekend! For transportation, 4 meals, and a night at the hotel, the bill came to about $30. Can’t beat that!! You can stay in room that has a roman bath in the room which costs a bit extra, but we opted not too. I thought it was a bit romantic for a group of people from the office!! So I’m back in La Paz, well relaxed (and little bit sunburnt) until Fri when I am off to Peru – first stop Cuzco, second stop the Jungle!

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Posted in bolivia | travel Submitted by Meg on Mon, 2007-07-23 21:51

Jealous

Submitted by kevin@haggaret.com on Thu, 2007-07-26 21:23.

As you already know - I'm super jealous of all your adventures Meg. Good write up - keep 'em coming. :)

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