For a weekend getaway full of relaxation and serenity, visit Papallacta. This small town located in the heart of the Andes Mountains has many activities to soothe the soul and satisfy nature lovers, and is easily accessible from Quito. From the city’s Terminal Terrestre Cumandá, buses depart roughly every 20 minutes and can bring you to Papallacta within about 2 hours.
Due to its high elevation of 3,300 meters above sea level, and its humid mountain landscape, this town can get quite cold and rainy. This is one of the main reasons why so many people flock to the hot springs. The hot springs represent the main attraction of the town, and are definitely not to be missed. Though the temperatures can be chilly, the scenery and location is simply stunning, so sitting in the hot springs is the perfect way to admire the views while basking in warmth.
Hotel Termas Papallacta is the most popular and well-known place to visit hot springs in the town, though there are also public hot springs for cheaper prices and more tourists. Staying at the hotel is more expensive than staying at a few of the nearby hostels, but the luxurious experience is worth it. When paying to stay at the nice hotel, the hot springs are included in the cost. But for those who prefer chapter accommodation, you can pay for daily admission to the hot springs for only $7.
The hot water in the springs occurs naturally, and at Hotel Termas there are numerous different pools with different temperature levels. The volcanoes that provide heat to the water are named Cayambe and Antisana, and the natural waters include minerals like calcium, chloride, and sulfates. These natural minerals provide health benefits and can be good for the skin, so a day at the hot springs will leave you feeling refreshed and glowing.
Because Cayambe and Antisana volcanoes are within close proximity, Papallacta also offers some quality hiking spots. Close by the Hotel Termas, you can hike through páramo and the surrounding cloud forest areas to immerse yourself in wilderness and view mountains, waterfalls, and rivers. The trail costs a small fee, and there is an information center where you can decide which trail you want to hike as there are many different paths. A full hike in the provided, marked trails can take up to 3 hours.
Papallacta is very small, and not a very popular tourist destination so there are not many other worthwhile things to do. This location is perfect for a short trip away from the city to enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of the volcanic hot springs. Hiking offers a more adventurous option, but the soothing hot springs are really the main reason why travelers would visit Papallacta. But because it is relatively close to Quito and does have beautiful scenery, this town can be a great way to relax and spend some quality time with nature.
This location is a good spot to add when you visit Ecuador and Mindo!.