Daytripper San Pedro: The San Antonio Hot Springs
One of the best day trips from San Pedro is one that surprisingly few people actually do. It’s not that much of a surprise, really – the San Antonio hot springs don’t get a mention in many of the guide books and local tour operators seem to be reluctant to push them as an option.
These aren’t your average hot springs. What happens here is that volcanically-heated water leaks out of the hillside and straight into the lake, where it mixes with the cold lake water. The cool thing about this setup is that you can choose your temperature – where the hot water comes out of the mountain side, it’s almost unbearably hot, but further away it gets more tepid and pleasant.
One important thing – you should definitely go in the morning. Around noon the Xocomil (the wind over the lake) springs up, making the lake waters choppy and mixing the hot and cold waters, resulting in a drastic drop in temperatures.
Access is tricky – the hillside is privately owned, so you have to get there by private lancha, and then jump in the water straight off the side of the boat. The setting is about as rustic as it gets. The lakeshore is rocky and it takes a while to find a good flat rock with a good water temperature to sit on. But once you find that rock, you’re in heaven.
Figuring out the best way of getting there involves a bit of number crunching – the site is actually half way between Santa Catarina and San Antonio, so the lanchas in Pana charge Q150 for two people and Q250 for six (this is round trip, including waiting time). But coming from San Pedro, you have to figure in Q40 per person round trip to Pana. A lancha from San Pedro direct charges Q400 for a group of 4 or 6, a little more for larger groups.
In summary: If you’ve got a group together, go from San Pedro. If it’s just you and a friend, Pana’s your best bet.
Whichever way you go, soaking in steamy lake waters, looking up at volcanoes is an unforgettable experience, and one that you should definitely check out.