I really am having bad luck with the old shoe department today. First there was the incident with the wet money; and then I had this: declining to bring shoes — or footwear of any kind — when I really, really should have done otherwise. The hot springs of Santa Teresa are absolutely divine; but when they assure you that you're getting a lift all the way there, don't count on it. You never know when you might need a bit of footwear.
After we arrived in Santa Teresa this afternoon, and set up camp, we had the opportunity to take another ride in the truck — this time in the natural hot springs just outside the town. Most people were keen to try out the springs, myself included. Most people also brought shoes and / or flip-flops. Myself not included.
So we get in the truck, and we drive down to the hot springs. Well, what do you know: about ¾ of the way there, the road turns to mud, and the driver refuses to take us further. So we have to walk the rest of the way — a few hundred metres of half-muddy, half-rocky road.
"Aaargh! Why the %&$ didn't I bring any shoes?"
Anyway, I would have been totally screwed, were it not for the generosity of the Swiss girl Sarah (in the group adjacent to ours), who lent me her flip-flops — which she brought as well as her shoes — so that I could make the distance. I had to take them off and to walk barefoot in the muddy bits (or they'd stick in the mud); but for the rest, they saved my soles (no pun intended) on the way there and back.
Anyway, shoes aside, the hot springs were utterly divine, and they were exactly what we needed in order to rest our aching muscles. The water must have been at least 40°C, and I must say, a hot bath never felt so good. The combination of the heat, and the various minerals in the water, resulted in those poor old muscles getting soothed and hydrated.
The springs are enclosed in a man-made pool, but the water and the heat is all-natural. And even at night, with an unlit and too-muddy-to-drive-on road being the only access, the springs were quite crowded as well. There were a few other groups of tourists in the pool with us, as well as a few locals. I can understand the popularity: I highly recommend a visit to your nearby hot springs, after or during your next long hike, wherever it may be.