Hot Springs Between Monclova and Sabinas, Coahuila
Baños Termales (Spanish for thermal baths) will never make it to Spa Finders top 10 list. But Baños Termales hot spring in northern Coahuila is a rustic, hidden jewel for real hot springs aficionados. Water temperature is 108-109 degrees Fahrenheit. If you are expecting anything more than really hot water, you will be disappointed - unless they have upgraded since I was there last.
Safety advisory: These hot springs are not far off the main road and, to the best of my knowledge, do not represent any danger in terms of cartel violence. If you are going to be traveling that road anyway, stopping here should not cause you any alarm. However, be absolutely certain that, if you do stop, that you allow plenty of time to drive to your next stopping point before dark.
You could also get to Baños Termales more easily than we did by just driving north from Monclova 48 kilometers on the highway to Sabinas (53/57). Banos Termales is near Primero de Mayo (on the highway) . There is a motel at the junction of the road from San Buenaventura (which is the road the hot spring or balneario was on) and the highway. It was really, really hot and really primitive (outhouses).
We were a little bummed out, chasing rumors of hot springs after leaving Cuatro Ciénegas and driving east towards San Buenaventura, Coahuila. There were some rustic hot srpings on the state highway north of there, but trust me, you don't want to visit them. Creepy. The most interesting was when I asked the town crazy where the aguas termales were. He told me a lot, but none of it made any sense, although extraterrestrials had something to do with the story. That was near Abasolo, Coahuila, I think.
Then came the discovery of the day, the sort of find that keeps hot springs nuts going. At the ejido Hermanas just off the highway, was a sign for Baños Termales - a little primitive looking place that had a chicken coop looking building with little rooms that had private baths in them, lined with concrete and a tiled bottom and the handrail was a galvanized pipe. There is a concrete "lounging chair" in the room and a couple of hooks (for a hammock) in the wall. The water runs into the building and into each tub from the spring out behind it, a constant flow of water so it stays clean and hot. We tested it at 108-109; the floor is sloped so you have a shallow end by the steps and the deep end for us tough guys at the far right side. Each room’s bath can hold about 8 people. They recommend you stay in the water no longer than half an hour and are not responsible if you croak from your soak.
Well, you know me and you know Mike- we love our hot water. We got naked- no suits required as you are in your own room- and got in the water real fast. After a few hours on the road and looking at tepid waters, which to us is a disappointment, this was a rare and welcomed find. The water is said to be slightly sulfurous, but it did not smell and the place as I said was rustic and plain but clean. Mike checked out the bathrooms (outhouses and not all that clean at that) and would NOT recommend them. There is a Pemex station up the road for your bathroom requirements.
Bring water if you come to this place as after about 15 minutes in the hot room you will be looking for a few gulps of pure water and there are no facilities here. We did our soak and splashing - in the deep end we could sit with the water about chest deep. For the first time Mike seemed a bit whupped by it when we were out and getting dressed. Maybe because the room is hot as well as the water. If it were in the open it would be different. Trying to get dressed when your body is sweating to cool it down is always a pain in the ... er, neck. Anyway, we sat and drank a bottle of water and Mike talked to the very mellow and pleasant sole employee, then we looked around nearby and there is a hotel a few miles up the road and a couple little stores where you could manage to find food and drink, and it's all close together so it is definitely on our list of places to go.
The fee for this wondrous soak was $1USD. The local hotel is $35USD for a usual room. Yeah, we will be back.
The hotel is at the crossroads, just to the north. It seemed clean and as quiet as a highway hotel could be. There is secure parking in front of your room and there is a wall around the lot. It looks like a U.S. style motel, but is definitely NOT a motel del paso.