Avanti Destinations has announced new hot springs-themed FIT travel options in Asia, Europe and Central and South America. The experiences available are as follows:
Kinosaki Onsen-Hopping in Japan
Two and a half hours by train from Kyoto, Kinosaki Onsen is a small town that has been dedicated to the onsen (hot spring bathing) for more than 1,000 years. People walk the streets from bath house to bath house in a yakuta (robe) supplied by the ryokans where visitors stay. Bathing is communal, in gender-separate baths and swimsuits or other clothing are not permitted.
Avanti’s new three-day onsen-hopping package includes round-trip train tickets, accommodations in an authentic ryokan, breakfasts and dinners, and a pass that provides free admission to all seven bath houses in Kinosaki. This customizable package is available May 15 through December 15, 2019.
Iceland's Blue Lagoon and Beyond
The famous Blue Lagoon in a lava field on the way from Reykjavik’s airport is usually booked up far in advance, but Avanti now offers two hotels that provide premium access to the Blue Lagoon for their guests. The 62-suite Retreat at Blue Lagoon is a new five-star hotel that also has its own private spa and Retreat Lagoon for guest use. A 15-minute walk from the Blue Lagoon, the 35-room Silica Hotel is a four-star property that seems to merge with the stunning lava field surrounding it.
For those who want a less-touristed hot spring soak in Iceland, Avanti offers two alternatives:
- Golden Circle and Fontana Steam Bath – A full-day shared tour from Reykjavik takes in Thingvellir National Park, then proceeds to Lake Laugarvatn and its Fontana Geothermal Baths. Here, clients can taste rye bread baked in a pot in the hot sand, as well as have a soak and steam bath. The tour continues to Gullfoss waterfall and the hot spring area around Geysir and Strokkur.
- Lake Myvatn – An eight-hour shared tour from Akureyri in the north of Iceland. The tour visits Godafoss waterfall, the pseudo-craters of Skutustadagigar, the lava pillars of Dimmuborgir, the Krafla volcano and Viti crater, before ending at the Myvatn Nature Baths, where clients soak in natural pools of geothermal water.
Gellért and Széchenyi Thermal Spas in Budapest
Built in flamboyant Art Nouveau style between 1912 and 1918, the Gellért Bath complex in Budapest uses water from thermal springs first used by the Knights of St. John in the 12th century and then the Ottoman Turks, who occupied Hungary for 150 years. Avanti now sells an entry pass to the bath complex, which includes saunas, plunge pools and an open-air swimming pool as well as two thermal baths.
Avanti also sells entrance, plus rental of a cabin to use for changing and storing personal items to 100-year old Széchenyi Spa Bath, Budapest’s largest bath complex, with 18 geothermal pools open 365 days a year. Like Gellért, visitors can enjoy saunas, a gym, or sign up for a massage.
For those looking to explore Hungary, Germany and the Czech Republic, there are hundreds of hot springs and spas to sample, not the least of which is the famous spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany.
Hot Springs in Central and South America
A brand-new hot springs tour in Chile is Termas Geometricas, the highlight of a new Avanti private day trip from Pucón. Secluded in the forests of Villarrica Volcano National Park and a little more than 50 miles from Pucón, this complex has 16 geometrically shaped geothermal pools and four swimming pools. The day trip also visits the resort town of Lican Ray.
Another new private day trip out of Boquete in Panama’s Chiriqui province takes clients to soak in Caldera Hot Springs, where the water is heated by nearby Baru volcano. Lunch and a tour of the town of Caldera is included in the day trip. Clients will walk to a site where mysterious petroglyphs were carved into the rocks by indigenous people from long ago.
In addition to these two new tours in Chile and Panama, Avanti also offers a package at Tabacon Hot Springs at Arenal, Costa Rica, and a day trip in Ecuador featuring the Termas Papallacta, just outside the Cayambe-Coca Reserve and surrounded by 60 lakes, in the middle of the highest concentration of volcanoes on earth. The Tabacon package can be booked together with dinner or a hiking tour. Papallacta is just 30 miles from Quito.