AZACUALPA, Honduras – Honduras’ many hot springs are popular with tourists and in the village of Azacualpa the temperature of the water is so high that visitors can cook food on them.
The spas are popular with visitors from abroad and elsewhere in Honduras, with some people believing they have medicinal properties.
Lombardo Acosta, 62, lives near the site at Azacualpa, a municipality in the Honduran department of Santa Barbara, and works as a tourist guide.
“People who come with pains, from here they are cured,” Acosta told EFE.
The site is wreathed in steam clouds that rise from the ground at a cave that resembles a shell about 20 meters high and about 30m wide.
At the back the cave becomes narrow and the hot water that flows from the surface will meet the Jaitique River.
Acosta was born at the site, which is visited by “people everywhere, because it is medicinal.”
Some visitors put mud all over their body, others smear it on their face in a bid to treat acne and many smear it on their joints to try to heal arthritis, Acosta said.
The boiling temperatures of the waters also allow visitors to place containers on sticks over the steam and cook eggs.
Many tourists bring corn, cassava, squash and other foods that are cooked in a few minutes.
The temperature is so hot that if you stand on one spot for several minutes without moving, you can feel an intense heat on the insole of your shoes, Acosta said.
A short path at one end of the cave, crossing a small wooden bridge, made with boards painted in different colors, takes visitors to the top of the cave to descend through the back before arriving, along a rocky path, at the Jaitique River, which later joins the Ulua River that flows into the Caribbean Sea.
Walking in the opposite direction to where the Jaitique River runs, you reach a beautiful natural spa formed by a waterfall about 20m high.
There is an abundance of natural beauty in this region of Honduras, which is close to other attractions such as Lake Yojoa and the Taulabe caves.
Honduras covers an area of 112,492 square kilometers, which is mostly mountainous and crossed by rivers and hot springs, some of which could be of volcanic origin.
Some of the best known hot springs are two located near the town of Gracias, department of Lempira, near the El Salvador border.
At these sites, which have swimming pools in which water circulates freely and through pipes leading to a river, the temperature ranges between 32C and 44C.
Other hot springs with public spas are located in the departments of Copan, Yoro, Cortes, Atlantida, Olancho, Comayagua and Choluteca, in the north, west, east and south of the Central American country.