Vacations are synonymous with relaxation, and there's nothing more rejuvenating than visiting a spa as part of yours. Even more popular and healthier than the typical spa, natural spas often involve the use of waters fed into the facility from thermal and mineral springs. The amazing sites we've found offer more than just a dip in mineral baths and hot springs. But also mud baths and facials using the nutrient-dense clay and mud found along the banks of each of these special gifts from the earth. Check out what could be the world's five best natural spas.
Japan's Jinata Onsen
Situated on Shikinejima, a small island just off the coast of Tokyo, the Jinata Onsen in Japan is a group of pools where the hot springs mix directly with the sea water. This gives visitors the option of having a warm bath in minerals from the sea and the springs but also something a bit steamier depending on how far into the small canyon you move. The ocean is mere meters from the spring waters, so be prepared for unspoiled views. There are parts of the onsens of Shikinejima that are completely open to the public, offering guests to Japan a chance to slip into a swimsuit and the hot waters of the Pacific Rim.
Italy's Grotta Giusti Spa Hotel
Italy is a place that's notorious for it's powerful and volatile volcanic activity throughout history, and there are plenty of opportunities in this vibrant nation for taking a dip in a thermal spa with super-heated water that's rich in minerals. The Grotta Giusti Spa Hotel has one of the best thermal spas in Europe, boasting three different levels of heat and humidity as guests make their way through each stage for a more rejuvenating effect. The final stage is known as Hell and revered for its 100% humidity, creating a sauna-like effect in the limestone caves where these pools sit. There are also thermal pools on the property for relaxing in when you don't feel like detoxing in the Grotta.
Iceland's Blue Lagoon
The result of the placement of a geothermal power plant back in the 1970s, Iceland's Blue Lagoon is a highly popular attraction that locals and tourists flock to on a fairly constant basis. The lagoon is located in Grindavík, a small fishing town in the south of the nation along the coast. This highly-prized thermal pool can be found sitting on a lava field with water that is said to have healing properties that even the best pharmaceuticals can't beat. In fact, those who bathe in it regularly find that their skin ailments are all but gone after a short while, so this is a deeply restorative spa to bathe in. They even carry skincare products made using the silica-rich mud or other minerals and substances found in or near the main ponds.
USA's Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa
California's Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is a complete spa experience attached to an upscale hotel. The thermal mineral waters of the actual spa run from deep under the ground –1100 feet below to be exact. The area has hot springs that are revered by those in the present and those from the past such as the Native Americans. The belief is that these steamy pools are excellent for relieving pain and detoxifying your system by pulling toxins from your skin as you bathe. The thermal pool isn't the only attraction here. The 40,000-foot facility attached to the pools offers a number of beauty treatments like mud baths, facials, body wraps and more using minerals that can be found in the waters.
Peru's Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs
Situated in the picturesque Colca Valley, the Colca Lodge Spa & Hot Springs is a gorgeous and highly restorative spa with its own hot springs fed by the heated ground and vents beneath the Andes. The spa has four pools that rest on the side of a pleasant river. Waters in these pools can reach up to 80°F, which is a nice, moderate heat level for rookies and hot spring novices alike. The minerals in the pools provide excellent opportunities for relaxation and detoxification for smoother skin and a sublime feeling all over. The river swells during January and February, so it is best to go at other times of the year when the springs will surely be available for use.