BATHING IN EARTH’S HEAT
During the week I spent on the island of São Miguel in Azores, I made a point of visiting two of these places. I had always heard of them, and, after all, who doesn’t like to bathe in hot water?…
CALDEIRA VELHA (OLD BOILER)
The first stop was at the Caldeira Velha. Located on the slopes of the Água de Pau Sierra, as we passed the entrance gates to this park we began to tread a path that leads through dense lush vegetation, following a course of water flowing through the rocks that dot the landscape.
The path passes through a geyser, with water bubbling due to high temperatures, and a small puddle serves as an introduction to the baths. But the highlight of this place is a waterfall under which you don’t resist to put yourself, despite the strength of the hot water falling.
In the Caldeira Velha you can also visit an Endemic Garden, with some regional plants. To enter the Caldeira you’ll have to pay 2€, a symbolic price if you consider the natural wealth of the place and the moment of pure relaxation that it offers.
POÇA DA DONA BEIJA (DONA BEIJA PUDDLE)
In Poça da Dona Beija, in the Furnas parish, the entrance price rises a bit more: 4€. But here too the natural beauty of the place and the various pools or puddles, make you forget immediately the amount charged.
At the edge of the Lameiros water stream, we enter an organized spa area with several springs and three main pools at different temperatures, in a range between hot and very hot.
But note that you are bathing in water rich in iron, so it’s not advisable to stay long periods in water. In fact, I overdone it when I was there and at night I was with a little headache and no appetite.
Another tip to keep in mind is that the iron water is no friend of the materials that bathing suits are made of, so try to take those older parts that you will not miss if they get damaged.
A visit to Caldeira Velha and Poça da Dona Beija should be part of any visit to São Miguel. It’s the perfect way to further feel the beauty and inner strength of this island of the Azores.
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