On the southern banks of the Río Cachapoal about 20 km (12½ mi) east of Rancagua, the Termas de Cauquenes spout mineral-rich water that has been revered for its medicinal properties since colonial days. The Spanish discovered the 48°C (118°F) springs in the late 1500s, and basic visitor facilities have existed since the 1700s. José de San Martín, who masterminded the defeat of Spanish forces in Chile, is said to have relaxed here before beginning his campaign. Naturalist
Charles Darwin, who visited in 1834, wrote that the springs were situated in "a quiet, solitary spot, with a good deal of wild beauty." The beautiful gothic-style bathhouse with its high, vaulted ceilings, stained-glass windows, and classic colonial-style ceramic floor patterns was built in 1867 and remains in excellent condition. It holds about two dozen rooms with the original marble tubs that are filled with spring water for 20-minute baths, or you can choose a modern whirlpool version for one or two people. Massages and medical pedicures (no nail polish) are also available. Overnight guests at the spa also have exclusive access to a naturally heated swimming pool. Unfortunately, the February 2010 earthquake affected the hotel's hot springs, so call ahead to check that hot water is available.Whether you stay at the spa or are just passing through for the day, don't leave without having at least one meal at the extraordinary restaurant. To reach the springs, take Ruta 32 from Rancagua to Coya and then head south for 5 km (3 mi).
Termas de Cauquenes s/n, Machalí, Chile