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Guatemala is a country full of beautiful natural attractions, including a number of volcanos. And where there are volcanos, there are hot springs. While visiting Xela I spent a day at the Fuentes Georginas hot springs, which was a day well spent. This post will give you all the information you need to visit these stunning Guatemala hot springs.
I had no idea about these hot springs before going to Guatemala. But, while spending time in beautiful Lake Atitlan, I met two guys who mentioned that they were heading to a town nearby to check out some natural hot springs. Like any good backpacker, they invited me along and before I knew it we were on our way to find the Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs in Guatemala!
Where are the Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs located?
The Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs are located in Zunil, Guatemala, about 9km from the city of Quetzaltenango. I know, I had no idea how to pronounce it either. The locals shorten it to Xela, pronounced ‘Shell-ah’, which is how I will refer to it in this post to save everyones sanity.
Quetzaltenango, also known as Xela
Xela is the second largest city in the country next to Guatemala city. The city is set against a backdrop of volcanoes, which seems to be a theme in this country – not complaining!
What’s refreshing about Xela it that’s much less touristic then the popular backpacking towns of Antigua and Lake Atitlan. There’s nothing wrong with those towns, but it was nice to get a better representative of day-to-day life in Guatemala. Xela is a real, working city where locals aren’t just there to sell you tours.
That being said, there is enough to keep a tourist busy in Xela. The city has many Spanish schools offering competitive one-on-one tuition rates. It’s also a cheap place to live in terms of food and accommodation. If you’re on a budget but want to learn Spanish, Xela may be the place for you.
Hiking in Xela
Surrounded by volcanoes, Xela is the gateway to many of Guatemala’s best multi-day hikes. You can hike up Central America’s highest peak, Tajumulco. Unfortunately, my legs just weren’t up for another volcano after hiking Acatenango Volcano so I opted for the lazy man’s attraction, Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs.
Where to stay in Xela
The best area to stay in Xela is Parque Central. Xela is an important city in the history of Guatemala, with beautiful churches to see in the Parque Central area. There is also a great food market next to the main square. The food is super cheap and some of the tastiest I had in Guatemala. You just can’t go from with 3 tacos for 10 Quetzales ($1)!
In terms of hostels, there isn’t a huge variety in Xela. I recommend Casa Seibel. This friendly hostel is located just two blocks away from Central Park and has beds as low as $5.
How to visit Fuentes Georginas hot springs from Xela
Fuentes Georginas hot springs in Guatemala are about an hour outside of Xela. The easiest way to get there is to book a shuttle through your hostel/hotel. Unfortunately for us, we slept in past the morning shuttle departure and wanted more time there then the afternoon departure would have given us. The staff at the hostel seemed to think it would be difficult to get there without a shuttle, but we found a way.
From Xela you can catch a chicken bus to a nearby town called Zunil for 5 quetzals. If you don’t know, chicken buses are colorful, modified old school buses that transport goods and locals in Latin American countries.
This was my first chicken bus experience and I was stoked about it. Taking a chicken bus is definitely an experience everyone should have in Central America at least once. But it’s better to do it on a short distance like this, as opposed to a longer ride. The busses can become very hot and crowded, and take a long time to go far distances, this making it annoying for long commutes with luggage. But for getting around day-to-day in the cities, they are great.
When you get off the bus at Zunil you will immediately see taxi/tuk-tuk drivers. We were able to negotiate 50 Quetzales for a ride to the hot springs for the three of us. It was a slow ride as the poor tuk-tuk could barely make it up the mountain, but the views were gorgeous along the way.
Coming back to Xela was much easier, as we found a shuttle in the parking lot of the hot springs. They brought us back to Xela for Q25 each. Getting the shuttle there is definitely the easier option, but it’s still not a problem to visit Fuentas Georgias on your own through public transport.
Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs in Guatemala
These Guatemala hot springs are heated by the thermal water that comes from the Zunil volcano. The area has been somewhat turned into pools, but it still felt natural. The pools are naturally fed by sulfur springs, and there is stunning scenery all around them to enjoy as you relax in the heat. You can see a tour of the hot springs below.
There is an entrance fee of Q50/$6.50 USD for foreigners to get in, and Q25 for locals (2018 Prices). Once inside, you can spend as much time as you want in the pools. The hot springs are open from 9 am to 6 pm each day of the week. Check the website for the most up to date information.
I recommend getting to Fuentas Georginas hot springs as early as possible, as the pools were much busier in the afternoon. In the morning, there were only a few other people in the pool with us.
Inside Fuentes Georginas, there is a restaurant where you can buy food and drinks. The food is pretty sub-par, but they do have cold beer. Sadly, you aren’t allowed to bring drinks into the hot springs.
There is also a small hike you can do for no charge next to the hot springs. It takes about an hour and goes through a beautiful forest.
The hot springs are just beautiful to relax in. There are four different pools you can get in, all with varying temperatures. My favorite was the largest/hottest pool. It has this gorgeous backdrop to look up at as you float . in paradise.
It’s best not to swim in the pools and instead just relax. Because when you enter a hot spring the pressure of your body changes. If you add more physical activity, you will feel faint. In case of feeling dizzy in the Fuentes Georginas hot springs, there are cold showers you can wash in.
What to bring to Fuentes Georginas Hot Springs
There are lockers at the hot springs where you can store your belongings while you enjoy the hot springs. Here is what I recommend brining if you visit the Fuentes Georginas hot springs in Guatemala.
- Swim Suit and Sandals
- Warm clothes for after. It can get chilly in the highlands of Guatemala quickly.
- Towel – A towel for after swimming. I recommend the microfiber towels as they pack super light.
- Refillable water bottle (no plastic allowed) – I love hydro flask because they keep your drinks cool for 24 hour
- A camera to capture the moment! GoPros are great for the hot springs because they can be used in water and can withstand the heat.
- Bring enough cash with you, as they don’t accept cards there and there is no ATM.
Me and my legs loved our time at Fuentes Georginas hot springs. Like Xela, it wasn’t overly crowded with tourists. In fact, there were more locals there then foreigners. It’s the perfect place to head after conquering an epic hike in Guatemala!
Looking for more inspiration for your Guatemala trip? Check out these posts!
- 9 Epic Adventures to have in Guatemala
- Guide to visiting Semuc Champey
- Stay at an eco-lodge on the Rio Dulce