Out of the many things you can do in New Mexico, resort spas and retreat centers are a main attraction and there is one in particular that is like no other, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa. It is the location of hot mineral springs dating back to the 1500’s. These hot springs burst out of the foot of the mountains and are believed to have healing properties. In 1868, the first bath house was built by Antonio Joseph, New Mexico’s 1st Territorial Representative to Congress, and Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs became one of the first natural health resorts in the country. There was access to the mineral waters, overnight lodging, a Post Office and general store at that time. This “sanitarium” was known far and wide as a place where people were healed through the effects of the waters and the earth.
The Sulphur-free, geothermal mineral waters flow from a subterranean volcanic aquifer and are the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic. Eleven pools are available ranging in temperature from 80-109 degrees. The Lithia waters are known to relieve depression and aid digestion. The Iron spring is considered to be beneficial to the blood and immune system. The Soda spring provides a wonderful sense of calm and relaxation and is said to relieve digestive problems. The Arsenic spring is believed to relieve arthritis, stomach ulcers and to heal a variety of skin conditions. There are also pools with combinations of iron and arsenic throughout the property.
We discovered Ojo Caliente on our honeymoon and kicked it up a notch for our second visit. I booked the High Desert Getaway for Two spa special which included two Essence of Ojo Custom 50 minute massages and a 50 minute session in the Private Outdoor Mineral Pool which included a Kiva Fireplace.
I also added a foot massage to each massage session for a little something extra. The special ended up being the best bang for our buck and turned out to be very romantic. Before enjoying our massage bliss and quiet time in the private pool area, we sampled the mineral pools, taking our time in each one and allowing the healing waters to work their magic. We spent a good amount of time in the Arsenic Pool because I suffer from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and osteoarthritis.
What I love about visiting Ojo Caliente during the winter is the drastic change in temperature between the hot pools and the freezing outside air. The heat from the pools creates beautiful steam in the cold air, hovering all around. The surrounding atmosphere is not only tranquil and relaxing but allows you to feel very connected to the earth as you rest against the mountain edge. The pools really do burst out of the mountain and make the experience that more unique.
It is very quiet as they have a “whisper” policy which allows you time to focus on your beautiful surroundings, appreciate the blessings of our earth and enjoy your company without the distractions of our busy world. If this was available in my town, I would absolutely visit once a week. For the locals, the pools are available at a daily rate which includes access to the public mineral pools, mud pool (closed in winter), steam and sauna. If you don’t want to splurge on spa services, visiting for the day and paying the normal daily rate of $20 per person during the week and $32 per person on the weekends and Holiday Periods is absolutely worth it.
We took our time at Ojo Caliente this trip and felt as if we had the place to ourselves. It snowed that day and everything was covered in a delicate blanket of snow which added to the ambiance even more. The staff was accommodating, friendly, and even willing to document your time there with a photo.
We certainly look pretty relaxed in this photo, enough to fall asleep. After the massage, we soaked in our private pool for almost an hour. The temperature of the pool was over 100 degrees and you could practically feel the toxins leaving your body. We stayed hydrated with the cold water provided to us and allowed ourselves breaks in the cold winter air as snow flurries fell all around us.
It was absolute bliss. Writing about it now makes me want to go back this instant. We have talked about returning during the fall or spring when we can enjoy hiking and biking the property’s 1,100 acres and the adjoining thousands of acres of national forest and public land. There are plenty of accommodations to choose from including cliffside suites, pueblo suites, plaza suites, North Cottages, rooms in the Historic Hotel, Private Homes for more privacy and also RV Park and Camping. There is something for everyone and you aren’t far from Taos or Santa Fe if you wanted to venture into neighboring cities.
You will stay pretty busy with some of the area activities offered ranging from llama trekking, white water rafting, zipline adventure in Angel Fire, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, helicopter tours, skiing, fishing and golf.
I want to mention that even if you don’t think you’re a spa kind of person, this place attracts all kinds of people and you don’t feel out of place one bit. My husband is a rugged, gun slinging, deer hunting, four wheeling, horse riding cowboy but he will throw on a robe and enjoy hot mineral springs and spa services any day of the week, especially if it’s at Ojo Caliente. This place is another spot I consider magical. You don’t leave the same way you came.
Stay tuned for the delectable food spots in Santa Fe. Until next time…