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Santa Rita Hot Springs: A Hidden Sanctuary

Santa Rita Hot Springs: A Hidden Sanctuary

Los Cabos has always been promoted as a “Two Seas, One Paradise” destination, a magical place where the Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean meet at the tip of the Baja Peninsula.

However, if you’re interested in discovering some of the region’s natural wonders well off the beaten path, the pristine freshwater pools and hot springs of Santa Rita are well worth a visit.

It’s a little-known fact that Baja California Sur is sprinkled with hot springs situated in remote desert settings. Thousands of years ago, seismic activity and volcanic eruptions formed Baja California, creating the rugged, rocky coastline, underwater lava formations and unique beachscapes that everyone loves. Luckily, the region’s volcanic activity is ongoing. Springs and geysers of hot water bubble up from deep within the earth to fill the region’s pools and ponds, creating natural hot tubs that are perfect for purifying mind and body. Indigenous communities have known about these thermal pools for generations.

Located 90 minutes north of Los Cabos on the East Cape side of the peninsula is Santa Rita Hot Springs, its pristine pools awaiting the discovery of explorers and adventurers. Situated near the beautiful waterfall at Sol de Mayo, Santa Rita is a natural treasure tucked into the rugged canyons of the Sierra de La Laguna mountain range. Plan a full day trip from Cabo San Lucas to the aguas termales (thermal waters) of Santa Rita, which can be reached via a drive through winding desert roads that lead past the small town of Santiago and the tiny village of San Jorge.

To access Santa Rita’s secluded canyon, follow the signs to the zoo in Santiago. Bordering the north side of the zoo is a dirt road leading to San Jorge, and ultimately Santa Rita. The road gradually gains elevation and travels past small farms and rustic homes. The tiny pueblo of San Jorge, like many small Mexican settlements, is built around a large central courtyard accented by a pretty church.

On arriving, you’ll pay the attendant a small fee in pesos (cash, approximately $180 pesos, or $9 USD) for a wristband. After you park your car, you’ll hike a short distance across smooth, medium-sized rocks to the freshwater pools.

Surrounded by native desert flora, including tall palm trees, Santa Rita, part of the Sierra de la Laguna Biosphere, conjures the feeling of a timeless desert oasis. The cool freshwater pools are perfect for an invigorating dip, while the mineral-rich thermal hot springs, which issue forth from the earth, offer the opportunity to fully relax in a natural hot tub.

Visitors can help preserve this impeccable natural treasure by packing out any trash and treading lightly. Bring what you’ll need for the day, including food and water. Eat your lunch and enjoy your beverages in the shaded picnic areas, not by the water. Also, refrain from applying sunscreen or lotions until after you’ve taken a dip in the pools. San Rita is an eco-sensitive area. People who love the springs want it to remain the peaceful jewel of the Baja.