Thursday, March 5, 2015

Santa Lucia Hot Springs

We went to this place in 2009 when we first arrived in Puerto Princesa, but it was totally undeveloped and a muddy place. This year 2015, we decided to take the road to it again and lo and behold, it is open to the public and is developed with 4 deep pools to swim in and one shallow pool, without cover which is the hottest of them all, and, I think, the source of hot water for the rest of the pools.

The Sta. Lucia Hot springs is off the the South Highway road, past Iwahig, if you are coming from the city. There is a faded wooden sign on the left side of the road, turn there and go down the mostly graded, but bumpy road for almost 3 KMS. We were in a 4X4 truck, but didn't need to use the 4 wheel drive this time of year. There were several motorbikes coming and going and they were able to get down the road just fine. The last part of the road at the entrance was steep and rocky but we had no trouble getting down. I am not sure a lower car wouldn't scrape their axles on the rocks. But once you get there, it's totally worth the drive.

There is no entrance fee, as it is run by the city and right now, mostly the locals enjoy this obscure hot springs. There are NO SERVICES either so you must bring everything you will need. It looked like there were comfort rooms and they are building outdoor showers as I write. There are 3 huts with cement stools, a table and benches to sit under.

The water is not as hot as some hot springs I have been to, but here in the tropics, I think that is much better. The 3 deeper pools are just above body temperature I do believe, with one being the hottest of the deep pools. There is one shallow pool, uncovered and that is hotter than them all, but not hot enough to really burn. Uncomfortable for sure in the summer!

"Bgy. Sta. Lucia-Iwahig lies about 10 km south of the Puerto Princesa City proper in Palawan Island. Hot spring temperature is about 44-560C. Geothermal study estimates a reservoir temperature ranging from 51-1360C. Type of water is determined to be slightly alkaline sodium chloride waters." Referenced by this article on the two hot spring areas in Puerto Princesa. 

We went first thing at opening at 8am and I must warn you, there were a lot of sand fleas or nik niks...they veritably chased me off as I am deathly allergic to them. Virgin coconut oil and mosquito repellant should keep them off exposed areas..but they say if you go later in the day...they go away.

The parking area is ample for our truck to get in, turn around and park so we can head out easily. This is a simple area, but is well kept and clean. It is totally worth the ride down the dirt road. Rainy season might present a challenge, but I am going to try it for sure.
One of the three huts to sit under out of the sun and eat your snacks or meal.

The rock walking paths make it easy to get to the hot spring pool area.
The 4 connected pools with varying temperatures. The pool in foreground being the warmest of them. There is one single pool in the sun, which is where the hottest water is.
This is the hottest of the pools but very comfy on a cloudy morning. It is uncovered so it would be uncomfortably hot in summer months. It was nice at 8 AM, when we got there though.
The waters are not totally clear because of the high content of minerals in the water.
There are 3 of these huts with a table and 6 cement stools with benches to sit at and around.

You can smell the sulphur minerals in the pools. Had the weather not been so warm, I would gladly have gotten right in.

There are two covered deep pools. The pool in the foreground being the warmest of them.
This is what the place looked like to me in 2009, but rougher even. They have kept the raw pool natural. It is too shallow and rocky to dip into.
Here is a link to the map and gps coordinates for you techy people.
http://wikimapia.org/10709629/Sta-Lucia-Hot-Springs


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