Sunday, November 17, 2013

Off to the Termas de Daymán

At the Termas de Daymán
After walking around Salto, my dogs were barking.  And that meant it was time to hit the Termas de Daymán, the thermal springs outside of Salto.

When I was in Montevideo, I would tell people about my Uruguayan travel plans.  I said that I was starting in Montevideo.  I'd get a nod.  I'd say that I was heading next to La Paloma.  I would get a mouth-only smile.  And then I would say I was going to Salto.  People would light up!  Their eyes would get wide and they mention how great the thermal springs were.

There are three major thermal springs developments in the Salto area.  Termas del Arapey, the most upscale, is about 50 miles north of Salto.  Way too far.  And way to upscale.  Termas de Daymán, which is only a few miles south of the city, and is far and away the most popular.  And Termas de Salto Grande, near the Salto dam (Represa de Salto Grande).

I actually decided to head up to the Termas del Salto Grande.  But first I decided to check out the dam.

Represa de Salto Grande
The dam is actually the border crossing between Uruguay and Argentina.  Like Hoover Dam, you actually drive across the top of the dam to cross a border, although it's a bigger deal to cross the border from Uruguay into the Argentine than it is from Nevada into Arizona.  So I couldn't walk across the dam.  But I could climb the observation tower.

View from the observation deck
The green land on the other side of the Uruguay River, once again, is Argentina.  So close.  So far away.

I couldn't find the Termas del Salto Grande.  Or maybe I did and it was attached to the hotel I saw.  If that was the case, it was very very small.  And that gets boring fast.  So back into the car to drive to the Termas de Daymán complex.

The Termas de Daymán complex is huge.  Two thermal springs complexes.  Huge number of small hotels.  Plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops.  It is a complete resort complex.

One of the greatest things about Uruguay?  Plenty of free parking everywhere!
I parked the Chevy Corsa and wandered the area, finally going into the larger of the two thermal springs parks.  There were about a dozen pools, of varying water temperature, with people just standing in them.  No swimming.  Just soaking.

Mostly it was people either standing in the pool, just soaking, or sitting on the lawn, drinking mate.  There was a LOT of mate drinking going on.  Everyone (but me) brought their gourd and herbs.  And here was a machine to facilitate your mate drinking:

Canarias brand mate machine at the park
This machine did not dispense mate.  Much to my disappointment.  It dispensed hot water.  To fill up your thermos.  So that you can fill your gourd with scalding hot water to make more mate to sip through your bombilla.

I had no gourd.  I had no bombilla.  Obviously, I was no Uruguayo.

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