Planning a Day Trip to Ojo Caliente Spa
There are so many great places to visit within driving distance of Santa Fe. Make sure Ojo Caliente is at the top of your list next time you visit the City Different.
Most New Mexico locals and Santa Fe residents are familiar with the stunning property and healing waters of Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort and Spa. But for those first time visitors to New Mexico, this is a day trip that must be added to your itinerary. It is a short one hour drive from downtown Santa Fe and well worth devoting one of your days to taking in. I could try to sum up the magic that is this place but I'll let Ojo's website do the talking:
Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs Resort & Spa is a unique resort destination in northern New Mexico, offering authentic guest experiences that have been healing mind, body and spirit naturally for centuries. Soak in our legendary hot springs, rejuvenate with custom spa treatments and explore our hiking and biking trails on 1,100 breathtaking acres.
When to Visit: Okay, if that beautiful description doesn't draw you in already, let me give you my "local's guide" to spending the day at this relaxing resort. Starting with when to visit. If you can, I highly recommend making your day trip during the week as weekends can get busy (and sometimes loud) at this place. Having been here many times during the week on a random Tuesday, I can attest to a much more peaceful experience than my weekend visits.
Arrive in the Morning: There's so much more to do here than just enjoying the healing spring waters and spa treatments. The hiking trails alone offer a truly soothing experience for the soul. Not only is the landscape stunningly beautiful, but you'll also discover small troves of broken pottery shards from civilizations past. I usually recommend arriving at Ojo in the morning and once you've checked in, you can take a short (or long) hike before starting your soaking for the day.
Check In and Rates: Before you hit the hiking trails, you can check in. This way you can get a locker to store your items in while you hike. If you're going on a weekday, you can expect a basic rate of $24. This includes entry, use of a locker, and one towel. Btw, another reason that I always recommend a week day visit? The rates. There is a significant cost difference between weekend and weekday rates. You can check out their full rate information on their website here: Ojo Caliente Entry Rates
What to Bring: You have a few options about what to bring and what the spa can provide. In addition to the $24 basic rate, you can pay another $15 for a lock for the locker, a bathrobe, and two towels. If you're frugal like me, I always bring my own lock, bathrobe, and extra towel. Here's my full packing list for a day at the springs:
lock (for lockers)
sunglasses and hat
oil free sunscreen
book or magazines
reusable water bottle
hair comb (for showering after)
Enjoying the Healing Waters: One of the great things about this place is the assortment of healing waters. Again, I will quote from their website for the best description: Ojo Caliente is the only hot springs in the world with four different types of mineral water including lithia, iron, soda and arsenic. Their twelve pools are filled with different types and combinations of these waters, with temperatures ranging from 80 - 106 degrees. You can spend a full day, hopping from pool to pool with the occasional rest on their comfy hammocks or pool chairs.
Lunch or Dinner Break: After spending the morning (or afternoon) enjoying the healing waters, you may find yourself ready for some food. Luckily, this place also offers an amazing restaurant and wine bar. Their full lunch menu is available from 11:30am to 2:30pm...perfect for those that want to lay around and enjoy a late lunch. They offer everything from a fresh Ojo Farm Salad to a decadent Roasted Vegetable Chile Relleño. If you're not in the mood to pay for a full lunch, they also offer some cute picnic tables for you to bring your own.
Afternoon Relaxation: After enjoying a delicious meal (or afternoon snack), it's time to head back to the springs from some more relaxation. I usually use this time to take a peaceful nap in one of their hammocks. If I'm not feeling tired, I catch up on some reading. I'm not ready to go just yet but I still want to bask in the peacefulness of this place. After a restorative nap, I'm ready to get back into the springs for an hour or two more.
Checking Out and Heading Home: This place is so relaxing that even the process of leaving is soothing. They offer full body care amenities so when you shower on your way out, you can make use of their great smelling shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. After showering and dressing, there's one last stop to make before hitting the road. Take a moment to check out their on-site gift shop. If you don't find a cute little souvenir to take home, make sure you grab a snack for the road. They have a great assortment of healthy and organic options. I personally recommend the Justin's Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups.
Staying Overnight: If you're too tired to make the drive or simply want to extend your time here, this place also offers a range of lodging options at various price points. I'll be writing another post about my overnight stays here, with photos of room options - so stay tuned!