World travel

Top Natural Mud Baths and Hotels Around

Call us filthy animals, but nothing quite stacks up against the mineral-rich magic of natural mud baths. The practice of soaking in a pool of peat, water, and volcanic ash is a time-honored treatment. The Ancient Greeks and Wappo Tribe of present-day California valued its healing properties. The Māori used it to soothe their battle-scarred bodies. Even greats like Napoleon and Cleopatra were known to love getting a little down and dirty as part of their beauty regimens. These original A-listers weren’t just getting grubby for the sake of it either. Natural mud baths provide a well of reported health benefits, in addition to being a simple joy-inducing way to detox and destress.

Friends in the Totumo Mud Volcano, natural mud bath
Photo| Totumo Volcano mud bath | GETTYIMAGES – THESABRINA

Not all mud is the same, though. You can’t just throw yourself into the nearest puddle and call it a day. Only certain areas are blessed with the right geological conditions to create mud that can nourish and revive tired and damaged skin. That’s why, with 400 million annual visitors to HotelsCombined, we’ve rounded up our favorite natural mud baths worth taking a proper dunk in. Once you’re done being caked in clay, head back to one of the excellent hot spring hotels on this list. But please: don’t get any of it on the bed sheets.

Volcán de Lodo El Totumo, Colombia

Group of friends swimming in El Totumo mud volcano in Cartagena. natural mud bath
Photo| Friends swimming in Totumo Volcano mud bath spa| GETTYIMAGES – THESABRINA

About 45 minutes outside of Cartagena rises one of Colombia’s weirdest and most wonderful volcanos. It gets even weirder when you get to the top. Volcán de Lodo El Totumo is only about 50 feet tall, so you won’t be climbing it for the views. What you will be doing though is stripping down to your bathing suit and jumping in—yes: in—to its bubbling caldera.

 friends swimming in El Totumo mud volcano in Cartagena, natural mud bath
Photo| Friends swimming in Totumo Volcano mud bath spa| GETTYIMAGES – THESABRINA

El Totumo’s grey-brown mud is rich in calcium, magnesium, and aluminum; properties that have led to the claim that it brings numerous health benefits. Whether you buy into that is another question. But once you’ve slipped back down the few dozen rickety stairs and rinsed in the idyllic lagoon at the bottom, your pores will be very, very happy. To top things off, you’ll have the charming colonial city of Cartagena right on your doorstep.

Hotel Altamar Cartagena

Hotel Altamar Cartagena, natural mud bath
Photo| Hotel Altamar Cartagena | Provided by BOOKING.COM

With its seaside location, Hotel Altamar is ideally placed for visiting El Totumo and Tierra Bomba Island. The 45 practically contemporary rooms offer comfortable bedding and free wifi. Ask for an upper room facing Bocagrande to get great views of Cartagena’s Copacabana-like waterfront.

For those looking to relax after a day of mucking out, Hotel Altamar offers a range of convenient amenities. The outdoor pool and the sauna are great places to recharge after a long day of sightseeing. If you don’t feel like venturing far for dinner, you can also wind down with a bite to eat at Hotel Altamar’s onsite restaurant.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Muelle Turistico de Cartagena (4.1 kilometers)
  • Castillo de San Felipe de Barajas (5.2 kilometers)
  • Convent of Santa Cruz de la Popa (5.5 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 32 – USD 113
Guest Rating: 7.4
Address: Transversal 54 No. 21B-57, Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

Hotel Location

Calistoga, California 

Vineyards of Diamond Mountain with Napa Valley
Photo| Diamond Mountain | GETTYIMAGES – CHARLES O’REAR

Nestled up in Wine Country, California’s mud capital has a dirty history running back 8,000 years. The Wappo tribe were the first to settle the area and soon discovered its abundant geysers and pools. They believed that Calistoga’s waters had mineral powers and so started an age-old tradition of restorative ritual soaks.

woman doing a mud therapy at spa
Photo| Woman on mud therapy at spa | GETTYIMAGES – FRANCKREPORTER

Calistoga spa veterans claim that the spa town’s secret is a key ingredient that can’t be found underground anywhere else. The region’s soil is rich in volcanic ash, residue from a colossal volcanic eruption that happened millions of years ago. The result? Mineral-rich mud masks that plumpen pores and relieve the skin of irritation.

Indian Springs Resort and Spa  

Indian Springs Resort and Spa, natural mud bath
Photo| Indian Springs Resort and Spa | Provided by LEONARDO

Operating since 1910, this established spa and wellness resort has been welcoming visitors for over 100 years. Indian Springs’s turn-of-the-century buildings and landscaped gardens offer a variety of remedies and rituals for the tired tourist. A highlight here is Indian Springs’ signature mud bath, which uses 100 percent locally sourced volcanic ash. Afterward, guests can enjoy a unwind with a massage or enjoy a moment of silence and serenity by Buddha Pool.

Indian Springs’s Mission Revival-style rooms, bungalows, and cottages are the perfect spot to recharge in Calistoga. Generous living spaces and premium bedding mean that you won’t have any trouble getting a restorative night’s rest. For those traveling in large groups, the detached lodges and houses provide peace and privacy.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Sam’s Social Club (180 meters)
  • St. Helena Golf Couse (1.1 kilometers)
  • Vincent Arroyo Winery (2.5 kilometers)

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 311 – USD 724
Guest Rating: 9.1
Address: 1712 Lincoln Avenue, Calistoga, California

Hotel Location

Milky Way Lagoon, Palau

Jellyfish Lake in Palau.
Photo| Jellyfish Lake | GETTYIMAGES – OLIVIER BLAISE

The tiny Pacific nation of Palau packs a punch, boasting rich coral reefs, diverse marine life, and spotless beaches. However, one thing most travelers don’t expect to find is an underwater bed of fine therapeutic mud. A dive boat will be your only means of transport to this spectacular body of water, bordered on all sides by uninhabited jungle islands.

children in Milky Way, a lake in the Rock Islands with therapeutic mud., natural mud bath
Photo| Children covered in white mud | GETTYIMAGES – STUART WESTMORLAND

Milky Way Lagoon is a completely unique natural spa experience. Drop anchor and wait while your guide free dives down to fetch fistfuls of chalky-white mud. You then spread this over your skin and wash it off by diving into the idyllic turquoise water. Locals like to tout the Milky Way Lagoon’s restorative properties, claiming that the mud will make you look 10 years younger. Regardless, your memories of this Pacific pool are sure to leave you glowing.

Palau Pacific Resort

Palau Pacific Resort, natural mud bath
Photo| Palau Pacific Resort | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Offering comfort and relaxation in lush, tropical settings, Palau Pacific Resort has everything to make your stay a memorable one. Over 160 well-appointed rooms, suites, and private apartments provide a comfortable place to reset and recharge. Those looking for something really special, though, should upgrade to the Palau Pacific’s stilted water bungalows, which also have sundecks.

In addition to boat trips to the Milky Way Lagoon, this resort also offers a Padi-certified dive center, kayaking tours, and guided hikes through the island’s lush interior. After a long day of discovery, the Sunset Beer Garden is the perfect place to enjoy drink and watch the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean.

Attractions Nearby:

  • Palau Aquarium (5.2 kilometers)
  • Drop Off Bar and Grill (5.7 kilometers)
  • Belau National Museum (6.1 kilometers)

Star Rating: 5*
Price: USD 410 – USD 570
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: P O Box 308, Koror, Palau

Palau Plantation Resort 

The Palau Plantation Resort is situated on the southern island of Koror, making it an easy boat ride from the Milky Way Lagoon and the enchanting Rock Islands. The variety of locally-inspired cabins, suites, and villas are decorated with bamboo art and freshly picked flowers. All prove air conditioning and beautiful garden views.

Those just returning from a dive or boat trip can unwind at the Noni-Sauna or enjoy one of the authentic Paluan treatments available at the Mangrove Spa. The Palau Plantation Resort also features two onsite restaurants, offering smokey barbecues and freshly caught local seafood.

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 3.5*
Price: USD 76 – USD 385
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: PO Box 1722, Koror, Palau

Hotel Location

Myvatn Nature Baths, Iceland

Blue Lagoon, Keflavik, Iceland, natural mud bath
Photo| Blue Lagoon Keflavik | GETTYIMAGES – CRAIG DENFORD LANDSCAPE AND PHOTOGRAPHY

Aside from being a great place to catch the Northern Lights, Iceland is brimming with hot springs and spas. Most visitors to Iceland head straight for the Blue Lagoon, located 45 minutes outside Reykjavik. However, those looking to skip the crowds of layover tourists should head further out into the country’s windswept north, where Mývatn (read: “mee-vah-tn”) offers fantastic geothermal waters.

Mývatn Lake and Craters
Photo| Myvatn Lake and crater | GETTYIMAGES – ATLANTIDE PHOTOTRAVEL

Formed some 2,300 years ago by a volcanic eruption, Mývatn Nature Baths consists of three luxurious pools that look out over the Icelandic tundra. Visitors can also open their pores in one of the bath’s steam rooms, heated by vapor currents rising from 2,000 meters below the earth.

Icelandair Hotel Myvatn

Icelandair Hotel Myvatn, natural mud bath
Photo| Icelandair Hotel Myvatn | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Looking out over the enchanting Lake Myvatn, this boutique guesthouse offers comfort and local charm on the doorstep of various natural attractions. In addition to Myvatn Nature Baths, the Icelandair Hotel is a short drive from the Skútustaðir craters and Diamond Circle, two of the region’s spectacular highlights.

Icelandair’s stylish rooms and suites feature simplistic Icelandic design and blackout curtains to stop the Midsummer sun. Save room for the two onsite restaurants, which serve hearty local delicacies like smoked trout and Kjötsúpa (Icelandic lamb soup).

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 141 – USD 332
Guest Rating: 8.0
Address: Reynihlid, Reykjahlid, Iceland

Vogafjós Farm Resort 

Calling Myvatn home for over 120 years, Vogafjós’s owners have kept this business in the family for generations. It certainly shows, too. Warm hospitality and cozy cabin accommodation are what await you at this rustic country escape, just a short drive from Myvatn Nature Baths. Choose between 26 en-suite rooms, some of which are suitable for families. If it’s not too cold out, there’s also a gold course.

Think you understood farm-to-table dining? Sip a rich whole milk latte at Vogafjós’s barnyard restaurant—right across the table from the cow that helped make it! In addition to giving diners the full farmhand experience (minus the smell) this is also a great place to try locally cured cheeses and deliciously smoky meats.

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 101 – USD 295
Guest Rating: 8.3
Address: Vogafjósi 660 Mývatn, Reykjahlid, Iceland

Hotel Location

Kirishima, Japan

mud treatment in mud baths. smearing healing mud on the arm close up with copy space;
Photo| Mud bath spa treatment | SHUTTERSTOCK – PETR SMAGIN
Woman on mud bath spa in Sakura Sakura Hotel, natural mud bath
Photo| Woman on mud bath spa in Sakura Sakura Hotel | Provided by BOOKING.COM

From sand baths to hot spring lakes, Japan’s third-largest island Kyushu, spoils spa lovers for choice. Those looking to experience the benefits of this uniquely active volcanic island should look no further than Kirishima, near its south coast. The town’s position within striking distance of three active volcanos places it over numerous magma chambers. As a result, visitors can enjoy a variety of hot spring spas, mud baths, and mineral pools, while also taking advantage of the areas many traditional ryokan hotels.

Sakura Sakura

Sakura Sakura, natural mud bath
Photo| Sakura Sakura | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Nestled in a quiet wooded grove, Sakura Sakura’s A-line cabins are perfect for those looking to experience Japan’s rural side. Visitors can choose to stay in any one of 38 cozy rooms, well suited to couples, families, or small groups of friends. As an added bonus they can also enjoy the resort’s open-air onsen, which is surrounded by gently swaying cherry blossoms.

Sakura Sakura Hot Springs is well placed for mountain climbing and exploring the nearby lakes and waterfalls. At the end of the day, it also serves traditional Japanese fare and great local sake at the onsite bar and restaurant.

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 3*
Price: USD 99 – USD 1,128
Guest Rating: 8.0
Address: Kirishimataguchi 2324-7, Kirishima, Japan

Hotel Location

Formentera Island, Spain

Aerial landscape view of Espalmador and Ibiza during sunset with sailboats anchored.
Photo| Formentera and Ibiza | GETTYIMAGES – RUBEN EARTH

Dog-leg-shaped Formentera is Ibiza’s scrubby little sister, located just a short ferry ride away from the infamous party island. You’re unlikely to find many international headliners here though. Formentera is more about that do-less-to-do-more kind of lifestyle; vacations spent lazing the stretches of white sand at Playa de Migjorn and Playa de Ses Illetes.

Jetty and private boats at Formentera´s most beautiful and famous beach, Playa de ses Illetes.
Photo| Formentera Playa de Ses Illetes | GETTYIMAGES – JUERGEN SACK

Aside from being one of Spain’s best islands to escape (most of) the crowds, Formentera offers two great places to get slathered up in sulphuric mud. The mudflats on Esplamador, are the only place you can sink directly into the earthy stuff (and skinnydip in the Mediterranean too if you’re feeling bold enough). Meanwhile, the mud cliffs at Cala Saona bay are covered in a tangerine clay that can be scooped off and applied as an awesome natural mask. Sound a little too rustic for you? It didn’t stop Kate Hudson from getting caked up in 2016.

Blanco Hotel Formentera

Blanco Hotel Formentera, natural mud bath
Photo| Blanco Hotel Formentera | Provided by BOOKING.COM

A short walk from the white-sand Playa es Pujols, this trendy resort puts you on the doorstep of Formentera’s best drinking and dining options. Blanco Hotel Formentera is a 20-minute drive from the Cala Saona and the multilingual staff can help you arrange boat trips to Esplamador. This means that you can easily visit both natural mud baths on an overnight visit from Ibiza.

We challenge you not to stick around a little while longer, though. Blanco Hotel features all the perks to make you linger on Formentera longer than you intended, including an outdoor pool and bar. All of its 78 rooms come with rainforest showers, private terraces, and premium bedding. What’s more, upgrade to a Garden Suite, and you’ll get your own private jacuzzi—as if you hadn’t already been spoiled enough!

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 151 – USD 189
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: Fonoll Mari 50, Es Pujols, Spain

RIU La Mola

RIU La Mola, natural mud bath
Photo|Riu La Mola | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Located on the island’s south coast, this beach-side hotel offers everything you need to make your visit to Formentera a real vacation. RIU La Mola boasts an outdoor pool, sauna and wellness center, and a seasonal restaurant. Additionally, the resort also offers two chill-out bars, one of which features comfortable lounge chairs overlooking the Mediterranean.

RIU La Mola’s 328 air-conditioned rooms are the perfect place to lie down after you’ve checked out nearby Playa de Migjorn and Cala Saona. All come with free wifi, private balconies, and flat-screen TVs. If you’re traveling as part of a large group, you can also upgrade to one of RIU’s Ibizan-style bungalows.

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 117 – USD 430
Guest Rating: 9.0
Address: Playa de Mitjorn, Es Calo, Spain

Hotel Location

Hell’s Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa, New Zealand

Two young women climb up and look out over the viewpoint at the top of Mt. Roy in New Zealand
Photo| Hikers at the summit of Mount Roy | GETTYIMAGES – MATT CHAMPLIN

Settled by the Māori over 700 years ago, the story behind this impressive geopark in Rotorua, North Island, runs deep within local lore. Hell’s Gate is said to have been formed by Rūaumoko, the God of earthquakes, volcanoes, and seasons. That might explain the huge clouds of steam that billow out of the ground, and led George Bernard Shaw to give the park its English name in 1934.

Rotorua has intermittent hot springs throughout the city
Photo| Rotorua hot spring | SHUTTERSTOCK – TMPR

The sulfur-rich mud at Hell’s Gate is said to rejuvenate skin and help with arthritis—some recent studies do actually suggest natural mud baths can do this. However, visitors to the park should save time to check out the Kahaki falls, which at a temperature of 40ºC feel just like a hot shower.

Twinlake Villas 

Twinlake Villas, natural mud bath
Photo| Twinlake Villas | Provided by BOOKING.COM

Squeezed between Lake Rotorua and Lake Rotoiti, this family-oriented nature resort offers heaps of outdoor activities and adventure. The waterfront location makes for great kayaking and motorboating trips. Meanwhile, those looking for a slower-paced kind of outdoor living can enjoy a pleasing mojito at the pool bar, or a quick game of tennis at the onsite court.

Twinlake’s detached lodges and villas can comfortably accommodate parties of up to six people. Or there’s also the option of staying in a waterfront canal house and having direct access to the lake by kayak. To top it all off, Twinlakes has a clubhouse cafe and bar serving pleasing local comfort food.

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 148 – USD 249
Guest Rating: 8.6
Address: 1420 Hamurana Road, Rotorua, New Zealand

124onbrunswick Bed & Breakfast

124onbrunswick Bed & Breakfast. natural mud bath
Photo| 124onbrunswick Bed & Breakfast | Provided by BOOKING.COM

At only a ten minute drive from Rotorua International Airport, this cozy guesthouse is the perfect gateway to the region. 124onbrunswick thoughtfully decorated rooms are each inspired by the natural features and hues of the surrounding countryside, making for a soothing stay. However, with only three in total, you’ll have to book well in advance. Owners Lindsey and Johnathan will also provide a proper Kiwi breakfast. If you need a quiet moment to yourself, there’s also a reading room.

Attractions Nearby:

Star Rating: 4*
Price: USD 136 – USD 535
Guest Rating: 10.0
Address: 124 Brunswick Drive, Rotorua, New Zealand

Hotel Location

Go On: Take the Plunge into One of These Natural Mud Baths

Friends in the Totumo Mud Volcano
Photo| Friends Totumo Volcano mud bath spa| GETTYIMAGES – THESABRINA

You’ve been getting your hands dirty for a minute now. It’s time you indulged. We’re not promising to make you ten years younger in 15 minutes, but the soothing seclusion of these natural mud baths will reset those stress levels and leave you feeling more comfortable in your own skin.

What’s your favorite all natural mud treatment? Let us know in the comments below!

Photo| Seb Morgan | Provided by SEBASTIAN MORGAN

Sebastian Morgan
I’m a blogger, history buff, and serious overpacker, currently based in Taiwan. Eats, drinks, and destinations are my thing. When I’m not writing about those, I’m either hitting up the local hot springs or slurping down a bowl of sesame noodles. I hope to one day do both at the same time.

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