Rio Caliente Spa, Primavera, Mexico Jalisco Province

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July 8th 2011
Published: July 21st 2011
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the hot poolsthe hot poolsthe hot pools

The filtered hot river water is used to fill the two pools. One of the two pools is always at swimming temperature. The other is empty and being cleaned, or freshly filled and too hot. Every evening we would float around talking, watching the sunset and stars. Wonderful!

Rio Caliente Spa, Primavera, Mexico Jalisco Province

I’m home from a week in Mexico. I heard that my favorite spa was closing July 18, so, of course, I immediately went online and reserved a week and made plane reservations. I tried to talk some friends and relatives into joining me, but no one was free or willing to travel then. “I’m sorry, Susie, my ankle still isn’t healed enough for me to walk to the dining room.” “I’m sorry, Susie, I just came back from India.” “I’m sorry, Susan, I was at Rio Caliente already this year.” “I’m sorry, Susie, I’m afraid to go to Mexico.” I finally realized I was on my own.
I did face some opposition from my family about the dangers in Mexico; but Guadalajara isn’t a border town; besides I fly into the airport, hop in a taxi, go through a restricted access forest and into a gated community—Rio Caliente Spa/Hotel.
The spa is closing because the owner is ready to retire, and many Americans and Canadians are afraid to travel in Mexico. I am very, very glad I went.
I arrived Friday, June 24, 2011. It’s the rainy season so there was a brief shower that afternoon. My joints are aching a lot; I’m tired and feeling old. I’m glad I’m at a health spa.
There are two pools filled with the hot river water. (The spa is at the bottom of an exhausted volcano and at the headwaters of a hot river coming from deep in the earth.) One will be drained and scrubbed, then filled with hot river water. When it cools enough to use, the other pool is drained.
My first evening I soaked in the hot pool water for two hours. I was alone as the sun set—beautiful gold and pink sky. Five or six other people joined me after they finished the meditation glass. This spa is a wonderful solo vacation. Most people are there alone, old and young, male and female. A pair of sisters came my second day. At 10:30 I took my wrinkled body out of the hot water and went to bed. I was already feeling better.
The water is high in a lot of minerals, including natural lithium. I drink it while there. The drinking water is put through several processes to be clean, but not stripped of the minerals.
Saturday morning I had
The airportThe airportThe airport

After I snapped this photo I saw the guard telling me to stop.
a Rain Drop Massage. Using Young Living Oils, the therapist works on my spine and muscles using essential oils and reflexology. It’s wonderful. You don’t wash it off for 6 hours and drink lots of water.
At breakfast when I complained about my arthritis hurting so much, the owner suggested that I test the PH of my saliva. If I’m too acid, I could try a lemon program. Well, my test came out very acid. The lemon program is juice of 1 lemon on day 1; 2 lemons on day 2; 3 lemons on day 3, etc. up to day 9; on day 10, 8 lemons, then 7, then 6, etc. down to 0. Now that I’m home, I started the program. Today was day 3.
Lest you think I drink straight lemon juice, be assured that I mix honey and water in it and have lemonade. Not bad! Might be a lot of lemonade on day 9 with 9 lemons. ;-)
After a good nap, a light supper of soup and salad, I went to a health talk about the liver. Luckily, I have a good liver.
So my schedule that day was the massage in the morning, a
Taxi stand in the airportTaxi stand in the airportTaxi stand in the airport

You pay at the stand, then just tip the driver at your destination.
nap, lunch (vegetarian but delicious and a big meal with stewed fruit for dessert), the water aerobics, dinner and the liver lecture.
On Sunday I had a morning mud wrap. This mud is from the lava and minerals. Some spas sell it for several dollars for a cupful. I had it slathered all over me, then I went out in the sun and lay on a lounge chair and baked. After a shower your skin is wonderful. That afternoon I had a kinesiology appointment—muscle testing for weaknesses. (I used to use kinesiology when I gave self-esteem classes. Have a student raise her arm; hold firm; try to push the arm down. It’s usually stiff and very resistant. Insult the student or make her very self-conscious, push on the arm. Even though she is holding firm, the arm can’t resist. I was proving the effect that insults have on your body unless you raise your self-esteem. If you compliment her, then do an insult, the arm is much stronger. Try it.)
Anyway, the result was some digestive issues. Eat more greens, some apple cider vinegar in the morning, cut back on dairy and exercise. I decided to join the YMCA
Surprise camel by the roadSurprise camel by the roadSurprise camel by the road

As the taxi took me from the airport to Rio Caliente Spa, we passed a circus in this small town--then saw the camel, burro and other exotic animals.

The Pyramids

Tuesday, June 28, was my big trip to the pyramids. This was the one trip I wanted to take on this Rio Caliente (RC) visit. Two women arrived at RC on Monday, representing a group of investors interested in buying RC. One of those women also wanted to go to the pyramids, so the two of us went together. A good, Atlanta friend, Pattie, had given me two printouts about the pyramids. I read those the night before I went. It was a wonderful trip. A good YouTube video is
. It’s in Spanish, but you get to see the finds clearly. The man wearing the hat was our guide. He speaks great English and is an expert on the digs and findings at this recently discovered pyramid community. Another web site with short explanations and photos is
First we visited the museum in the town of Teuchitlan. In the tombs the archeologists had found clay models of life scenes. These gave snapshots of the actual life. The houses were high, three stories, surrounding an open central area, or sometimes surrounding one of the pyramids. The people lived in a village on the banks of a
Typical view of valleyTypical view of valleyTypical view of valley

Rio Caliente is in the bottom of an extinct volcano, in the mountains around Guadalajara. That's why the river is hot. Walking along the river I could see this view beginning to green as the rainy season continues.
river, about half a mile below the pyramids; but they came to the pyramids for all the major activities. Apparently, they believed in three levels of heaven, no hell. Dogs ended up in the bottom level. The models showed dogs coming out of the door of the bottom level of the houses.
On the top of some pyramids was a tall pole, like a telephone pole. Apparently, the priest would climb that pole then people would push the pole in a circle and he would swing around on the top of the pole. One of the museum models showed that scene.
The biggest ball court in Mesoamerica was by the largest pyramid, number one. The pyramids were numbered. The ball was obsidian with an overlay of rubber. Only men would play and they hit the ball with their hips. All the male skeletons that have been found had broken hips. The major political decisions were made by playing ball. But they played ball for sport, too. However, when it wasn't political, the captain of the losing team lost his head as a sacrifice. A grave was found with headless skeletons. The heads haven't been found yet.
This community is located

I took lots of photos of the birds on the feeding platforms outside the dining room window. I looked up most of the birds in an old Mexican bird book I found; but found names for very few of the ones I saw.
by a very large obsidian deposit. Because iron, bronze and steel hadn't been developed by that time, obsidian was very valuable. It was the weapon of choice. Many arrowheads, hatchets, and other tools have been found in the tombs. Because of the obsidian, this community became great traders.
After the museum, we went down the street to a store. I bought an obsidian letter opener and a rock fossil. The latter actually came from Russia and the claim is that it's 20 million years old. Then we drove on to the actual pyramids. Number 1 was badly destroyed. People used the rocks for fences, buildings, and even a church. You could still see the farm rows in the ball court. The government now owns the land, so the stealing and looting has apparently stopped. The reconstruction of the ruins has been underway for years, but Number 1 is too far gone and won't be developed for several years. Luckily, many tombs were away from the pyramids and hadn't been found by the thieves. (If you Google John Pint and Teuchitlan you will find an excellent, easy to read article.)
We did stop for coffee on our way back to Rio
the elusive hummingbirdthe elusive hummingbirdthe elusive hummingbird

He is shiny green with rust wings and tail
Caliente at a very nice restaurant on the nearby lake. The river by the old village was dammed and now the new village is on the lake. Our waiter had spent 15 years in the USA, so he had excellent English.

Back At The Spa

When we arrived back, I heard that the Huichol Indians were on the patio with their goods. I already have two of their art pieces, but this time I fell in love with a white, hand embroidered blouse. All the seams are done by hand as well, so it's a hand wash item.
Once I was back I had a Swedish massage, then spent time in the steam room, the hot pool, rested, dinner, and finally a talk about the small intestine. The steam room is great. The hot river water flows through a room dug down in the ground. Fresh eucalyptus and sage branches lie in the steam. It's much hotter than the steam room at the YMCA or the American spas I've visited.
Over the next few days, I had several more massages, aquatic exercise classes, a bio-resonance treatment, a mud foot bath to remove toxins. Part of a holistic massage started with wonderful aromatherapy under my face (when I was face down), and when face up included having an cold amber crystal beaded mask on my face and ended with a Tibetan humming bowl played above my head. I slept one afternoon on a bio-mat filled with amethyst crystals. (By the way, the Korean spa in Duluth, north of Atlanta, has igloo type rooms of amethyst, jade, ice, hot, etc. Amethysts are supposed to be good for people who are exposed to a lot of electronics. That's me!)

The Birds

The birds are fantastic here. Down at the pool the swallows have nests with new young. I saw several go after one of the cats. I think I missed the part of the cat going after the nests. In the dusk, floating and visiting in the hot pools, you sometimes see the bats and swallows eating the mosquitoes and other insects. It didn't bother me. I'm glad to get ride of the mosquitoes. I saw the red tanager in the pool area a few times. Another guest who has been here for a month while she edits her book, said the red bird is a hepatic tanager. Liver!!! I checked the book and it wasn't conclusive. One morning when I found fresh scat on my personal patio, I asked her. Apparently someone had sent a sample to a scientist who identified it as fox. It was full of berry seeds. The cooks still put fruit and seeds out for the birds outside the dining room windows. I saw two humming birds during the week, a sleek metallic green one with rust tail feathers and a smaller silver gray one. Lots of black birds with yellow and some with red eyes; maybe the colors are a trick of light reflection. My photos did show birds with "red eye." Several times I saw a mating dance by one of those. (I made a video of the dance, but I'm still working on the software to cut the video to be able to upload it.) The staff had an obscene nickname for that bird, had the word 'wiener' in it. Lots of orioles would come and I could hear the woodpeckers, but never saw any this trip.

My last morning

I stayed at breakfast for a few hours my last morning so I could say good bye to all the new friends. So many of us come alone; it's advertised as a great solo vacation. I was sorry to be leaving, but I was ready to be home, too. I felt wonderful.
In the van going to Guadalajara I turned on my cell phone. I had a text from Terry who cuts my grass. I answered and then worried about roaming charges. Time to go back to the world.
If Rio Caliente Spa does not close on July 18; if it does get sold, I'll be back. Do you want to come with me?
To see all the photos, scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the appropriate box. It's obvious once you get down far enough.

Additional photos below
Photos: 99, Displayed: 30


hepatic tanagerhepatic tanager
hepatic tanager

Yes, he's named after your liver. Apparently, his photo was sent to a bird expert and that was the name.

22nd July 2011

Great Trip Summary
Much enjoyed this Susie. didn't know that you went to Mexico so often.
22nd July 2011

I made mistakes in photo titles
The "mesquite tree" is really a cactus. I should have put on my glasses. The first tree labeled "fruit tree" was another tree in the cactus garden. I'll see if I can fix these titles.
9th August 2011

So sad that Rio is closing. I am despondent thinking that next January I won't be on my way to Guadalajara for ten days of calm, peace and pleasure - and delicious food. I've been going for more than twenty years. Does anyone know of another place like Rio?
15th December 2015

If you visited Rio Caliente you were so blessed.
My very good friend and I were looking for a vacation spot that was low key and relaxing. We had no idea something as wonderful as Rio Caliente existed. We made reservations online. Booked our air travel and landed in Guatelara. With the help of some Spanish/English speaking travelers we were able to get a taxi. Not speaking the language, when we entered the forest/park on the semi dirt road we were terrified. He delivered us safely to the most beautiful, rare destitination. I visited another time and am so sad it isn't available anymore, but still thankful of was one of few that even new it existed. Thank you Rio Caliente, you will always have a place in my heart.
15th December 2015

Missing Rio Calienta
My sisters, friends and I miss the spa a lot. We talk of it often. Thanks for your comments.
15th December 2015

Please, if you find somewhere quite as refreshing as Rio Caliente, Clue me in.
I've visited many tourist traps, and would love to visit somewhere as remote and relaxing as Rio Calinete. Thank you

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