FOLLOW WILLY COSMO AS HE EXPLORES THE HEALING WATERS OF THE WORLD
~*~*~Update: Aphrodite Thermal Gardens is permanently closed as of now 7/2016~*~*~
JOE: This place. This island. These waters. The volcano sauna. The Thermal heat was everywhere! It was a lot to take in, let me tell you! We arrived on Ischia by ferry boat and traveled to Sant'Angelo where we were staying at the hotel Casa Del Sole which was one of the more modestly priced hotels in that area and it was nice, nothing too extravagant and it had a great view from our balcony.
I think this entry needs to be as much about Sant'Angelo, Ischia as it is about Aphrodite Thermal Gardens & Hotel Miramare. I say that because the entire island - and specifically this part we stayed in - is just ripe with geothermal energy. The beach and ocean were even thermally heated! There is a local culinary style that is pretty unique to the area in which they catch a fish, wrap it in some leaves (or in modern days often it is some aluminum foil) and you bury it in the hot sand on the beach and go swim and relax for an hour or so and when you come back and dig up your fish, it is cooked and ready to enjoy! We didn't try that on this trip mainly due to the fact that Rach was not feeling super great with her early pregnancy conditions and she wasn't really prepared to be that adventurous while we were there, respect. The whole area was really amazing, though. We decided to check out Aphrodite Thermal Garden's mainly because it was close to our hotel and we figured it looked like a sweet place to soak it up. There are numerous spas and thermal soaking resorts in the area and I imagine if we had stayed for more than the two days in the area we would have gone to a good deal more. Alas, we just checked out this spot and it was absolutely great.
As mentioned above, this place seemed like a great choice to check out both for proximity to where we were staying, and because it was reasonably priced and boasted having 12 different thermal pools which is pretty sweet. Rachel mostly relaxed and took intermittent soaks in the main big pool and then read and soaked up some sun rays. I adventured all around the grounds and took a dip in each of the 12 pools just to see what they were all about. I also ventured down this super steep stairwell following this sign to a sauna that I just had to check out. I am glad I did because it was unlike any other sauna or steam room experience I have ever had in my life. The "sauna" is a section of the cliff side that has been carved out into this cavernous larger room with three smaller 1-2 person caves with a heavy wool cloth covering the entrance. I was the only person down there and there wasn't anybody to ask questions about it so I just went in and checked it out. I first sat in the main area and embraced the intense heat that was coming straight from the thermal mass of earth that was just behind the cave. That was pretty cool, then my curiosity lead me to explore the small curtained rooms. That's where my mind (and body) was officially blown. You see, these little cave-rooms must be mere feet from liquid magma flowing through the earth because the intensity of the heat in them was incredible. Not only that but as I really gained presence in the space, taking very mindful deep breaths in and out, I noticed the pulsing almost heart beat like rhythm of the earth itself. It felt like both a heart beating or breathing (or both?). It was simply incredible. Thankfully they had put a nice cold plunge pool not far from the entrance so I did my customary rounds of hot to cold hydrotherapy action a number of times before heading back up to Rach. It was so cool, er, hot I mean ;) After I met back up with Rach we headed down to the ocean and took a dip in the amazing blue waters of the Mediterranean and then went back to our hotel to clean ourselves up for dinner. It was a really sweet place and I'm glad we had checked it out.
This place is kinda like a dream, except it is real. Oh, I also wanted to mention that we went in mid-late July and that we were the only American (or english speaking) folks in the entire area. I'm not kidding, either. We didn't run into another english speaking person until we were on the other side of the island for what was to become our second thermal springs adventure on the island. This island is where the Italian people go to vacation. It's just good to be mindful of that. Everyone was very gracious and kind with us, even being the only non Italian speaking Americans around. Most tourists from the US and Europe vacation on the island of Capri which isn't too far from this island.
One of my favorite "recreational activities" when traveling basically anywhere is to wake up just before sunrise and go and venture out into these new and foreign terrains and see what is to be seen when few other human beings are around to disturb the natural order of things. This was an exceptional experience in that regard. I saw and heard many birds as they awoke and sang their songs, I swam in the ocean finding pockets of heated water and sat in the sand in the thermally heated spots as well. It was a really great walk and swim and for anyone out there who might be interested, I highly encourage you do this very same thing. And not only if you were to find yourself at this particular place in the world, waking up before sunrise and taking a walk at dawn is one of the most therapeutic and serene free activities you can do in your home town or anywhere you find yourself in the world.
This was a fun place to hike down to and spend an afternoon at. Spiaggia Cavagrado is a pretty fantastic little beach! We actually took a huge swim out to these giant rocks that were out above the water line and soaked up some sun before swimming back. Rachel was feeling good enough to do this which was really great. I wouldn't recommend you do this unless you are a confident and experienced swimmer and with that said, if you are, then by all means do this because it was absolutely awesome.
In all, there is a ton of wonderful places to explore in the Sant' Angelo area of Ischia and many, many thermal spas and soaking places to check out. I very much would love to go back and visit again when Rach is feeling better, it was a really special place.
Negombo Thermal Gardens
Aphrodite Thermal Gardens
Saturnia Thermal Springs
Bonneville Hot Springs
Reykjadalur Hot Springs ~ Iceland
Blue Lagoon ~ Iceland
Breitenbush Hot Springs
Water of the Gods ~ Norris Hot Springs
Symes Hot Springs Hotel & Mineral Baths
Mundo Hot Springs
Crystal Hot Springs