Unknown to most foreign travelers, but widely popular with locals, the Aguas Termales Don Alfonso is located in far Northern Nicaragua, close to the border of Honduras. Quiet and secluded, the hot springs are set within the Nicaraguan jungle.
Hot water flows from a magma chamber beneath the earth and boils to the surface. Part natural and man-made, visitors can explore the boiling pits at the park or swim in one of the designated pools. The Jícaro River also flows through parts of the property and with cooler water temperatures, it’s a perfect place to catch a break from the high heat.
Swimming is the main attraction at Don Alfonso and there are clear walking paths that take visitors around the park to pools and picnic areas. For those that are in the region, the Aguas Termales Don Alfonso is a lovely place to rest and relax in rural Nicaragua.
Mineral Thermal Pools
Aguas Termales Don Alfonso has a mix of boiling natural pools, as well as public and private bathing spaces. Water in the hottest pools flows freely along the rocks, where it bubbles to the surface and boils at a consistent 212°F (100°).
These pools are scattered throughout the main area of the park. Visitors can walk around the pools using the stone paths or sit on the benches around the kitchens.
The kitchens are at the hottest pools and there are thick metal pots placed by the rocks so that visitors can boil food in the thermal water. Although there are clear stone pathways around the natural pools, visitors should be very cautious to not touch the water. There are no barriers around the hottest pools or rocks and everything has been left in its natural state.
Swimming at Aguas Termales Don Alfonso is only safe in the designated pools or cooler sections of the Jícaro River. Sections of the river that are too hot are closed off with a metal barrier. Most pool temperatures range from ambient temperature to very warm. Visitors should dip their toes in first to ensure that the pool is not too hot.
Private pools at Don Alfonso are marked clearly with signs and must be reserved prior to your arrival. There is a large, circular community pool with lukewarm water that is suitable for children. Close to the entrance of the park, there is also a hot swimming pool with a ramp for wheelchair access and it is open to everyone.
Throughout the park, there are a few picnic areas and benches. Outside the entrance, there are toilets and changing rooms, as well as an information board. Visitors can park their car in the small lot at the entrance and should note that there are only a few spaces.
Visitors should take caution when visiting the park to watch where they walk. Thermal water often seeps through the ground over rocks and in grassy areas. Even the stone walkways can be very hot to the touch. Wearing shoes is recommended because of the intense heat that comes from the ground.
There are no places to stay overnight at the Aguas Termales Don Alfonso and the park is so remotely located that most visitors will choose to stay in the bigger city of Jalapa. There are also hotels in Ocotal, which is the capital city of the Nueva Segovia Department.
A few of the best places to stay in Jalapa and Ocotal are the Hotel Campestre El Pantano and the Hotel Benmoral. Located in Jalapa, the Hotel Campestre El Pantano is a large property on the edge of town. Currently, the hotel has family, group, and dormitory rooms. Services at the hotel include hot water, Wi-Fi, and a playground.
To stay in Western-style accommodations, the Hotel Benmoral in Ocotal is highly rated for its friendly atmosphere and great service. Less like camping, the hotel is located in a busy section of the city and it offers 29 rooms. Previous guests have praised the hotel’s cleanliness, service, and value.
The Aguas Termales Don Alfonso are located in a rural part of Northern Nicaragua between the cities of Ocotal and Jalapa. Ocotal is 29 miles (47km) to the southwest of the park and Jalapa is just 15.4 miles (24.8km) to the north.
Visitors can easily travel from either Ocotal or Jalapa to Aguas Termales Don Alfonso using the NIC-29 highway. Although the highway is paved, the turn off for the hot springs is a dirt road that is not maintained.
During the rainy season (May to October), conditions on the road can make it impossible for 2WD vehicles to pass. When the heaviest rain hits, even 4WD vehicles may not be able to pass the mud and water.
Visitors should take extra caution when driving the road because it has small cliff drop offs, a river crossing, turns, and is very narrow.
Address: QRC2+JGP, Germán Pomares, Nicaragua
Coordinates: 13.7716°N, 86.1987°W
Phone: (+505) 8943 6208
Age Restrictions: None
Season: Year-round – however, the dirt road may be impassable during rainy season (May-October)
Pets: Not permitted