The New Santa Teresita Spa: An Authentic Thermal Destiny in Guatemala

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On May 3rd, 1961, the local holiday of Amatitlán, the first Thermal Water Balnearium was founded, and after 50 years, Baños Termales Santa Teresita is a renewed and authentic Thermal Spa, currently serving national and international tourists.

Santa Teresita SPA's thermal waters, located south from Guatemala City, come from deep under the Pacaya Volcano, providing its visitors with many natural health benefits.

Currently, Santa Teresita Spa receives around 1,500 national visitors per week and 30 international visitors. Nevertheless, the manager Victor Urbina considers to triplicate the amount of international visitors for the end of 2011, and beginning 2012 to surpass 150 international visitors per week.

“For over 50 years of existence, Santa Teresita Spa has mainly been visited by national tourists. Now we are ready to also focus towards international visitors, who seek for sustainable and more original tourism, and are willing to pay for it,” Urbina points out.

According to AGEXPORT´s Sustainable Tourism Commission, the majority of sustainable tourists consider service suppliers that provide custom made quality services. According to Ana Echeverría, Coordinator of the Commission, the sustainable tourist is a specialized one, of more age and willing to invest more than the traditional tourist.

“The sustainable tourist is aware that it is necessary to balance the three variables: environmental, socio-cultural and economic, which can be profitable for companies but at the same time, the tourist is receiving specialized services in which good practices are being implemented, generating jobs for local communities,” said Echeverría.

In this matter, Santa Teresita´s manager noted that the generation of jobs increased in the last 5 years, from 30 to 80 people, of which 60% are women and 40% men, and 95% of them were born in the local community of Amatitlán. All of them receive constant training for general and specialized treatments, so they can give a high standard service.

The international tourists that visit Santa Teresita Spa are mostly American citizens, who enjoy the various facilities: 12 Thermal Pools, the Thermal Circuit (4 additional pools), 40 steam and hydrotherapy baths, 10 massage rooms in Kawilal Spa, Thermal Jacuzzi, Las Velas Coffee-Bar and their signature restaurant Fonda del Castillo.

“We´re a touristic destiny that is taking advantage of its proximity to Antigua Guatemala and Guatemala City to attract international tourists, offering our services in combination with the Pacaya Volcano tour. Our next dream is Kawilal Hotel (which means health in a local mayan lenguage), which will be an 18 room hotel in a 5 acre land, and will also be the first Leed certificated Hotel in Central America,” concluded Urbina.

A hotel that will be finished by the end of 2012 and a very authentic Spa, both strictly sustainable and green, couldn´t use anything less than 100% organic products. All the essential oils, aromatherapy oils and treatment recipes used in Santa Teresita Spa, are produced by native communities of Quiché, located in the highlands of Guatemala.

During 2011, Santa Teresita will participate in the Service Summit, the expo for Central American export services that will take place in Guatemala on September 29th and 30th, where Santa Teresita will offer its services to over 60 international buyers and tour operators from different countries, to support the promotion of this important export service as a suitable destination to attract tourists that appreciate and value Sustainable Tourism, concluded Urbina.

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Mariangel Ruiz
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