On a quiet beach in Baja Mexico, you can enjoy a beachfront hot tub for free. This is an experience so unique it has probably never even been a dream but it should be. Agua Caliente Hot Springs is a thermal beach in where you can dig your own hot tub and enjoy epic beach sunsets.
There are only a few places in the world with natural hot springs located beachfront so don’t miss this one. Keep reading for precise directions including GPS coordinates, parking tips and how to find the right spot to dig a beachfront hot tub in Ensenada.
We visited Baja Norte including San Felipe, Ensenada and Guadalupe Valle in our RV. For everything you need (insurance and visas) to RV in Mexico check out RVing in Mexico: Comprehensive Guide.
Ensenada Natural Hot Springs
There are a few thermal pools or natural hot springs near Ensenada in Baja Norte such as Agua Caliente Beach, Ranchos San Carlos and Valle de Guadalupe Agua Termales.
They all offer visitors the opportunity to soak in soothing natural hot spring waters. The thermal pools are all like natural hot tubs but Agua Caliente Beach is the only beach hot springs option.
Additionally, both Ranchos San Carlos and Valle de Guadalupe Agua Termales require a 4×4 vehicle or multiple miles of hiking to access them but Agua Caliente Beach is accessible by all vehicles.
Know Before You Go
Before you set off from Ensenada on a Baja Norte adventure to dig your own hot tub on the beach at Agua Caliente Hot Spring, you’ll want to know a few things.
- You’ll get dirty because you have to dig in the sand to make your own beach hot tub.
- Digging a hot tub on the beach at Agua Caliente can be hard work. Sharing the work with friends makes it easier.
- The right tools make every job easier. Bring multiple shovels and buckets if you want a big hot tub.
- Parking is not free but we found a secret spot that charges 3x less than surrounding lots.
- The beach looks like every other beach and you won’t be able to locate the hot spots as easily as you might think. High tides regularly cover up the hot tub holes that other visitors’ dig. We share a few tips to help you find the right spot.
What to Bring to Agua Caliente Hot Springs
- shovels (multiple full size shovels would be best)
- bucket to move sand more efficiently
- swimsuit (I mean you’re going to a hot tub)
- change of clothes and shoes (you’ll be a sandy mess)
- camera (you won’t want to miss capturing this special place)
- cold beverage or a picnic to enjoy once you dig your hot tub
For more info on grocery shopping in Mexico check out Grocery Shopping in Mexico: How to Shop like a Local and Avoid Gringo Mistakes.
Punta Banda Peninsula
The Punta Banda Peninsula is located 38.5 kilometers (23 miles) south of the Ensenada cruise port in Baja Norte. Punta Banda translates to Band or Group Point. I might be reaching but I assume the hilly range of rocky points on the peninsula inspired the name.
Punta Banda is a fingerlike strip of land that cradles the Todos Santos (All Saints) Bay. The Punta Banda Peninsula is visible from the Ensenada waterfront. It is the rocky hills visible on the south side of the bay.
Road conditions to Punta Banda are acceptable for all passenger vehicles. The road is paved and in fairly good condition. However, I recommend driving slowly so you can watch for potentially damaging potholes and topes (speed bumps).
The Punta Banda Peninsula attracts busloads of cruise ship passengers daily. Most tourists go to Punta Banda to see La Bufadora but we visited specifically for sunset in a natural hot tub on Agua Caliente Beach.
Agua Caliente Beach
Agua Caliente Beach is located on the Punta Banda Peninusla in Baja Norte. Agua Caliente translates to Hot Water.
We saw Aqua Caliente signs throughout Baja for hot springs. But Agua Caliente Beach on the Punta Banda Peninsula near Ensenada is a bit different. The naturally hot water is under a small section of the beach and not readily visible to the visitors.
The water is so warm at Agua Caliente Hot Springs, you can dig your own beachfront hot tub. We were the only people digging a hot tub when we visited. It’s a hidden gem near the busy cruise port of Ensenada and the famous blowhole tourist attraction, La Bufadora.
La Bufadora: Ensenada Blow Hole
La Bufadora is a natural blowhole located at the tip of the Punta Banda Peninsula. La Bufadora translates to Water Hole.
The ocean-fed geyser blasts seawater up from a sea cave during high tide. Water levels and ocean conditions affect the height of the water shooting out of the rocks.
Admission to La Bufadora is free.
The famous blowhole of Ensenada, La Bufadora, attracts busloads of tourists daily who have no idea they are driving past the Agua Caliente Beach and Hot Springs.
Details to dig your own beach hot tub in Ensenada
Digging a hot tub on the beach sounds simple, right?
Well, it is but here are a few details to help time your visit perfectly, pay less for parking and find the best spot for your beachfront hot tub on Agua Caliente Beach.
Best time to go
The best time to go to Agua Caliente beach to dig a hot tub is as the high tide is going out.
I recommend arriving at least two hours before low tide, so you have time to dig then enjoy your hot tub before the cold tide comes back in. When the tide comes back in, your hot tub will become a cold pool.
The hot tub beach is about half an hour drive south of Ensenada on Hwy1 until you reach the Punta Banda Peninsula. Then you’ll follow Hwy 23 west onto the Peninsula to Agua Caliente Beach. But don’t pay to park at the first place you see.
Parking Agua Caliente Hot Springs
While driving on the Punta Banda Peninsula, you’ll see multiple signs for Agua Caliente and all of these do offer beach parking for the hot sand beach. Prices vary wildly so be sure to ask.
Campo Meneses and La Jolla Beach Camp are located directly in front of the hot section of the beach and their prices reflect the location. If you are staying for a whole day, it may be worth paying triple the price for access to bathrooms and closer parking.
Campo Meneses quoted our group 100 pesos per person for beach access parking. That is close to $20 USD (400 pesos for 4 people) for a few hours of parking and we decided to keep driving.
Parking does include access to toilets and showers. We didn’t look at the facilities so can’t provide specifics.
Cheap Parking at Agua Caliente Hot Springs
We found a much cheaper option around the corner. We paid 100 pesos per car to park here.
As soon as you see the first Agua Caliente sign coming from Ensenada, immediately turn right onto Blvd Todos Santos. It’s a dirt road that is accessible for all passenger vehicles.
The parking location we used is an ATV rental business with a few beachfront homes. Beach parking is a side business for them and they have clear posted prices at the entrance.
The large beachfront dirt lot has room for hundreds of vehicles and even offers overnight camping for a few bucks more.
They have rustic showers and portable toilets available to use. Signs were posted with fees including 10 pesos for the toilet and 20 pesos for the shower.
This secret parking location is less than half a mile from where the sand starts to warm up on Agua Caliente beach. We love to walk on the beach and didn’t mind walking a few minutes to save 75% on parking fees. It is a cheap, easy alternative when you are ready to dig your own hot tub on the beach.
How to find the hot spots on Punta Banda?
Once you’ve parked and started walking on the beach, you might be thinking you’ll see other hot tub holes on the beach. You will not.
Agua Caliente Beach just looks like a regular beach at first glance and doesn’t hint at the secrets hidden under the sand.
High tide covers up beach hot tub holes quickly. As we were digging, it even felt like the tide might be filling in our beach hot tub faster than we could dig it.
To find where to dig your hot tub on the beach, there are multiple methods.
Others have said they could see steam rising from the warm sand but this didn’t work for us. We couldn’t see steam until we started digging.
The method that worked for us was to use our bare feet to test the sand temperature. The sand was cold from the Pacific waters near our parking area but as we walked south (left) the sand slowly got hotter.
We could feel the heat slowly increasing underfoot without even digging into the sand. Once we dug our toes into the sand, the intensity of the heat increased and the uncovered sand even steamed.
Where can I dig a beach hot tub in Ensenada?
The placement of your hot tub is the key to water temperature. The closer you dig to the ocean, the more cold water you’ll get mixed in your hot tub. Also, remember how tides impact the water levels and chose your location wisely.
The actual spot where we decided to dig our beach hot tub at Agua Caliente Hot Springs is:
GPS Coordinates: 31.719365, -116.661168
How to dig a beach hot tub at Agua Caliente Beach?
It’s easy to dig a beach hot tub. Well, the premise is simple but the work is not easy. Just dig your beachfront hot tub as the tide is going out at Agua Caliente beach.
Channel your inner child and play in the sand. It reminded me of summer days with my brother and dad digging holes and making sandcastles on the beaches of North Carolina. You’re going to get dirty playing in the Baja sand so be sure to bring a change of clothes for your hot springs adventure.
We brought a small folding shovel to dig our beach hot tub and it worked great. However, we wished we had more than one shovel and a large bucket to move more sand efficiently. It was a lot of fun but our hot tub was a bit shallower than we wanted.
Beach Hot Springs in Ensenada
The beach hot springs at Agua Caliente are a unique and fun destination in Baja Norte.
For only a few bucks for parking, you can enjoy a beachfront natural spring hot tub at a thermal beach near Ensenada. You’ll have to dig it yourself but that’s part of the adventure. Plus you’ll be able to share the amazing story for years to come.