Contrast always makes things more interesting. For example, when I visited Iceland, despite a light snow, we could go swimming, because there are geothermally heated springs. At Mataranka, the contrast is crisp and bleak vs. wet and lush—and the contrast is just as striking as the cold vs. hot of Iceland.
Every day, several million gallons of water flow out of the deep thermal spring at Mataranka. The clear water emerges at about 95 degrees Fahrenheit, but cools slightly as it flows through the shade of the lush vegetation the spring makes possible.
Below, the first photo is the area across which we hiked to get to the oasis at Mataranka. Not very promising. The second photo is of the pool created by the spring. The contrast is pretty astonishing—more so when you didn’t know what to expect, and just changed into a swimsuit because you were told you should.
The pool is just a widening of the stream, and the water flows out at the far end, over a little waterfall. The water really is as blue and clear as it looks in the photo—and it’s wonderful to take a dip on a hot day.