I found out about Agua Blanca when searching information about Puerto Lopes where we wanted to go whale watching. Described in some sources as a ‘commune’, in others as a ‘private community’, Agua Blanca has an archaeological site, small museum and a natural sulphur pool. I couldn’t really ask for more!
From the entrance off the main road, the village itself is another 5km. You can walk along the dusty path through tropical dry forest, or get your mototaxi to take you all the way to the village.
You’ll find yourself at the museum where you pay your entrance fee. The museum shows artefacts from the Manteña culture (800 to 1532 AD) as well as specimens of local flora and fauna.
Local guides (our lovely young man was called Stalin!) will show you around the exhibits and then lead you on a walk around the village to see more of the archaeological sites as well as pointing out interesting animals and plants. You could walk around by yourself, but without the guides’ explanations and sharp eyes, I think you’d miss out on a lot (such as the sleepy owl below).
These special termites make their nests in trees and build ‘covered’ pathways to protect themselves as they travel around.
The surrounding land is natural tropical dry forest, but some is also used for agriculture.
Whilst the little micro-climate here was really hot and dry, we could see the rainclouds over in Puerto Lopes.
After an easy stroll through the village and up to a viewpoint, we ended up at the natural sulphur lagoon. It actually didn’t smell bad at all and was a fun way to cool off.
The murky water is full of rich sediments which are periodically dredged from the bottom and set out for visitors to use as a natural cleansing skin mask.
After applying, drying and then basking in the pool, you can take a shower with fresh water in the changing rooms built alongside the lagoon.
Agua Blanca was definitely worth the trip and it’s nice to know that the $5 entrance fee goes directly to support the community.
A mototaxi from Puerto Lopes cost us $6. On the way back we decided to walk to the entrance at the main road and hope to pick up something cheaper. As luck would have it, a villager was driving by and offered us a ride all the way back for just $2!
Have you ever visited a commune or other form of private community? As a tourist, what did you think of it?