It is a 1st class urban municipality in the province of Laguna.
According to the latest census, it has a population of 98,631 inhabitants in 17,030 households. It has a total land area of 56.5 square kilometers and is bordered on the south and southwest by Mount Makiling, on the north by Laguna de Bay, on the northwest by Calamba City and on the east by the town of Bay. The town is located 63 kilometers southeast of Manila
and is accessible via the South Luzon Expressway.
The town lies on the northern slopes of the long dormant volcano Mount Makiling and is known among tourists for its hot spring resorts that dot the area. Los Baños also hosts the University of the Philippines, along with other foreign and local and international research centers, such as the International Rice Research Institute, the ASEAN Center for Biodiversity, the Philippine Rice Research Institute, Philippine Carabao Center at UPLB, and SEAMEO-SEARCA, making the town a temporary home for tens of thousands of undergraduate and graduate students, researchers and expatriates.
Aside from its importance in academics, science and research, Los Baños is a well-known tourist destination. Because of the town's proximity to Metro Manila
, Los Baños' hot spring resorts are frequent weekend or summer getaways for residents of the vast metropolis and tourists from other places in the Philippines and abroad. Tourists who visit Los Baños also come to the several native delicacies stores in the town to buy the town's famous Buko pie (coconut meat pie).
Los Baños started as a settlement called Mainit, the Tagalog term for "hot" and alludes to the thermal springs at the foot of Mount Makiling.
Mainit was a barrio of Bay until 1589. In 1595, a temporary building made of bamboo and cogon was built to serve as shelter for the patients who journeyed to Mainit to seek cures for their ailments. In 1671, more permanent structures like churches and hospitals were built only to be destroyed by a fire in 1727. The structures were re-erected at a slow rate. The church which now stands in the municipal center of Los Baños dates back to 1851. The Spanish Governor's palace was began in 1879 but was only completed in 1892.
In 1909, the University of the Philippines College of Agriculture (UPCA) was established. UPCA, in successions, became a Japanese camp for prisoners of war, an internment camp for allied nationals, a target of Kempetai punitive measures, and the headquarters of a secret organization of guerillas. On February 23, 1945, the campus was sacked by the Japanese and was razed to the ground. Only Baker Hall, the armory-gymnasium, remained.